UK contractors’ views on self-compacting concrete in construction

Self-compacting concrete (SCC) is claimed to offer faster construction, safer sites and more consistent concrete quality, but little corroborative research data exist on performance advantages, particularly in comparison with traditional construction. Industry opinions also appear to be divided. For these reasons, an extensive interview programme was undertaken with UK contractors – from large national concrete frame contractors to small, locally based housebuilders – to assess whether benefits were being achieved and to try to understand the reasons why SCC is, or is not, being used. The 48 participants reported that decisions on the suitability of SCC were inherently complex and, if selected, there were challenges in understanding ‘how’ construction should be planned and managed to accommodate the use of SCC and to fully utilise its advantages. The findings identify the need for a step change in the industry’s perception of SCC, such that it should be considered as a construction method, not simply as a material.