Optimising construction with self-compacting concrete

Self-compacting concrete or self-consolidating concrete (as it is known in North America) (SCC) is used on the basis of its unique properties of flowability, passability and resistance to segregation. It requires no external energy to achieve full compaction, so is advantageous on site, but there is evidence that its higher cost is a significant barrier to greater adoption. The research entailed work measurement of 14 UK single-family home residential projects (eliciting data on construction time and labour productivity) and cost modelling of three slab scenarios (exploring the relationship between material and labour costs). The study found SCC was placed up to 73% faster than conventional concrete and, when labour and material costs are included, the supplier is able to price SCC to closely match conventional concrete, hence making SCC more viable for the contractor. This relationship between as-built costs for SCC and conventional concrete is clarified by developing Pmax, providing a new mechanism for understanding project profitability and viability of SCC.