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What You Need To Know Before Your Industrial Concrete Floor Is Poured

The concrete floor of your facility is an investment in many ways. Yes, it’s an initial cost investment, but if not installed correctly could cost you down the road in production time, liability, employee safety, and more. You have gone through the design process, hired the subcontractor, and cleared the area. However, there are some preparatory steps to take before any concrete is poured.

Document Review

A knowledgeable engineer should review the design document for the floor. Poor floor design is the primary cause of underperforming concrete floors. Unfortunately, most engineers are not taught about concrete floor design in school. The engineer of record may be using a set of floor drawings from a previous project, which may or may not be suitable for your particular building.

Most RFPs have only a brief set of requirements for the floor. It is up to the design build firm to make certain you get the floor you need by learning about the traffic and environment you expect. Once the drawings for the entire building are complete, a concrete floor engineer should review them to ensure the durability and performance of the resulting floor with the owner's specific needs in mind.

Pre-Slab Constructon Meeting 

A pre-slab meeting brings together everyone involved in getting the floor installed to make sure everything will run smoothly. This is the last chance to check the floor design and ensure all contractors and subs are on schedule. 

Besides going over scheduling, the pre-slab meeting also provides an agenda for any other matters to be discussed. The following people should be involved:

  • The building owner or his representative
  • The architect and/or the engineer of record
  • The general contractor or construction manager
  • The concrete contractor
  • The ready mix producer
  • The testing agency
  • The pumping contractor
  • Any other trades directly affecting production and the working environment

During this meeting, not only will the floor installation be discussed; the pre-work will be walked through as well.

Road-base and Pad Prep for Channelized Truck Traffic

The ground the floor slab will rest on must be prepared to withstand the weight of the trucks and other vehicles that bring in the concrete for pouring. Pad prep can take two to three weeks to complete depending on the weather and the type of soils in the area.

A sub-base is prepared that is appropriate for the region. The sub-base is prepared to the proper moisture and compaction to withstand any construction vehicle running on it. A proof roll test is performed with a loaded ready mix truck or loaded dump truck to check sub-grade displacement before the pad is turned over to the concrete contractor.

The sub-base must remain uniformly compacted both during and after concrete placement. 

Now for the Concrete

Once the prep-work is complete, concrete can be poured. Pouring the concrete in an enclosed environmentally protected environment is the best method of ensuring a durable floor that lasts for decades. 

Concrete that must be poured in the open is exposed to the sun, heat, wind, and other elements as it sets, which can result in early deterioration, which takes life off the floor before it is even complete.

So much rides on the performance of the concrete floor in any distribution center or other facility. It pays to have quality work done in the first place. The cost savings will last the life of the facility.