Balancing Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness – A Comparison of Volumetric and Ready Mix Concrete
Which is better, volumetric or ready mixed concrete? It is a question we get asked a good deal at Custom Concrete. Whether you’re managing a large-scale construction project or planning a house extension, the type of concrete you select can profoundly influence both your budget and project efficiency. Our aim in this article is to give you the information to help you choose between volumetric concrete or ready mixed concrete for your project.
What’s the Difference Between Volumetric and Ready Mixed?
When faced with the decision between volumetric concrete and ready mixed concrete, numerous factors come into play, each contributing to the final choice. Now we’ll consider the full range of aspects that could impact your decision.
1. Mixing Process
- Volumetric Concrete. Volumetric concrete is mixed on-site using a specialised mobile batching plant known as a volumetric mixer or truck. This mixer precisely combines the necessary ingredients – cement, aggregates, water, and additives – at the job site, allowing for real-time adjustments to the mix as needed.
- Ready Mixed Concrete. Ready mix concrete, on the other hand, is prepared at a centralised batching plant. It is mixed in large quantities, transported to the construction site in transit mixers, and then discharged into place. The mix is pre-determined and cannot be altered once it leaves the plant.
2. Freshness and Customisation
- Volumetric Concrete. Volumetric concrete offers unparalleled freshness and customisation. Since it’s mixed on-site concrete, you have full control over the mix design. This is particularly useful when dealing with varying project requirements, such as changing weather conditions or specific strength and slump needs.
- Ready Mixed Concrete. Ready mix concrete provides consistency but lacks the flexibility of customisation. The mix design is set at the batching plant, and any adjustments must be made before delivery, making it less adaptable to on-site changes.
3. Waste Reduction
- Volumetric Concrete. Volumetric concrete is ordered by volume, using a concrete calculator, which serves to minimise waste. You only pay for the concrete you use, eliminating the need for over-ordering or disposing of unused concrete, which is common with ready mixed deliveries.
- Ready Mixed Concrete. With ready mixed concrete, there’s a potential for over-ordering, leading to excess concrete that may go to waste. This can result in higher costs and environmental impact.
4. Cost Efficiency
- Volumetric Concrete. Volumetric concrete can be more cost-effective for projects with mixed batch requirements. Since you can adjust the mix in real-time, there’s less risk of ordering excessive or insufficient concrete, reducing costs in the long run.
- Ready Mixed Concrete. Ready-mixed concrete may have a fixed price per cubic yard or metre. While it offers consistency, it can be less cost-effective for projects where concrete requirements change or are hard to predict.
5. Delivery and Timing
- Volumetric Concrete. Volumetric mixers offer greater control over delivery timing. You can schedule deliveries precisely when needed, minimising downtime, and ensuring fresh concrete at all times.
- Ready Mixed Concrete. Ready mix deliveries are typically scheduled in advance. This can be less flexible for projects with changing schedules or unexpected delays. Additionally, multiple mixes would require multiple deliveries.
Volumetric Concrete or Ready Mix?
Armed with knowledge of the differences between the two types of concrete, we’ll now consider practical reasons why you would choose one or the other.
1. What Kind of Job Are You Working On?
One of the major advantages of volumetric concrete is that it’s mixed on-site. So, for sites that need different mixes for different jobs (one for foundations and one for a driveway, for example) volumetric concrete is perfect. The concrete mix is tailored exactly to your needs on site, and different batches can be scheduled throughout the day. If, however, you have a large scale project that requires only one kind of concrete, ready mixed is a good option.
2. What Quantity of Concrete do You Need?
Custom Concrete’s fleet of volumetric trucks carry up to 8.5 metres of concrete, whilst conventional trucks carry 6-8 metres. The other consideration is that a volumetric truck will only mix the exact amount of concrete you need. There will be no waste, and no concrete to dispose of once the job is complete. Specific amounts of ready mixed concrete can be ordered in advance, but the standardised pricing per cubic metre encourages waste.
3. How Fresh Do You Want Your Concrete?
Volumetric trucks carry their raw ingredients separately to the site. Once in situ, the water is added, and the required mix achieved. The resulting cement could not be fresher. By contrast, ready-mixed concrete is mixed prior to its arrival on site. If it has been in the drum for 30-40 minutes, it will already be ‘curing’. It may require the addition of water which runs the risk of weakening the mix.
4. Are You Running a Tight Profit Margin?
With ready-mixed concrete the amount you order is the amount that is delivered. Accuracy in ordering is absolutely vital, therefore. However, every site manager will tell you that on-site conditions can change, and last-minute tweaks go with the territory. A volumetric mix occurs in real time, so you can change the order at the last minute, and you won’t feel the pinch of paying for concrete you haven’t used.
5. What’s the Location?
Whether you choose ready-mixed or volumetric concrete, it’s perfectly possible to access both residential and construction sites. At Custom Concrete we are happy to mix concrete for DIY driveways or larger sites. We know that not all jobs are going to allow access for a straight pour, so we can also arrange for concrete pump hire if required.
Custom Concrete – Experience Matters
At Custom Concrete, we’re not just concrete suppliers; we’re site-mixed concrete specialists. Our journey began in 2005 with our very first volumetric truck, and since then, our fleet has expanded to serve Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire. When you choose Custom Concrete, you’re opting for expertise gained over years of local concrete deliveries.
Have You Got Questions About Your Concrete Mix? Our friendly customer service team is here to assist you. They’re not only knowledgeable but they also have the industry experience required to help you make the right concrete choices for your project.
Ready to Get Started? Don’t hesitate to call us with your inquiries or to schedule your concrete delivery. We’re here to ensure your project gets the quality concrete it deserves – 01525 861899.