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;Concrete for industrial floors


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Ac know Iedge ment s

The Association of Concrete Industrial Flooring Contractors pay particular tribute to Dr Tom Harrison who chaired the original Working Party, and Kevin Sutherland ofTarmac, who took on the challenging role of coordinating author and subsequently of revising editor for this updated Guide. Acknowledgement is also given to the original collaboration between the contributing members of the ACIFC and The Concrete Society.

Concrete for industrial floors - Good Concrete Guide 1 Published by The Concrete Society CS 127 Published September 2007 ISBN 1-904482-38-4 OThe Concrete Society The Concrete Society Riverside House, 4 Meadows Business Park, Station Approach, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 9AB Tel: +44 ( 0 ) 1 2 7 66 0 7 140 Fax: +44 (0)1276 6 0 7 14 1 www.concrete.org.uk

Other publications in this series are available from the Concrete Bookshop at www.concretebookshop.com Tel: +44 ( 0 ) 7 0 0 4 607777
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under current legislation no part of this work may be photocopied, stored in a retrieval system, published, performed in public, adapted, broadcast, transmitted, recorded or reproduced in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Enquiries should be addressed toThe Concrete Society. Although The Concrete Society does its best to ensure that any advice, recommendations or information it may give either in this publication or elsewhere is accurate, no liability or responsibility of any kind (including liability for negligence) howsoever and from whatsoever cause arising, is accepted in this respect by the Group, its servants or agents. Readers should note that publications are subject to revision from time to time and should therefore ensure that they are in possession of the latest version. Printed by Holbrooks Printers Ltd, Portsmouth, Hampshire UK.

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COnc rete Guide Good

te for industrial floors

G Utda nceo i specification and mix design

A joint report from The Concrete Society Industrial Floors Group and the Association of Concrete Industrial Flooring Contractors

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. -

t o reword
This updated Guide was originally published in 1998; it was then and still is the result of collaboration between the contractor and members of the Association of Concrete Industrial Flooring Contractors (ACIFC). The Associations objective continues to be assisting its members to deliver better, more consistent, quality concrete ground-floor slab construction. This Guide now takes full account of new and updated British and European Standards for materials and, where appropriate, Codes of Practice.The advent of the new concrete standards BS EN 206 and BS 8500 has changed several aspects of concrete production, in particular specification methods, descriptions and requirementsfor determination of conformity. The guidance given in the original version of this document was the culmination of discussions and recommendations of both users and suppliers of the essential element of the slab, namely that of concrete and its constituents. It was the forerunner of other specialist guides on other aspects of this type of construction.The special interest and the assistance of the Industrial Floors Group ofThe Concrete Society, ready-mixed concrete producers and admixture suppliers are acknowledged.
No publication can be definitive.This updated edition of the Guide gives current best practice, while still recognising that further investigation and development work is needed. It is in the interests of contractors and their suppliers to progress knowledge of the best use of concrete to achieve consistently good value from such a versatile material.

This revised document gives practical guidance on current best practice for the specification, design, production and delivery of concrete for direct-finished industrial floors constructed by large-area pour methods. Much of the information is also relevant for any large interior floor construction method. This Guide is intended primarily to establish a working interface between all parties involved in floor construction, including specifiers, contractors, concrete producers and the materials and equipment supply chain so that it brings together a consensus of views and recommendations that have been reached after extensive consultation and deliberation.

Kevin Sutherland Tarmac Central Ltd

Comments were made in the previous version of this Guide regarding the use of admixtures in floors, with particular reference to lack of full dispersion during the mixing process. It is true to say that admixtures are more widely used now, particularly those materials specifically designed for use in floor construction.The correct choice of admixture type and mixing procedures to ensure a fully consistent concrete in every load remains of paramount importance in the very large pours that characterise fast-track floor construction process. The ACIFC andThe Concrete Society believe that all parties involved in the design and delivery of high-quality industrial floor slabs - some 6 million square metres per year in the UK alone, and absorbing some 1.5 million cubic metres of concrete - will continue to benefit from this straightforward Guide and that it will give support to the ACIFCs objective of delivering better quality by improving understanding of how to achieve it.

David Harvey Chairman, ACIFC

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Concrete for industrial floors

Gu dance on specification and mix design
Acknowledoements Foreword Preface Standards for future reference Introduction Health, safety and environment Introduction Health and safety on site Health and safety for concrete production Environment Project planninq Concrete specification Designation Strength Cement content Waterkement ratio Consistence Materials Aagregates Cements and combinations Admixtures Mixing water Steel, macro-synthetic and micro-syntheticfibres Concrete mix desian Introduction Consistence Fine aggregate content Finishabilitv Inside Front Cover ii ii iv 1
2 2 2 2 3

In-situ concrete properties Thermal movement Drving shrinkage Abrasion resistance Compaction of concrete Influence of curina Batching and pre-delivery of concrete


14 14 14 15 15 15

aPre-delivery planning

16 17 18 18 18 19

5 5 6

Conformity and identity testinq Conformity Identity testing (strength) Identity testing_(consistence) References
Appendix A: Guidance on the specification and use

6 7

8 8 8 10 10

of admixtures in concrete for industrial floors Introduction Water-reducina admixtures Other admixtures Batching admixtures Site addition of admixtures placing and finishing characteristics b p e n d i x B: ldentitv testing criteria Strength criteria Consistence criteria

21 21 21 21 22 22 22

23 23

12 12 12 13

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Standards for future reference

BS 3892-1 1997 BS 4027: 1996 BS 6699: 1992 BS 7979: 2001 BS 8203: 2001 BS 8204-2: 2003 BS 8500-1 2006
Pulverised-fuel ash. Specification for pulverised fuel ash for use with Portland cement Specification for sulfate-resistingPortland cement Specification for ground granulated blastfurnace slag for use with Portland cement Specification for limestone fines for use with Portland cement Code of practice for installation of resilient floor coverings Screeds, bases and in-situ flooring. Concrete wearing surfaces - Code of practice Concrete - Complementary British Standard to BS EN 206-1. Method of specifying and guidance for the specifier Concrete - Complementary British Standard to BS EN 206-1. Specification for constituent materials and BS 8500-2: 2006 concrete Cement. Composition, specifications and conformity criteria for common cements BS E N 197-1: 2000 Cement. Composition, specifications and conformity criteria for low early strength blastfurnace cements BS EN 197-4: 2000 Concrete. Specification,performance, production and conformity. BS EN 206-1 : 2000 Fly ash for concrete. Definitions, specificationsand conformity criteria BS E N 450-1 : 2005 Tests for geometrical properties of aggregates. Determination of particle shape. Flakiness index BS EN 933-3: 1997 Admixtures for concrete, mortar and grout. Concrete admixtures. Definitions and requirements BS EN 934-2: 1998 Mixing water for concrete. Specification for sampling, testing and assessing the suitability of water, BS EN 1008:2002 including water recovered from processes in the concrete industry, as mixing water for concrete Testing fresh concrete. Sampling BS EN 2350-1: 2000 Testing fresh concrete. Slump test BS EN 2350-2: 2000 Testing fresh concrete. Flow table test BS EN 2350-5: 2000 Testing hardened concrete. Making and curing specimens for strength tests BS EN 2390-2: 2000 Testing hardened concrete. Compressive strength of test specimens BS EN 2390-3: 2002 Aggregates for concrete BS EN 12620: 2002 Silica fume for concrete BS E N 13263: 2005 Tests for thermal and weathering properties of aggregates. Determination of drying shrinkage BS EN 1367-4: 1998 Cement. Composition, specifications and conformity criteria for very low heat special cements BS EN 14216: 2004 Ground granulated blastfurnace slag for use in concrete, mortar and grout BS EN 15167:2006 Aggregates for concrete. Guidance on the use of BS E N 12620 PD 6682-1 : 2003 BS EN IS0 14001: 1996 Environmental Management Systems. Specificationwith guidance for use Quality management and quality assurance standards. Generic guidelines for the application of I S 0 9001, BS I S 0 9000-2: 1997 I S 0 9002 and IS0 9003

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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 1

I nt roduct on
Concrete industrial floors must give a high standard of performance and durability.Close attention to the construction materials and working practice is necessary if floors are to be constructed that need minimal maintenance. The majority of floors are satisfactory; however, construction and finishing difficulties too often lead to the need for remedial work due to inadequacies or failings in one or more of the following important areas: poor communication and coordination between specifiers, contractors and concrete producers practical material specifications mixer trucks with dissimilar mixing efficiency concrete supply rates control of fresh concrete including uniformity of mixing and consistence quality of workmanship, in particular finishing and curing variable weather and site conditions.

