To SCC or not to SCC? UK contractors’ views

Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) is a construction material that has yet to be fully exploited within the UK construction industry. Whilst SCC has been utilised by a large number of contractors, its overall take-up does not appear to reflect that seen in other European and International markets. Benefits to contractors have been identified in many publications but the material still remains underused in the UK. As such, it is necessary to establish the reasons for the material’s current status in the UK market and the potential for future market development. This paper presents the findings from an extensive programme of interviews with UK contractors (48 participants), ranging from large multi-nationals to small/medium regional contractors, which aimed to investigate the issues surrounding the use of SCC in the UK and to help obtain an understanding of the role that SCC plays within contracting organisations. Previous and current perceptions of the material are discussed along with the drivers and processes for material selection and how these are influenced by the structure of the individual organisations and the wider industry. This interview study has identified a number of conclusions with regard to SCC and its position and role in the industry. It has been made clear that SCC is currently viewed as a material which has a detrimental effect in considering the materials subsequent effect on the whole construction project, which can add subsequent value. It is the concept of value that is difficult to encourage due to the industries current and hereditary obsession with lowest cost.