Home buying patterns have been evolving drastically in the last few years. Gone are the days wherein people used to look at homes as a mere dwelling space, today home is a reflection of one’s personality and stature. In fact, owing to the globalisation and exposure, customers are becoming very brand conscious when it comes to buying real-estate assets. One of the key factors that play a crucial role in building a brand in the real-estate space is the quality of construction. Customers expect players to maintain the same quality across all their projects. The key ingredient that ensures quality in construction is the concrete used to build the structure. Earlier in India the concrete mix used to be prepared by local contractors at the construction site. The mixing used to happen manually. As it is manual builders used to find it difficult to keep a control over the time and amount of components mixed in the cement mix. Further, in traditional mode there is a huge dependency on expertise of the contractor / mason for mixing various components. In fact, in case the expert was absent from work owing to any emergency the chances of inconsistency in the mix were also quite common. Apart from manual intervention the other big aspect for builders is that they would need to identify storage space to store cement, sand and gravel. This growing inconvenience coupled with the increased stress on uniformity in quality of construction is pushing real-estate players to move towards ready mix concrete than site mixing concrete.
What is Ready Mix Concrete?
Ready-mix concrete is concrete that is manufactured in a batching plant, according to a pre-set engineered mix design. Batching plants combine a precise amount of gravel, sand, water and cement together by weight, allowing specialty concrete mixtures to be developed and implemented on construction sites.
Merits of Ready Mix Concrete over the traditional on site mixing
- Helps in ensuring strict control over quality and consistency across all batches
As the name suggests Ready Mix Concrete is ready to be casted at the construction site. It is manufactured in a factory set up. The mixing of the gravel, sand, water and cement are computerised. The mechanical mixing reduces the discrepancies in the proportion of the ingredients and ensures uniformity in every batch of the product. Further, most of the RMC producers have a battery of experts who regulate the mixing ratio and monitor the progress of manufacturing. This multi stage process ensures quality and consistency in ready mix concrete.
- Provides control over time and resources
Being manual, the time taken to mix and then proceed for construction is far higher in the on-site mixing method, than a ready mix concrete. Further the builders should take charge of identifying and hiring mixing equipment, labour and purchase of the ingredients. They will also have to make arrangements for storage of the ingredients. In fact, in a nutshell the entire time and costs may simply be not worth it when compared to the linear cost model of ready-mixed concrete, wherein the customer would need to pay only for what they use, and lets someone else do the work up to that point. Even in a large project, outsourcing concrete production to ready-mixed concrete suppliers means delegating the quality control and testing, material logistics and supply chain issues, and mix design, to specialists who are already set up for those tasks.
- Better customization and predictability of outcome
The weight carrying strength that is required for a house is different from that of a bridge and hence the type of concrete that needs to be used to construct each of the structure also varies. In fact, the strength of the concrete depends on the apt ratio of water and cement. In ready mix concrete as it is mechanised it is easy to customise. Also as the consistency and quality are uniform across all batches for the project, the outcome is also uniform and predictable. To improve the performance of a concrete mix admixtures are also used. Admixtures can be used to reduce water requirements, add small synthetic fibres to prevent surface cracks, or even super plasticize the concrete to make it self-compacting. However, the use of admixtures requires precision in dosing and mix design, which is more difficult without the dosing/measuring equipment and laboratory backing of a batching plant, which means they cannot easily be used outside of ready-mixed concrete. The admixtures used in RMC improve the flow property of concrete. The compaction also becomes easier in ready mix concrete.
- No chance of issues like hair line cracks
One of the biggest drawback of the on the site mixing is it is manual and hence the consistency may differ slightly in every batch and this slight variation can lead to issues like hair-line cracks.
- Large volumes can be available
As it is made in factory set up by machines, it can deliver large volumes within a short span of time.
This article is contributed by Mr. T Chandrasekhar, Director-Technical, Aparna Enterprises Ltd for Sawdust.