This publication gives guidance and advice on relevant materials technology in order to achieve the objectives of all parties involved in the specification and construction of industrial floors.

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Chapter 2

Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Health, safety and e nviron ment

I nt roduct ion
Without exception, the most important issue for those managing or engaged in construction activity is the safety of all persons on the site. Currently, as the construction industry accounts for a quarter of all deaths a t work and for more than 4000 injuries each year, the reduction of these numbers is a government priority.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces with vigour the Health and Safety a t Work Act and has declared its intention to seek criminal convictions for any breaches. safe handling of materials that are potentially hazardous to health; the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) apply (particularly with regard to concrete, synthetic and steel fibre, concrete admixtures, dry-shake powder and sealants) providing formal health and safety inductions for other subcontractors provision of first-aid by suitably trained personnel establishing a reporting system, including arrangements for complying with the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) training to ClTB Health and Safety Test level and enforcement of CPCS cards on-site/off-site traffic management and control consideration of other trades workplace lighting mess and toilet facilities demarcation of working and storage areas establishment of a suitable audit and assessment process, preferably by an independent person provision of a banksman and safe access for ready-mixed concrete trucks if intending to add materials or modify the concrete a t site, a contractor must provide risk-assessed procedures, suitable equipment and adequate supervision. The types of specific risks referred to above can be managed safely by implementing the appropriate systems and procedures. However, the most difficult risk to manage is employee and or subcontractor behaviour:over 90% of all injuries, fatalities and near misses arise from unsafe acts, not unsafe conditions.The visible and uncompromising management of health and safety is necessary to establish a culture of safety awareness among the entire site workforce, including subcontractors. Unsafe behaviour should always be vigorously challenged and it should be made clear to everyone that repeated or deliberate failure to comply with procedures and instructions will invariably lead to permanent exclusion from site and possibly criminal conviction.

Health and safety on site

There are significant risks on most construction sites and, although not exhaustive, some examples are as follows: vehicle and construction plant movements use of power tools manual handling working at height,for example when constructing mezzanines, climbing ladders of mixer trucks, placing of laser levelling equipment working in confined spaces exposure to hazardous materials such as fresh concrete high-voltage power sources. Employers have legal obligations under the Health and Safety a t Work Act and the main contractor will have a health and safety management policy and procedures in place, including an induction process.The flooring contractor, including his suppliers and any subcontractors, should seek to integrate their own health and safety procedures into this in advance of flooring operations taking place. In particular, the preparation of risk assessments and operational method statements should be considered essential; these will enable the main contractor to issue the necessary Permits to Work to both the main flooring contractor and any other subcontractor engaged in the floor construction. Some specific issues that should be addressed are: ensuring the health and safety policy is appropriate to the type of work carried out by the specialist flooring contractor supply of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and enforcement of its use

Health and safety for concrete production

The concrete producer will have a health and safety policy and documented safe working procedures in place.This will include periodic surveillance and reporting. As part of these operations the truck mixer operators or drivers will have been included in

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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 2

these safe working systems and procedures.The concrete and quarrying industry Standard now includes rotating amber hazard beacons, reversing alarms and cameras. Additionally, mixer trucks now have safe access platforms around the loading chute and modifications to the folding discharge chutes to prevent crush injuries when folding the chutes. The truck operators or drivers, technicians and other representatives of the concrete producer will have suitable PPE and will have received safety induction training to cover safe working both at the concrete production plant and the construction site. Many sites have specific safety induction requirements.The flooring contractor should ensure that the concrete producer is aware of these requirementsand where necessary arrange inductions.

Most concrete producers are moving towards Environmental Management Systems based upon BS E N I S 0 14001, with thirdparty accreditation from bodies such as the British Standards Institution (BSI). Additionally all static concrete plants are now licensed by the local authority under the Environmental Protection Act as a class B process covering the use and handling of bulk cement.The concrete production unit will have undergone an environmental impact assessment covering all emissions, including dust, waste water and waste concrete. In addition to any contract-specific environmental issues,there are a number of areas common to all sites where environmental aspects must be considered and these would include:

preventing emissions and pollution (dust, site runoff, provision of drainage) disposal of excess concrete prevention of mud transfer to public roads venting of lorry exhaust fumes from working areas control of noise pollution concrete supplier and other supply chain responsibilities concerning delivery or working on site washdown facilities for concrete mixer trucks following discharge.

The main contractor would normally address some of these items but it is incumbent on all contractors to be aware of the impact of a construction site on the environment and to take steps to minimise the effect wherever possible.

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Chapter 3

Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Project planning
Planning is the key factor in the successful execution of a flooring contract. Remember:'FaiIing to plan, in reality, is planning to fail'. However, a well-thought-out and structured approach will help to ensure that the job is completed on time, that the floor meets the client's and main contractor's expectations and that construction costs are kept under control. The primary reasons for planning are to assess whether targets are attainable, to identify cost, time scale, potential problems and to make decisions at the outset that will prevent future surprises. It is important that the flooring subcontractor's plans are linked to the main contractor's plans and consistent with local supply chain output capacity and availability.
Every contract must have a project manager based at site or a t the contractor's office who will be responsible for the delivery of the floor to time, quality and budget. A site meeting to define and agree goals and objectives and how they will be achieved should precede the contract start date.This meeting should include representatives from the following, irrespective of the size of the contract:

An important aspect of planning concerns how the work will be executed and this needs to take into account details of the work such as the method of construction, for example large-area pour, long bay, and also the method of concrete placement - will it be pumped or direct discharge, see Figure 1. Added to this are the finishing process and other post-concretingwork such as the application of a dry-shake topping,joint formation and/or sawing, application of top-surface sealant or curing membrane etc. Other factors such as placing external slab-work or where the floor is suspended may need additional resources and therefore need to be an integral part of the plan. Figure 2 shows a partially completed large-area warehouse floor.

E ?l

floor-laying subcontractor main contractor concrete supplier and concrete pumping contractor suppliers of other products, such as toppings, steel fibre.

Where the floor is to be designed and constructed to meet a specialised need it is essential to invite the engineer and building owner, or the end-user of the floor, to the pre-contract meeting; this will ensure that all parties understand fully what is agreed and can reasonably be delivered. It is recommendedthat the initialoutline planning should include a task sequence and programme analysis; conformance to this working document should be regularly monitored throughout the contract period and sections of work should be signed off when completed.This should ensure that the work progresses as anticipated, the floor is constructed to the specified technical requirements and the project finances are kept within budget. Continuous monitoring of the key activities sometimes leads to minor adjustment of the work logistics.This is acceptable provided that the changes are controlled;timely recognition of the need for change will reduce the risk of failure to deliver to the overall plan. Additionally, regular progress review meetings should be held and must include the main contractor.These will assist in providing clear communicationthus avoiding disputes over work progress and quality.

