There are many situations in today’s construction market that make Self Compacting Concrete an interesting alternative to conventional slump concrete.
In general, cost savings and/or performance enhancement tend to be the driving forces behind the added value of Self Compacting Concrete.
Contractors, producers and owners are under great pressure to produce better quality construction at lower costs of labor, materials and equipment.
They are also faced with tougher environmental and safety regulations, and increased insurance costs.
The economic benefits of a less intensive construction environment results in labor savings, time savings from higher productivity, and greater flexibility of design.
Self Compacting Concrete offers some help in all of the following areas.
1. Reduced in-place cost
•Productivity Improvements – Self Compacting Concrete can increase the speed of construction, improve formed surface finish and thus reduce repair and patching costs, reduce maintenance costs on equipment, and provide faster form and truck turn-around time.
2. Reduced labor costs – Self Compacting Concrete reduces labor demands and compensates for lack of skilled workers to perform the rigorous work required for quality concrete construction.
3. Improved work environment and safety – Self Compacting Concrete eliminates the use of vibrators for concrete placement, thus minimizing vibration and noise exposures. It eliminates trip hazards caused by cords. It reduces fall hazards, as workers do not have to stand on forms to consolidate concrete.
4. Improved aesthetics – Self Compacting Concrete provides unequaled formed surfaces.
What are the economic considerations for Self Compacting Concrete ?
The cost/benefit analysis of Self Compacting Concrete balances the increased cost of the concrete against substantial labor savings and asthetic benefits.
The benefits of Self Compacting Concrete are apparent at many levels of the construction process, from production, to placement, to quality of the finished product.
Modification of production and construction practices may be required to show the full impact of product benefits.
Due to generally higher strengths resulting from the high powder content needed for Self concrete, the economic benefit has been most obvious where high strengths were already needed for design reasons.
Thus the greatest current application for Self concrete is in precast/prestressed concrete production.
This is also true because the increased material cost and labor savings all appear on the same balance sheet, so the connection between Self concrete performance and cost savings is easier to make.
As more experience is gained in the field with the cost benefits of ready-mix Self concrete, this application is expected to grow.