Allen Face
Joe Nasvik Allen Face

Graduating as a navel architect and marine engineer from Webb Institute of Navel Architecture, Glen Cove, N.Y., Allen Face pursued a career in ship design and construction. In 1975, he returned to Virginia to join his father in his concrete coatings and toppings business, when they were approached by Western Electric, Lookout Mtn., Tenn., to flatten the aisles in a new 1 million-square-foot warehouse where rail-guided, high-lift turret trucks swayed from side-to-side, striking the racks. Though installed to the old 1/8-inch in 10-foot straightedge tolerance, every aisle had many spots where elevation difference exceeded ¾ inch in just 4 feet.

In the course of their work, it became obvious a new technology was needed to prevent catastrophic failures on future narrow-aisle floor installations. In 1976, they co-invented the Face Floor Profileograph—a self-propelled lift truck simulator that remains the standard device used to measure the flatness and levelness of defined traffic floors. In 1979, to facilitate specification and analysis of such floors, Face devised FMIN. The FMIN System’s ability to specify wheel track tolerances coupled with the profileograph’s ability to measure profiles accurately lead to the development of superflat floors, helping the shift from low-density to high-density warehousing in the late 1970s.

In 1981, they created the much simpler Dipstick Profiler, which was introduced to American Concrete Institute (ACI). In 1983, Face presented ACI-117 with his new F-Number System. His FF and FL numbers were standardized by ASTM in 1987, and adopted by ACI-302 in 1989 and ACI-117 in 1990.

Face left the parent Face Construction Technologies, Norfolk, Va., in 1991 and started The Allen Face Companies, Wilmington, N.C. In 1993, he introduced the rolling F-Meter FF/FL Profiler and in 2003 re-engineered the Dipstick in the form of the D-Meter, permitting the low-cost production of FL numbers above 25 on wet-screed type floor constructions. Today, his Laser-Strike division manufactures the laser-guided Screed Rail, FL Screed, and Grade Gun.

Face’s guiding principle is to invent things that allow contractors to build cheaper, faster, and better. His consulting business often represents general and flatwork contractors who are asked to pay for problems caused by poor designs and/or faulty specifications.

Face also currently writes the Slabs on Grade column in CC, which seeks to explain how to design, specify, and construct concrete floors successfully.

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