Figure 1 - Placing concrete

Figure 2 - A partially completed large-areawarehouse floor.

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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 4

Concrete specification
The majority of concrete is likely to be purchased through a ready-mixed concrete supplier. In order to purchase concrete this way, the requirements of the concrete need to be specified.
A ready-mixed concrete plant is set up to produce many types of concrete, the concretes having been designed to meet the potential specifications of clients. As the constituent materials are batched by weight and not volume, this means that batched concrete should meet the original mix design specification and comply with the rigorous quality control systems implemented.

The concrete is ordered by its required performance in terms of its strength class subject to any restrictions on materials, minimum or maximum cement content, maximum water cement (w/c) ratio and any other properties required.The purchaser must supply all the relevant information on use to enable the producer to design the concrete accordingly.

Proprietary concretes
The proprietaryconcrete approach is appropriatewhere the concrete is to achieve a particular performance, using defined test methods.The proprietaryconcrete is selected in consultation with the concrete producer and the project specification is appropriately drafted.

Concrete, whether site-mixed, ready-mixed or produced in a precast plant, should be specified in the UK in accordance with BS 8500, the complementary British Standard to BS EN 206-1. Part 1 of BS 8500 - Methodofspecifjhg andguidance for the specifier - is intended for the person or body establishing the specification for fresh and hardened concrete or who passes the specification to the producer, i.e.the purchaser of the readymixed concrete. Part 2 - Specification for constituent materials andconcrete - is for the producer and contains specification requirements for the producers production control.

Prescribed concretes
Prescribed concrete is a concrete where the purchaser prescribes the exact composition and constituents of the concrete and is responsible for ensuring that these proportions produce a concrete with the required performance. Essentially,the purchaser selects the materials and proportions to satisfy the required strength and durability needs but does not specify these parameters.The concrete is ordered by its constituent materials and the properties or quantities of those constituents to produce a concrete with the required performance.The assessment of the mix proportions will form an essential part of the conformity requirements if the purchaser so requires.

BS 8500 allows concrete to be specified via a suite of concrete designations, namely designated, designed, proprietary, prescribed, or standardized prescribed concrete. For the majority of industrial floor applications the designed concrete route is the most appropriate.

Designated concretes
An alpha-numeric reference system is used todesignatethese concretes for particular purposes.The concrete is chosen from a list of designated concretes (GEN, FND, PAV, RC etc.) depending on the site conditions and the application for which it is to be used.The concrete is produced in accordance with BS 8500 and requires the producer to hold a current accredited production control certification based on product testing and surveillance, coupled with approval of the producers quality system to BS EN I S 0 9000.

Standardized prescribed concretes

Standardized prescribed concretes (ST1 to ST5) are selected from
a restricted list in BS 8500 and made with a restricted range of materials as detailed in the Standard.The assessment of the

concrete proportions will form an essential part of the conformity requirements.These concretes are appropriate where concrete is site-batchedon a small scale or obtained from a ready-mixed supplier who does not have third-party accreditation.

Designed concretes
For flexibility in specifying and purchasing, designed concretes are appropriate as they cover the application and constituent materials. It is a mix design for which the purchaser is responsible for specifying the required performance and the producer is responsible for selecting the concrete proportions to produce the specified performance. Effectively,the producer has responsibility for the mix design to meet the purchasers needs, for example exposure environment, working life, strength, consistence.

BS EN 206-1 Section 6 and BS 8500-1 Section 4 require that the specifier of the concrete shall ensure that all the relevant requirements for the concrete propertiesare included in the specification given to the supplier/producer.These are covered as Basic requirements and Additional requirements. For flooring concrete the basic requirements will be similar to conventional concrete, e.g. strength class, exposure class, consistence. Additional requirements may be included for other technical requirements requested by the specifier, e.g. shrinkage.

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Chapter 4

Concretefor industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Thetypical characteristicstrength specified for direct finished floors is UW35 or C32/40. This dual compressiveStrength class refers to cylinder/cube strength, the lower value being the cylinder strength.Also see the section #brasion resistance,' page 15. Lower strengths may be specified on the basis of engineering judgement, such as on design-and-construct contracts where the contractor has full control of the construction process or where the quality of finishing is enhanced or dryshake topping is to be applied. Assessment of strength ofsite-cast specimens, known as identity testing, is covered in BS EN 206- 1 Annex B, with clarification in BS 8500-1 Annex A. 10and Annex B.5.73is will give an indication of whether a defined volume of concrete belongs to the same population as that verified as conforming to the characteristic strength via conformity assessment by the producer. This gives a reasonableguide to the quality and consistency of the concrete supply.

Figure 3 - Large-area warehouse floor

The specifier is also required to inform the supplier of the concrete properties needed for transportation, delivery, placing, compaction, curing and further treatment.This could also includespecial requirements, e.g. for finish. This is covered under Exchange of information in BS EN 206-1 Section 7.1 and BS 8500-1 Section 5.1.

Cement content Strength

The requiredconcrete compressive strength class is selected from Table 8 of BS EN 206-1. Additional classes to those given are provided in BS 8500-2 Table 9. For industrialfloors with power-trowelling,a minimum cement content of 325kg/m3is considered suitable to achieve satisfactory abrasion resistance.

Commentmy Commentmy
Specific guidance on concretespecification,related to design, expected use and traffickingconditions of a floor is given in two key documents, The ConcreteSociety Technical Report 34"' and BS 8204-2:2003. Theconcretecompressive strength class relates to its characN 206- 1 clause 3.1.32. In teristic strength, as defined in BS E the UK it is based on the strength of test cubes made, stored and tested in accordance with BS EN 12390-2and BS EN 12390-3. Thestatistical approach to production control means that the average strength of the concrete supplied will usually exceed the specified characteristic strength by a design margin, the magnitude of which is dependent on the quality control of the production of the supplying plant. It must be recognised that the compressivestrength of concrete has little relevance to the engineering design ofa concrete floor,as the flexural strength is more critical to its performance underload.However, the test for flexural strength has poor precision. Theflexural strength of a concrete generally falls in the range 8- 15% of the compressivestrength, the aggregate type having a significantinfluence on this factor.

To achieve a satisfactory abrasion resistance the surface must be capable of being power-trowelled and so sufficient finer fines must be available. When a 2Omm nominal maximum size coarse aggregate is used, a minimum cement content of 325kg/m3is normally specified for direct-finish industrial floors and reflects current national construction practice.
Experience has shown that lower cement contents may not provide abrasion-resistant concrete with low dusting characteristics.However, current research indicates that w/c ratio has more effect on abrasion resistance than the cement content.In practice, where power-trowel finishes are specified a minimum cement content of325kg/m3ensures that there is sufhcient volume of cement in the concrete to achieve a dense and uniform wearing surface. Cement contents above 360kg/m3are unlikely to improve abrasion. Cement contents above 400kg/m3can lead to finishing problems since the time available for floating and trowelling reduces with increasing cement content (see the section 'Finishability,'page 13).

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Concrete for industrial floors -Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 4

For direct-finishedfloors, BS 8204-2 recommends increasing cement content and strength class to achieve improved abrasion. It is recognised that specialist flooring contractors can achieve high levels ofabrasion resistance at cement contents lower than those specified in BS 8204-2:2003 and this is noted in clause 6.2 of that Standard.It is therefore recommended that this issue should be agreed between the floor designer and the specialist flooring contractor.

