I need to let my son negotiate my cell phone rate packages. I’m trying to figure out how I racked up some many charges on my cell last week. I thought I had selected the best international plan for my use pattern. But then came the largest typhoon in the history of the Philippines. Family, coworkers, and friends were checking out my status.

I was in Manila representing World of Concrete and Masonry Construction at PhilConstruct, one of the largest trade events in Asia. Fortunately for the Manila area, Typhoon Haiyan took a southerly path. The Manila area experienced a few periods of high winds and intense rain showers.

Even so I felt like the storm chaser guys on The Weather Channel. Only ten days before, I was in Hyderabad for World of Concrete India. There we worked through the area’s wettest fall on record. We experienced more than intensive periods of storms over a three-day period.  Even so, our first WOC-India was a success.

In my recent travels, I’ve learned how to pack for rain. But more importantly I discovered that mason contractors worldwide share very common problems and goals. Quality, labor efficiencies, and owner-relations are focal themes that permeated my conversations.

At World of Concrete India in Hyderbad, I met Sathish Kumar, marketing manager for Bonway Construction Products, Adyar, India.  Sathish told me of his uphill challenge in growing his market.  Mason contractors want to employ new techniques to increase productivity and final wall quality, said Sathish. “Our challenge is finding ways to encourage workers to learn more about tooling and wall layout techniques,” said Sathish.

Soon after this conversation, Ramana Reddy Kandula, sales manager from Columbia-Pakona Engineering, Hyderabad, India stopped at our booth. Kandula shared images of block producers who have upgraded their plants across southern India. Kandula reported that mason contractors and design engineers want high quality products that only quality casting equipment can provide. And just as important, Indian block producers want to find ways to reduce labor costs and increase production levels. “We bidding a number of new installations in the next year or so,” said Kandula.

In the Philippines , I presented a two-hour class on how to investigate and repair cracks in masonry concrete walls. My talk was supported by Philippine Constructors Association, Inc. The group consists of some of the most influential contractors who build in Southeast Asia. The 100 or so attendees were engineers, inspectors, and property managers from the entire country.

Interest in adopting ASTM and ACI standards is growing in the Philippines. Just last month the National Building Authority informed the country’s ready-mixed concrete industry, that ASTM C-94 will be referenced in the building code. Hopefully it’ll only be a matter time before the building commission will consider the MSJC.

Philippine interest in bettering the quality of masonry construction is also growing. The industry is committed toward self-improvement said Ruben Cueto, vice-president for Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, a construction material manufacturer. Cueto is leading an effort to promoting the selection of quality materials and techniques that will improve building quality explained Cueto.  “It’s only with quality materials and proper installation techniques that our contractors can make more durable structures,” said Cueto.

It has been apparent to me, that the industry leaders in both India and the Philippines are on a path to improved building and structural quality. And just as important, they are looking to us to provide help and support.

With our expansion plans for World of Concrete and Masonry Construction web site, your industry efforts are being shared with contractors everywhere.