Do you need a concrete pump? here’s six things to consider

Concrete, Concrete Pour, Concrete Pump, Order Concrete

Concrete boom and line pumps are often necessary in situations where your site is geographically inaccessible, i.e., out the back of your house, on a steep slope, or a long way from the road. They are ideal for when you have large pours, piers, footings and foundations, or are pouring a suspended, i.e., upstairs slab, But there are a few things to consider before you hire one.

1. Boom or Line Pump?

Boom pumps are usually quicker than line pumps when it comes to churning your concrete out on site, but they do cost more. Depending on their size and therefore reach, i.e., 28 metre, 39 metre or over 45 metres, they may cost you approximately $50 to $100 more per hour. Check your site requirements out carefully. How much distance is the farthest corner of the slab to where a concrete truck can park? If its over 40 metres, you are going to need a concrete boom pump thats at least 39 metres in length.

Then consider whether there is enough room for a concrete boom pump to park on your site. They have long legs that straddle out either side of their cab chassis and therefore you need to allow for at least four to five metres width in your driveway, or on site otherwise they may need to park on the street. If so is that possible? Do you have traffic control? Is there room on the street? Off street parking? If the answer is no you may need a line pump, as they are similar to a small truck in size, and only require about two and a half metres width when parking on your site.

2. Do I require a different concrete mix design?

Every concrete plant has their own unique concrete mix designs. But as a rule of thumb in Australia most ready mix concrete plants place some additional cement and flyash in their concrete pump mixes, to increase the flowability and therefore the pumpability of your concrete on site. Dry concrete with heavy, large and elongated aggregates isn’t ideal when it comes to concrete pumping. The resultant pump blockages that may arise can add to your bottom line costs as it takes additional time to unblock them. And time costs money when it comes to concrete pumps. Therefore we recommend you let the batch plant know when ordering your concrete that you are using a concrete pump and require a pump (P) mix.

Be sure to let them know if its a line pump too. Line pumps may utilise a small line, i.e., a 2 inch hose when pumping, in which case small aggregate stone is often required in your mix, together with even more cement and flyash than would otherwise be required in a normal (N) mix design. Remember too that because there may be more cement and flyash required, your concrete is probably going to cost a few dollars more per cubic metre.

3. What about power lines or other onsite obstacles?

Concrete pumps are pretty heavy and therefore if its been wet, or if you have a weak sub surface i.e., fill, they may be easily bogged, or at worst tip over. They require a hard stand to park on, particularly boom pumps whose legs carry the weight of the heavy crane above.

Whilst boom pumps require plenty of room. Power lines and other on site services may prove to be obstacles for your boom pump operator. Even if he or she is ticketed to operate around power (i.e., has sat for an overhead power and lines induction), there may physically not be enough room for them to logistically negotiate their crane under or around the power. You might need to reconsider and step back to the line pump option.

4. What if I under, or even over order the amount of concrete required?

Making sure you order appropriately is even more important when you are ordering a concrete pump in addition to your concrete. Having concreters hanging around waiting for your final load, i.e., your plus or message, is bad enough, but when a pumps sitting waiting on site, you start to feel your back pocket burning. Therefore its important to measure up correctly during the third and second last loads. Then give the batch plant advance notice of the amount of concrete required to finish your job.

Remember its often less expensive to slightly over order when it comes to concrete quantities, than to pay the additional pump and concreter hours associated with waiting on site for additional concrete, in situations where you have under ordered

5. What if the concrete pump breaks down?

If you are ordering the concrete from the batch plant chances are you are paying for it. Therefore you are liable for it even in circumstances when the concrete pump blocks, breaks down, or is late to site. Its important to have positive communication with the concrete pumping company and your concrete batch plant at all times. Make sure there is a back up plan in place for emergencies and delays. Most experienced concrete pumping firms have access to other concrete pumps in times of need, but it may be prudent to consider “what if” before your concrete pour, as opposed to during it. Especially if you are pouring at 7am and all the other concrete pumps are busy, or in situations where you are miles from another concrete pumping yard.

6. Where does the concrete pump wash out?

The concrete pump has a hopper that can have up to and over .2 cubic metres left in it at the conclusion of your concrete pour. This needs to be discharged either on site, back at a batch plant, at a recycle depot, or somewhere. In other words it cannot be illegally dumped, and if it needs to be tipped, washed out or discharged off site, its probably going to cost you money. So if you don’t have room on site to take this excess concrete e.g., in another slab or a designated wash out area, you need to talk with the concrete pumping company to arrange where the hopper is to be washed out, and therefore what your additional costs are estimated to be.

Need a concrete pump? At orderconcrete.com.au we have access to concrete pumps. Call or email us at hello@corderconcrete.com.au to arrange a concrete pump or for more information.