The selected consistenceshould reflect the level ofcompaction that will be applied to the concrete. As the slump or flow increases, the effort required to achieve full compaction will reduce. For strip construction methods a concrete with a lower consistence value can be used. The consistence needs only to be high enough to achieve full cornpaction with the compaction equipment available, whether the concrete is placed by direct tipping, pumping or by dumper. Most specialist flooring contractorsprefer to use higher consistence classes for both strip construction and largearea pour methods. Theproducer should ensure that the proposed concrete is sufficiently cohesive to avoid segregation of the constituent materials. This is particularly relevant if the flooring contractor will be adding super-plasticisers to the concrete on site. Fibres, particularly steel and macro-synthetic fibres, are increasingly used in floor construction. Theproducer and contractor should note that a small reduction ofabout lOmm slump may occur when micro-synthetic fibres (polypropylene) are added to a concrete. Steel fibres and macrosynthetic have a greater effect on consistence than microfibres and the slump may be reduced by more than 25rnm, depending on the fibre shape, length and quantity. Consequently, minor constituent adjustments may be necessary to maintain the w/c ratio and to maintain plastic properties. The specified consistence should take account of this, particularly if the contractor intends to add fibres to the concrete at site.

Wat erkement ratio

Specify a maximum w/c ratio of 0.55, or a lower value if appropriate.

This maximum value of w/c ratio reflects current practice in the UK and is consistent with guidance given in The Concrete Society Technical Report No. 34'').It is desirable to keep the free water content as low as possible to minimise drying shrinkage and excessive bleed etc. but the concrete must be capable of being placed and finished with the equipment available. Theproducer can adjust the concrete design by increasing the cement content while maintaining the original water content,or by using admixtures ora combination of both. Using an admixture to decrease the overall water content will help to control and/or reduce drying shrinkage.

Select a consistence class that is appropriateto the method of construction.The contractor should inform the producer if admixtures or fibres are to be added to the concrete at site. Consistence classes are given in BS 8500-1: 2006Tables B.l to 8.4. The maximum allowable deviation is based on a spot sample taken from the initial discharge of a ready-mixed concrete truck or as a composite sample, both being taken in accordance with BS E N 12350-1.The concrete producer will normally target consistence a t the mid-range value. Slump and flow tests are carried out in accordance with BS E N 12350-1 and E N 12350-5 respectively. See the section 'Identity testing (strength): page 18 and Appendix B, page 23.Table 1 provides typical consistence classes for floor construction.

Long strip Laser screed Large area

Directpour 52 or 53




53 F5

Table I - Suggested consistenceclasses for floor construction

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Chapter 5

Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Materia Is
A wide variety of aggregate types are in use in the UK, depending on local geology and the economic boundaries of particular sources. Aggregate should generally conform to BS EN 12620 Aggregates for concrete, or have an acceptable history of use and should be of a quality suitable for the production of structural concrete.

Aggregates should be free of impurities or materials that may affect the integrity or appearance of the surface of the finished floor. It is often impossible to eliminate impurities entirely and a procedure for rectifying surface defects should be agreed prior to letting of the contract.

The following materials may cause particular problems if present in significant quantities.

Most floors are constructed with concrete containing 2Omm maximum size coarse aggregate.Theremay be logistical and practical reasons for not using larger sizes but the potential technical benefits of using them are that total water and cement content can be reduced for a given strength and consistence class.

Aggregates that do not conform to BS EN 12620 in respect of particle size distribution are frequently used in structural concrete and so should not be precluded if concrete made with them can be satisfactorily placed and finished. Fine aggregates that are gap graded may result in concrete that bleeds unacceptably and is difficult to finish. If the suitability ofa proposed aggregate is not established, advice should be sought from the concreteproducer, For example, evidence ofa satisfactory history of use in direct-finish flooring applications may be available which will allow confident use of the proposed material.

Lignite. This black or brown coal-like material ranges from very soft to hard, Particle sizes of 1 mm and above have historically led to surface defects. Lignite occurs in many inland and marine aggregate deposits. Suppliers generally have systems to reduce or remove unacceptablelevels. Some lignites are soluble and may lead to localised retardation or discoloration of the concrete. Surface pop-outs and cavities may also OCCUI: BS EN 12620Annex G4 gives limits for the lignite content ofaggregates which should not be exceeded. Where appearance is an essential feature of the concrete, aggregates should not contain materials in proportions that may adversely affect surface quality or durability. Pyrites. These iron compounds can cause surface staining but in general are less problematic in floors than lignite as they do not tend to float to the surface. Clay agglomerates.These can cause surface pop-outs in finished floors when the clay dries out. Close inspection of aggregates by the supplier should minimise this problem. BS EN 12620Annex G4 states: Whereappearance is an essential feature of the concrete, aggregates should not contain materials in proportions that may adversely affect surface quality or durability.Similarguidance is given in BS 8500AnnexA7.1and BS 8204-2clause5.3.I .
If there are concerns about impurities in an aggregate source, the concreteproducer should seek assurances from the supplier about procedures to control the problem. lnformation on the history of use should also be sought.

The following criteria are of particular relevance. The coarse aggregate should meet the requirement of a maximum Los Angeles coefficient of 40 (LA,,) or have established suitability through history of use. The flakiness index should not exceed FI, when tested in accordance with BS EN 933-3: 1997 Determination ofparticle shape - Flakiness index. Aggregate drying shrinkage value should not exceed 0.075% when tested in accordance with BS EN 1367-4: 1998 Determination of drying shrinkage.

This maximum shrinkage value excludes aggregates prone to high drying shrinkage and is the limit recognised by most contractors and clients. The water content ofconcrete has a far greater influence on moisture-relatedmovements, i.e. drying shrinkage, than differences between normal aggregates, see The ConcreteSociety Technical Report No. 34? Section 10.3.

Cements and combinations

Cement may be Portland cement or Portland cement with an addition e.g. ggbs or fly ash The following cement types have established suitability for floor construction provided that the finished concrete is adequately

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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 5
sawing.This is also dependent on the proportion of ggbs used, and the most practical approach, if problems are envisaged, is to reduce the proportion of ggbs. Conversely, the slower setting characteristics can be used to advantage at higher temperatures to lengthen the finishing window and improve the quality of finish.

cured (see the sectionlnfluence of curing: page 15). All factoryproduced cements conforming to BS E N 197-1 have a CEM prefix e.g. CEM I, CEM II/B.The equivalent combinations manufactured in the concrete mixer are prefixed with C, for example CII/B, and conform to BS 8500-2 Annex A. A list of the general-purpose cements and combinations is given in BS 8500-2Table 1.

Portland cement
This cement is suitable for most applications and is the least sensitive to the lower placing temperatures that are likely to occur in winter. During warmer weather, the shorter setting times may cause difficulty with power floating and trowelling since thefinishing windowcan be shortened significantly. Under these circumstances the contractor should consider having additional manpower and plant available for finishing, or reconsider the cement type. Portland cement has a relatively high rate of strength gain, typically achieving around 80% of final strength within seven days. Setting times are normally shorter than for other cements. It may be necessary to commence the sawing of joints less than 24 hours after casting to prevent the formation of random early thermal contraction cracks. This form of cracking is influenced by the ambient site conditions (particularly extremes of temperature), the heat of hydration of the cement and by the curing that is applied.

Portland-fly ash
This cement type is widely available in the UK. Factory-produced Portland-fly ash cements are available in some areas but more often combination cements are produced by batching Portland cement and fly ash in the mixer.The term fly ash conforming to BS EN 450 encompasses pulverised-fuelash (pfa) covered by BS 3892: Part 1, which is expected to be withdrawn in 2007.The proportion of fly ash is typically in the range 21-35%, the resulting combination having been used extensively in flooring construction. The partial replacement of the Portland cement content with fly ash has a marked effect on the properties of the concrete. The water demand will typically be reduced by some 6%, for the same slump value, Alternatively, the consistence can be increased while maintaining the same w/c ratio,The cohesiveness of the concrete is also improved.Theseeffects are due to the spherical particle shape of the material and the increase in the cement-pastevolume that results from the lower particle density of the fly ash.These characteristics can be used to improve the concrete, particularly where, for example, the locally available aggregates are angular or poorly graded. The seven-day strengths are lower than the equivalent-strength Portland cement concrete.As with concrete containing ggbs, the setting time can be extended at low temperatures and this may cause finishing difficulties. Conversely, the longer finishing window at high temperatures can be beneficial.

