Concrete Forming and Accessories Cost Estimating Tips

A primary cost for concrete construction is forming.

Most jobs today are constructed with prefabricated forms. The selection of the forms best suited for the job and the total square feet of forms required for efficient concrete forming and placing are key elements in estimating concrete construction. Enough forms must be available for erection to make efficient use of the concrete placing equipment and crew.

Quantity of Forms Needed - When estimating the number of forms and reuses for a job, remember to have enough forms on hand to keep the forming crew(s) busy while the previously poured concrete sets and starts to cure.

Concrete Placement (Direct Chute) - When estimating the placement of concrete by direct chute, the forms available generally determine the volume of concrete placed per hour. The more you have available, the more concrete can be placed in the course of a day.

Concrete Placement (Bucket, Pump, or Conveyor) - When placing concrete by methods involving a bucket and crane, pumping system, conveyor belt system or other mechanical system, set up enough forms to keep the above systems productive for the entire day. Usually the cost for the use of the equipment for a full day will be charged to you even if you only use it for part of a day.

Cold Weather Pouring of Footings - When placing concrete in cold weather, it may not always be necessary to use heating devices to keep concrete warm while it cures. In many cases, insulating blankets and straw are all that are needed. Each situation must be evaluated individually, a worthwhile exercise in view of the considerable expense that can be saved.

Concrete accessories - Accessories for forming and placing depend upon the systems used. Study the plans and specifications to ensure that all special accessory requirements have been included in the cost estimate such as anchor bolts, inserts, and hangers.

Drilling Anchor Bolts - Consider drilling anchor bolts into the concrete where design permits to save time, manpower, and materials on layout and templates during the pour.

Included within costs for forms-in-place are all the necessary bracing and shoring.

General Tips for Estimating Concrete

It cannot be stressed enough to carefully check all the plans and specifications. Concrete often appears on drawings other than structural drawings, including mechanical and electrical drawings for equipment pads and grouting requirements on steel drawings. Assuming all concrete requirements are indicated on the structural and architectural drawings can be a costly error.

When estimating quantities of concrete for floor slabs or walls, do not bother to deduct small areas (two square feet or so) unless there are a large number of these areas, as this can take up more estimating time than the areas are worth. Also remember that you will be adding approximately 3% to the total volume for waste, thereby making these small areas even less significant.

Always obtain concrete prices from suppliers near the job site. A volume discount can often be negotiated, depending upon competition in the area. remember to add for waste, particularily for slabs and footings on grade.

When estimating the amount of concrete compression testing that will be necessary for a project, figure on a minimum of one test per pour on smaller pours and a minimum of one test for each fifty yards of concrete placed. Each test should consist of taking a set of three cylinders minimum.

Cost Estimating Resources from RSMeans

2011 Concrete & Masonry Cost Data Book
Contains the latest unit price data, with illustrated concrete and masonry assemblies cost tables, helpful reference data and estimating aids
» Learn more
2011 Building Construction Cost Data Book
Thousands of unit costs for building components, arranged in the new CSI MasterFormat® 2010 classification system
» Learn more
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