We hear about media often. The news media reports on stories of social media reports of news media. What about our media – the main medium with which we craft our work and communicate our work ethic – as we build something tangible and real?
Every great artist must master the media through which they create and communicate. Your work, no doubt, communicates a pride in professional work, determination in the grind, and the superiority of concrete construction.
For you, creators of roads that connect communities and builders of enduring structures where others can work and live in real life, the following describes some of different types of concrete media.
The tried and true material of structures that endure, conventional concrete has been around since its invention in 1824 by Joseph Aspdin. Even before Portland cement, you can trace some form of concrete bonding agent going back to ancient Egypt, who mixed lime as bonding agent in their stone masonry work.
Working with conventional concrete takes a ton of good old-fashioned, grunt-inducing elbow grease. It’s heavy, requires great attention to detail mixing correctly and most of all is labor intensive. Both manpower and heavy equipment are needed just to move, place and finish it.
Particularly in the labor crunch of this tight market, most crews could use a few labor saving solutions.
SELF-CONSOLIDATING CONCRETE (SCC)
This type of concrete came along to solve the labor-intensive aspects of conventional concrete. It’s self-leveling – saving time on finishing work – and has a high passing ability. This saves time on both pumping and placing concrete.
This would be a perfect catch-all solution, but it has drawbacks: it’s expensive to produce. It requires a specialized mix design with a high portion of powder contents and small coarse aggregates. It’s sensitive mixes also require greater quality control, thus adding time back to the labor costs.
Control-flow concrete as a medium fits right between the two other types of concrete. Still a somewhat new category, this type of concrete offers several of the strengths of the other types without their shortcomings.
Like SCC, control-flow concrete pumps, passes and places easily. Simultaneously, it does so without impacting stability or segregation resistance. It requires minimal vibration, which cuts costs. Instead of using extremely heavy-duty concrete equipment, you might be able to use something like this from GPX to do the job – particularly on smaller project areas. So save on labor and equipment needed.
Control-flow concrete also does not require extensive quality control to produce, so you can save on labor there, as well.
Then there’s the savings you gain in material costs; It’s made from conventional mix with lower powder levels and larger coarse aggregates.
Sometimes, you just need to try something to get the feel for working with it. Check with your local ready-mix producer for availability of control flow admixtures and their take on control flow concrete. Please see here for more compactors from Ace Cutting Equipment & Supply.
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