Sulfate resisting Portland cement

This form of cement is not widely available in bulk form in the UK. Where sulfate resistance is required, it is achieved through the appropriate cement combination in accordance with BS 8500-1 to suit the ground conditions.

Portla nd-slag cement

Combinations of Portland cement with ground granulated blastfurnace slag (ggbs) conforming to BS EN 15167 (replacing BS 6699) are widely available in the UK. In some areas, factoryproduced Portland-slag cements are also available. Although the characteristics of these cements vary widely, depending on the proportions of the two components, many high-quality floors have been successfully constructed with them.The proportion of ggbs is usually in the range 30-50Yo.The rate of setting and hardening is dependent on this proportion but, in general, setting is slower than Portland cement. At seven days, strengths are lower than the equivalent-strength Portland cement concrete.The addition of ggbs affects the properties of the fresh concrete, particularly its consistence and mobility: it is considered easier to compact and finish than concrete containing Portland cement only.
At low ambient temperatures, the use of ggbs may increase the

Portla nd-limestone cement

These cements are available in some areas and have been used in a wide range of applications. In terms of setting time and strength development these cements are very similar to Portland cement.

Portland cement with additions of silica fume or metakaolin

These are special combinations and properties depend on the proportion of silica fume (EN 13263) or metakaolin, the degree of dispersion achieved and the formulation of the concrete. The rate of strength gain and final strength are also determined by the formulation. Silica fume concrete can be produced with high flexural strengths and this may allow slab thickness to be reduced. Additionally, very high surface abrasion resistance and chemical resistance can be achieved. Specialist advice should be obtained from the concrete producer.

potential for bleeding of the concrete and extend setting times, which may cause difficulty with the timing of finishing and

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Chapter 5

Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

High proportions of ggbs or fly ash are not usually within the scope of current practice so these are not discussed here. Where the proposed cement contains higher proportions of ggbs or fly ash, the contractor should seek confirmation that the concrete will satisfy performance requirements for abrasion resistance. lfjoints are to be sawn in the floor after placing, the choice of cement may affect the timing of the sawing operation. For all cement and combination types given above it cannot be overemphasised that to achieve satisfactory abrasion resistance the effectiveness of curing is paramount. ChapIinf2j reports that concretes based on cements with additions have significantly lower abrasion resistance than those containing only Portland cement, if concrete is air-cured only. When concrete was effectively cured, the abrasion resistance was satisfactory. Contractors,when selecting the cement to be used in the flooring concrete, should, in consultation with the concrete producer, consider the ambient temperature,relative humidity and site exposure conditions that are anticipated at the time of construction. The range of cements currently available has a spectrum of performance in terms of temperaturesensitivity, setting time and strength gain. These characteristics are discussed below. Therates ofstrength gain described in the following commentary are typical for test cubes manufactured and cured in accordance to BS EN 12390-2.However, in-situ strength development in floor slabs is influenced by a number of factors, including effectiveness of curing, temperature,slab thickness, cement type and content.

A prime requirement of mix designs for flooring concrete is to keep the water content as low as possible (see Chapter 4 Concretespecification, page 5). This frequently necessitates the use of admixtures to modih the properties of fresh concrete and to avoid large increases in the cement content and, consequently,the cost of the concrete.
Where concrete with a slump class 52 or 53 is to be used, the cement content may be significantly reduced by using admixture types (a), (b) or (c). Conversely,where flow class F5 is required, i.e. 560-620 mm flow diameter,admixtures (a), fb) or (c) can be used to increase consistence without increasing either the total water content or cement content. In certain conditions,some admixtures retard the hydration of the cement. This extends the setting time of the concrete and can significantly delay finishing operations. Theseeffects can increase at low temperatures, and when combination cements are used - see the section Cements and combinations,page8. Admixtures are now available that are specifically formulated for flooring applications,and have a minimal effect on setting rimes. In warm weather, or at high ambient temperatures, admixtures that delay setting times may be used to extend the time for placing, levelling and finishing. However,strict control on dosage and mixing is needed to ensure that concrete sets in the same order as it was placed, thus avoiding differential setting. The choice of admixture should be made with due consideration of site conditions and the contractorsrequirements. It must be accepted that variations in weather conditionsmay force changes to be made to the concrete or construction operations at short notice.

Admixtures for flooring concrete should conform to BS EN 934-2, Concrete admixtures - Definitions and requirements. The following types can be beneficial in flooring concrete:
(a) water reducers (b) mid-range water reducers (c) superplasticisers.

Mixing water
Mixing water should conform to BS EN 1008 Mixing water for concrete.This Standard includes potable water and establishes the suitability of water that is recovered or reclaimed from processes in the concrete industry or where water from nonmains sources such as boreholes is in use.

Appendix AGuidance on the specification and use of admixtures in concrete for industrial floors, page 21, gives comprehensive information for this application.


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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 5

Steel, macro-synthetic and microsynthetic fibres

The use of steel and macro-synthetic fibres in flooring concrete has increased significantly with the development of fast-track construction and so-called jointless floors. Micro-fibres are not normally used on their own, although may be combined by some suppliers with steel or macro-synthetic fibres. For further information refer toThe Concrete Society Technical Report TR34") and the ACIFC document Steel Fibre Reinforced Concretelndusrrial Ground For a more detailed assessment of the use of steel and macro-synthetic fibres, Concrete Society Technical Reports TR63(41 and TR6F respectively, should be consulted. Manufacturers and suppliers will also give specific advice and additionally some suppliers will provide a bespoke design service.

Figure 4 - Warehousefloorin operation


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Chapter 6

Concrete for industrial floors -Guidance on specification and mix design

Concrete mix design

The majority of concrete will be ordered through a ready-mixed supplier as a designated or designed concrete and hence the mix design is the supplier's responsibility based on information given by the specifier. However, it is useful to outline which factors need careful consideration when designing a concrete that is easy to place and finish, as well as meeting the specification. that a 1 Omm fraction of 30-40% is suitable with most aggregates. The surface and shape characteristics of crushed and rounded aggregates vary widely and therefore the necessary fine aggregate content will vary. Concretes should be designed to have sufficient mortar to obtain
a satisfactory finish. High fine aggregate contents may result in

too thick a surface layer of mortar and this will increase the risk of crazing and surface delamination in service. For pumpable concrete, the fine content should be sufficient to ensure a reasonably cohesive concrete that can be finished as required.

Co nsi stence
The concrete should be sufficiently cohesive to avoid segregation of the coarse and fine constituents a t the specified consistence, particularly at the upper consistence limit. Additionally the free water content should be as low as possible, although not less than 160 litres/m3.Thew/c ratio should not exceed 0.55.
A higher slump or flow for a given strength or maximum free w/c ratio can be achieved by increasing the cement and water content of the concrete.The use of admixtures to reduce water content will reduce drying shrinkage but contractors are sometimes reluctant to choose this method due to historical problems of achieving effective mixing and dispersion of admixtures. However, it should be recognised that the frequency of admixturerelated problems has reduced significantly due to improvement in the control and dispensing of admixtures together with advances in admixture technology.

Optimising concrete design is necessary because the majority of specialist flooring contractorsplace concrete at slumps in excess of 100mm.Higher consistence classes or targets necessitate some adjustment to the concrete design to ensure that the concrete remains suficiently cohesive to avoid segregation of the solid constituents and to compensate for the higher water content. This is usually achieved by adding sand, cement and water.However, increasing the mortar fraction also increases drying shrinkage and can affect the finishing characteristics. The total quantity of mortar in the concrete has a significant effect on the quality of the finished floor surface. Too little mortar may result in a dimpled surface or loose coarse aggregateparticles or both, while too much may cause crazing, 'blisters,' delamination and increased risk of drying shrinkage cracking. The following rnix design options can be considered but other factors such as drying shrinkage, thermal movements and abrasion resistance requirements must be considered. (Refer to The Concrete Society Technical Report TR34'),Sections 10.3 to 10.5.) Increase the cement and water content in proportion to maintain the w/c ratio at the required consistence and fine aggregate content. Incorporate fly ash in the rnix design. Use an admixture to increase the consistence or to reduce the total water content. Use a balanced Combination of the above. When any type of fibre is to be included, there may also be scope for a small reduction in fines content, typically 1 -2%, since fibres increase cohesion. By ensuring that the concrete remains consistently homogeneous at the point ofplacing and at the specified consistence, a dense closed-surface finish is usually achieved.

Fine aggregate content

The fine aggregate and cement content should be such that the concrete remains homogeneous after placing and compaction. It must also allow a sufficient, but not excessive, surface mortar layer to form, which can be levelled and finished to the required standard. However, the mortar content should be kept as low as possible to minimise shrinkage. The fine aggregate content that is selected depends on the physical characteristics of the aggregates and the required consistence of the concrete.The combination of coarse and fine aggregate should be such that a continuous particle size grading is achieved. Gap-graded aggregates may cause concrete to lack cohesion and be prone to bleeding. Concrete batched using coarse aggregates with a maximum size of 2Omm that has an excess of lOmm size particles will necessitate higher fine aggregate contents. It is preferable therefore to reduce the lOmm fraction of the coarse aggregate towards the lower end of BS EN 12620 conformity limits. Experience shows


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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 6

To achieve a dense closed finish, a minimum free water content m3is likely to be necessary; lower water oses of admixtures may result in a concrete of the required consistence but prevent the formation of a mortar layer at the surface, due to the increased viscosity of the concrete. It should be stressed that this is a minimum amount of water; the particular physical characteristics of the aggregate higher water content.This may not apply to proprietary concrete formulations that have low water contents. In this case specialist advice on handling is normally given to the or by the concrete producer. Figure 5 shows a typical compacring and levelling operation using a laser screed.

Figure 5 - Compacting and levelling concrete using a laser screed

The quality of the finish will also depend on thebleedcharacteristics of the concrete. Ex ve bleeding may result in a weak surface and increased risk of crazing and drying shrinkage. Conversely, if little OF no bleeding takes place, the surface of the aturely, before trowelling and floating are ed bleeding, particularly at a slow rate, which continues after the surface has effectively been closed by floating and trowelling, may result in sub-surface voids or hollows.This in turn may increase the risk of localised delamination. The rate at which bleeding occurs is determined by many factors: for instance, the use of g r fly ash (particularly at low temperatures),the grading of the aggregates, the cement type and its setting time, the use of retarding admixtures, admixtures that entrain air, and low ambient temperatures.


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Chapter 7

Concrete for industrial floors -Guidance on specification and mix design

In-situ concrete properties

Therma movement
The hydratia..of cement is an exothermic c. .emical reaction and the temperature of concrete can rise significantlyafter setting. The temperature peaks 18-36 hours after placing, depending on the cement type used. After the peak temperature has been reached, the temperature of the floor slab may fall rapidly due to the high ratio of surface area tavolume.This causes the concrete to contract rapidly and the risk of the formation of cracks is increased since its tensile strength has not fully developed. It is therefore of paramount importance that any movement joints are sawn as soon as practicable after slab laying and finishing to release stress build-up. In severe conditions,the outer cuts should be sawn first, working in towards the middle of the slab. The cement type and content will influence the timing of the sawing operation.The peak temperature in the concrete slab will increase as the total cement content increases, so it is beneficial, particularly when the ambient temperature is high, to keep the cement content close to the specified minimum. Generally, concrete made using only Portland cement (CEM I) needs to be sawn earlier than concrete containing combinations with ggbs or fly ash since the combinations generally result in a lower and later temperature peak than EM I only.Thus during summer it may be beneficial to use combinations as the window for sawing will be longer; conversely, during winter, the shorter window with CEM I may be more practical.

Drying shrinkage should be considered at the mix design and planning stage. Many drying shrinkage problems are directly attributable to high water contents. The use ofadmixtures can enable the requirements for high consistence to be met while avoiding problems associated with drying shrinkage. Keeping a constant w/c ratio will increase consistence. The consequence of adding water to increase consistence is to reduce strength and abrasion resistance unless cement is also added. It is the increase in water that causes the shrinkage, not the cement as such. At constant slump or flow, cement can be added (sand reduced) without increasing water.If this is done, shrinkage will in fact reduce. Increasing the cement content while maintaining a constant free w/c ratio will lead to increased drying shrinkage. Sawingjoints will not stop drying shrinkage movement, but will concentrate this shrinkage movement at acceptable locations. The use of fibres or fabric reinforcement can also control, as opposed to prevent, the effects of moisture-related movements'3 5J. For further information regarding thermal movement and drymg shrinkage refer to Technical Report TR34Y Figure 6 shows a finished floor being surveyed for regularity, the methodology is covered in TR 34.

Drying shrinkage
Drying shrinkage can be reduced to an acceptable level but not eliminated completely.In order to minimise drying shrinkage: keep the free water content as low as possible, but see the section'Finishability:page 13 select aggregates in accordance with the section 'Aggregates: Page 8 minimise restraints to slab movement and provide effective movementjoints where applicable.

Figure 6 - Floor level surveying


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Concrete for industrialfloors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 7
Influence of cu
The necessity for curing has been discussed in the sections Cements and combinations: page 8 and Abrasion resistance: page 15. Most floors are cured with high-efficiencyspray-on membranes, and these have a significant beneficialeffect on the durability of the floor surface, improving abrasion resistance and reducing crazing. In flooring construction,early curing is not normally required to reduce or control plastic shrinkage or plastic settlement since trowelling operations usually mean that these phenomena do not occur. Where thermoplastic sheet or tile floor coverings are to be installed, it should be noted that floors which have been treated with spray-on membranes will take a considerable time to reach the relative humidity level of 75% specified in BS 8203: 2001 Code ofpractice for installation of resilient floor coverings.This period will probably be greater than six months and may exceed one year. Therefore, rather than using spray-on membranes -see Figure 7-, an alternative method of curing may be more appropriate, such as covering with plastic sheeting. Effective curing is best achieved by using spray-on curing systems such as 90% efficiency resin-based compounds or acrylic sealers. Good curing can be effected using polythene sheeting, but the pace of construction is such that undisturbed curing for sufficient time is unlikelyto be a practical option.

rasion res isIan

For direct-finish concrete, the quality and abrasion resistance of the surface depends on a sufficient cement content minimum of 325kg /m3,a free w/c ratio not greater than 0.55, the quantity and quality of the finishing work, and, equally important, the efficiency of the curing. Proprietary toppings and dry-shake materials are available, some of which have Agrement Certificates. These are specifically designed to give high abrasion resistance.The quality of workmanship and curing are of paramount importanceto achieve the best possible performancewith these materials. Secondary factors that influencesurface durability are the overall quality of the concrete and, to a lesser extent, the propertiesof the aggregate. Historically, problems have occurred where joint arrises have been damaged by forklift truck wheels, particularly where concrete below compressive strength class C32/40 has been specified.This problem with constructionjoints can be avoided by the use of proprietary steel armoured joint systems. The fine aggregate for direct-finish concrete floors should not contain soft or friable particles.
Refer to BS 8204-2 and Technical Report TR34(]for further guidance on abrasion resistance.

Concrete that is prone to excessive bleeding may have poor abrasion resistance a s a result of very fine material migrating with the bleed water to the slab surface. This fine material can form a weak laitance at the top surface, which will break down when normal traffic commences. Impurities, such as soft lignite and shells, which are directly below the wearing surface, may result in damage to the wearing surface when in service. When damageoccurs, as the resulr ofsuch surface defects, normal use of the floor may cause the damaged area to increase in size.

7 1
-r- -.


Figure 7 - Spray application of curing compound

Compaction of concrete
It is essential for short- and long-term durability that concrete is adequately compacted during construction. In large-area construction methods where high slump or flowing concretes are used, this is rarely a problem; however, due attention should be given to compaction around joints, box-out details and adjacent to walls and columns.The latter areas normally need to be compacted using a poker vibrator.

Further informationon moisture in concretefloors is now available; refer to The Concrete Society Project Report No. 461 Moisture in concrete and the performance of impermeable floor coverings.


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Chapter 8

Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Batching and predelivery of concrete

The concrete producer should have accreditation by a thirdparty quality assurance body e.g. QSRMC or BSI. The batching should ensure that the materials are fully mixed to produce homogeneousconcrete. Detailed batching procedures should be used to ensure consistency from batch to batch.The mixing time, whether the process is wet or dry batch, should be consistent. For central mixing plants, the mixer manufacturer's recommendations should be followed. For truck mixers, this is usually 6-1 0 minutes, but this depends on the design of the mixer drum and its mixing speed (typically 1&14rev/min). Failure to dispersethe admixture completely may lead to pockets in a concrete batch containing excessive concentrations of the admixture.This may cause localised areas of concrete to be retarded and have excessive percentage of entrained air. It is recommended that cement should come into contact with a proportion of the mixing water before it is added to prevent the admixture affecting the initial formation of cement hydrates and the possibility of excessively rapid hydration. The batching and mixing sequence should be consistent to minimise variation between batches. if it is intended to add further materials to the truck mixer at site, the additional mixing time is best established by trials and then agreed between parties as the standard.

Themajority of ready-mixed concreteplants in the UK employ the dry batch process, using truck mixers, which have been designed to mix emcienr/y The main difference between central mixer plants and dry batch plants is the higher outputs that can be achieved with central mixing. Well maintained truck mixers will produce high-quality and consistently homogeneous concrete.
It must be emphasised that the mixing times referred to in the section 'Batching,' page 16 are minimum recommended


rl "

times. Figure 8 - Trucksqueuing to deliver concrete Historically, inadequate dispersion of admixtures has been a key problem for flooring contractors and has resulted in many contractors being deflected from using these potentially beneficial materials.Admixture manufacturers advise that the cement be wettedprior to the addition ofadmixrures in order to avoid theproblems discussed above. Appendix A, page 22 gives informationon batching and mixing ofadmixtures including site addition. Concreteproducers accredited by third-party quality assurance schemes are required to have work instructions for batching and mixing. These will have been assessed for effectiveness.

All batches should be visually checked for consistence and appearance prior to despatch from the concrete plant. It is also advisable to agree with the producer that concrete will be mixed at full mixing speed for a minimum period of 2 minutes at site, before sampling or discharging. Figure 8 shows mixer trucks queuing before discharge. When the concrete includes admixtures it is essential that full and even dispersion is achieved during mixing. Normally the additionof the admixture is made at the same time as the addition of water to ensure complete dispersion.


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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 8

Pre-delivery plann ing

It is of prime importance that, before concrete is first supplied to a site, the contractor and producer liaise, plan and agree the general conduct of the project. In particular, they should:

agree the concrete specification and sources of materials agree the concrete design criteria for the method of placing and construction establish'call off'procedures and access routes to site determine the maximum concrete volume for each pour and delivery rate confirm the location of the ready-mixed concrete plants from which supply will be made (consider effects of variations in consistence and setting time between concrete from different plant s) agree procedures for sampling and testing of concrete agree conformity criteria (see Chapter 9'Conformity and identity testing: page 18) arrange procedures for addition of any admixtures, fibres or water a t site identify key representatives for each party and establish communication methods and channels agree procedures for dealing with breakdowns or interruptions to supply make provision for weather changes identify how to contact key personnel, both contractors and producers agree arrangements for washing down truck-mixer discharge chutes on site.


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Chapter 9

Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Conformity and identity testing

Conform ity
The approach to concrete conformity and testing has been fundamentally changed with the introduction of BS EN 206-1 and the complementary British Standard BS 8500. Conformity testing and evaluation are processes that are carried out either by the concrete producer or by a third party on his behalf.The producer is responsible for the concrete design process that establishes the required properties and is also obliged to operate production control systems and procedures. The properties that the concrete producer is required to control for designed concrete, in accordance with the BS 8500, that are relevant to concrete for use in industrial floors are: compressive strength waterkement ratio cement content consistence class or target value for either slump or flow chloride content of the concrete. Where a prescribed concrete is specified, the following are subject to conformity control: cement type and class consistence class or target value for either slump or flow types of aggregate type of admixture or addition if required sources of concrete constituents,where specified constituent proportions. In the event of non-conformity,the producer is obliged to take the following actions: Check test results and, if invalid, take action to eliminate errors. If non-conformity is confirmed, take corrective actions including a management review of relevant production control procedures. Where there is a confirmed non-conformity with the specification that was not obvious a t delivery, give notice to the specifier and user in order to avoid any consequential damage. Record all actions on the above items.

The user or specifier should be aware that the producer is required to veri@that the description of the concretegiven on the delivery ticket is correct. BS fN206- I states: "Conformity control is an integral part ofproduction control'! For a producer to declare conformity to BS 8500-2, he is required to establish systems for production control that include selection of materials,concrete design, concrete production, inspection and tests, the use of data arising from testing and calibration, and conformity control. Whereas the producer is required to inform the specified user of any non-conformity that was not obvious at the time ofdelivery,non-conformities obvious at the time of delivery are either accepted or rejected there and then. Examples ofself-apparent non-conformity at the time of delivery are consistence,colour and aggregate size.

Identity testing (strength)

Where a contractor or a third party instructed by the contractor, client, engineer or architect carries out sampling and testing of the concrete, it is called identity testing.The procedure and conformance criteria for determining whether a defined volume of concrete comes from a conforming concrete of the specified strength class are outlined in BS EN 206-1 Annex E, with clarification in BS 8500-1 Annex A.10 and Annex B.5. The contractor must be aware that the measured strengths of test cubes are intended to exceed the specified characteristic strength by a design margin - see the Section'Strength: page 6. This margin is necessary to allow for plant and material variations and to ensure an acceptably low probability of strength conformity failures. However, the need to meet the specified requirementsfor maximum w/c ratio and minimum cement content may result in a concrete with a higher strength than is needed to satisfy strength conformity criteria.Therefore, high average strengths should not be regarded as a sign of poor control, but an indication that the producer is conforming to all aspects of the specification.The converse is also applicable where cubes are attaining the required margin but not their true potential.This may indicate poor control.The allowable criteria are given in Appendix B, page 23.


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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Chapter 9

If the high average concrete strength results in dificulties for the contractor, the cause and the options should be discussed with the producer. It would not normally be prudent to relax the specified maximum w/c ratio, but a change of cement type could reduce the strength while still satisfying specification requirements.If the cement content is the main factor, then once again, a change in cement type may help. The responsibility for demonstrating conformity of concrete supplied in accordance with the Standard for concrete, BS EN 206- I , is placed upon the concretesupplier.BS 8500- I strongly recommends that the producer holds third-party certification, e.g. QSRMC or BSI to provide an independent audit on conformity. Specifiers ofconcrete should therefore have a high degree of confidence in the material's conformity. The contractor and the producer must cooperate over sampling and testing requirements.This will avoid wasting manpower and also disputes about conformity.

A practical way of dealing with this is for the producer and contractor to agree a method that enables the consistence to be adjusted at site. Rules must be agreed on the quantity of water required to increase the consistence from the measured initial value to that specified.A suitably experienced person should supervise this procedure.This should ensure that the maximum specified w/c ratio or the w/c ratio required for 28-day strength, whichever is the controlling value, is not exceeded. After water is added, the concrete should be remixed for at least 2 minutes at full speed to ensure dispersion.

Id entity test i n g (con si st e n ce)

Identity testing for consistence (slump, flow) is carried out to the same limits as those applicable to the concrete producer. Concrete producers normally undertake to supply concrete with consistence conforming toTable 18 of BS EN 206-1.The permitted slump or flow range can, as a result, be wider than that consistent with the contractor's placing method and finishing requirements, particularly since samples for a slump test are frequently taken from the initial discharge from the truck mixer and therefore wider limits apply. BS 8500 Annex B provides the identity testing criteria, depending on the method of sampling (spot or composite). It should also be noted that measured slump test value is reported to the nearest 10mm. The allowable limits are given in Appendix B, page 23.

Contractors frequently stipulate a narrower slump or flow range than that given in the Standard. This may cause some dificulty for producers since reductions in slump occur between concreteplant and site due firstly to water loss by evaporation, and secondly as the result of stiffening and absorption ofwater by aggregates.Traffk delays will exacerbate this.


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Concrete for industrial floors -Guidance on specification and mix design

1. 2. The Concrete Society. Concrete lndustrial Ground Floors - A Guide to Design and Construction.The Concrete Society, Camberley, 2003, Technical Report 34 (Third Edition). Chaplin R. G. The Influence ofggbs andpfa Additions and Other Factors on the Abrasion Resistance oflndustrial Concrete Floors. British Cement Association, Camberley, 1990. Association of Concrete lndustrial Flooring Contractors. Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete lndustrial Ground Floors.The Concrete Society, Camberley, 1999. The Concrete Society. Guidance on the Use of Macro-synthetic-fibre-reinforced Concrete.The Concrete Society, Camberley, 2007,Technical Report 63. The Concrete Society. Guidance for the Design ofsteel-frbre-reinforced Concrete.The Concrete Centre, Camberley, 2007, Technical Report 65. The Concrete Society. Moisfure in Concrete and the Performance oflmpermeable Floor Coverings.The Concrete Society, Camberley, 2004, Project Report No. 4.




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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specification and mix design

Appendix A

Guidance on the specification and Ise of admixtures in concrete for industrial floors
I nt roduction
Admixtures, and particularly water-reducing admixtures, can offer substantial benefits in flooring concrete by reducing the free water content while maintaining appropriate consistence for rapid placement and compaction.This reduces drying shrinkage in the concrete and hence cracking and curling of the slab. Other types of admixture can further reduce shrinkage, speed the setting to allow earlier finishing or can aid the finishing of flooring concrete.
As with all admixture applications, careful selection of admixture type and grade is essential to obtaining a satisfactory result. Correct addition and mixing are also key to obtaining a uniform concrete.These guidelines are intended to assist the supplier and user of flooring concrete to optimise the advantages from the use of admixtures.

Admixtures based on, or modified with, the following are likely to enhance retardation and should be avoided in flooring concrete, especially under cold conditions and where fly ash or ggbs are being used:

hydroxycarboxylic acids sa Its carbohydrate-based polymers (hydroxylatedpolymers, corn syrups and malto-dextrins) molasses.

Other admixtures
Other admixtures that may have special applications in concrete floors include:

Water-red ucing admixtures

Admixtures whose major active ingredient is based on the following materials have been found most suitable for use in concrete floors.They disperse easily through the concrete and maximise the water reduction. In hot weather some additional retardation may be necessary with these admixtures.These materials are:
0 0
0 0

set-accelerating admixtures that can bring about quicker stiffening and allow earlier finishing, especially in cold conditions shrinkage-reducingadmixtures that can reduce cracking due to drying shrinkage and cut down on the number of joints. finishing aids that can be incorporated into dispersing admixtures of the types indicated above.

Other admixtures that may cause problems with concrete floors are noted below.

sulphonated naphthalene formaldehyde condensates sulphonated melamine formaldehyde condensates polycarboxylatedethers.

The polycarboxylatedether types have proved particularly beneficial as they give exceptional uniformity of dispersion and minimal retardation of set. Admixtures based on sugar-reduced lignosulphonatescan be suitable for floors if additional care is exercised over mix design, uniformity of mixing and the possibility of greater retardation. This is especially the case in cold weather and/or when fly ash or ggbs is being used.

Air-entraining agents should be avoided in floors that will be power finished as the entrained air can be one of the causes of surface delamination after hardening. Some admixtures may cause an increase in the level of air in the concrete and should, therefore, be used with caution check with manufacture.


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Appendix A
Batc hing admixtures
When batching admixtures, the following comments should be noted.
It is desirable that all the components of the concrete, including admixtures, are mixed a t the batching plant.Where this procedure is not adopted, site addition must be under the direct supervision of a concrete technologist or engineer, should be restricted to the admixtures detailed in the section 'Admixtures', page 10 and to the guidelines for site addition covered in Chapter 8'Batching and pre-delivery of concrete', page 16. Prior to supply of concrete, the contractor and the concrete supplier should agree the admixture type, admixture addition time and method, concrete mixing and consistence checking procedure.Further guidance on this can be found in the section 'Admixtures',page 10 of this Guide It is essential that flooring concrete is uniformly and consistently mixed.To achieve this generally requires greater attention to the mixing procedure and duration. It is essential that only mixers and mixer trucks with blades and drums in good condition are used and are loaded within recommended capacity for mixing. After batching, sufficient mixing must be given to ensure uniform dispersion of admixture and other materials. It is essential that, during addition, the admixture does not come into contact with dry cement. The concrete will only have uniformity of consistence and set across the slab if there is consistency in the order and timing of the concrete batching sequence and this is particularly important when admixtures are being used.

Concrete for industrial floors -Guidance on specification and mix design

the effect on set time of ambient temperature when the concrete is delivered. checking for uniformity of consistence before and after the addition of admixtures, fibres, water or other materials calibration of dosing equipment, uniformity of dosing, dosage rate, batching sequence and mixing time recording any materials, including admixtures and water, added at site and the time of addition, consistence before and after addition, quantity added and additional fast mixing time consideration of the effect on setting time due to batchto-batch variation in admixture dosage and time of admixture addition after original mixing.

Factors affecting placing and finishing characteristics

The following factors should be considered before starting a job.

A CAA Guidance Document of recommended practice for addition of admixture to concrete is available from the Cement Admixture Association at the address shown below.

Take account of the likely weather and the potential for a significant change from the expected ambient temperature on the day of concreting. Ensure specified consistence a t the time of placing will be compatible with the placing method. Account for consistence loss resulting from the use of fibres, delays in delivery and placing. Large batch-to-batch variation in consistence and late additions of water can both affect setting time and should therefore be avoided. The compatibility and effect on setting of the concrete must be determined when dry-shake and colour systems are used as they may also contain undeclared admixtures.

This guidance was produced by a VWAClFCjoint taskgroup which met as a subgroup of the A C K Concrete Mix Design andAdmixtures Working Party.

Site addition of admixtures

For general information on admixtures contact: If admixtures are being added at site then the following points should be borne in mind.

The addition of any concrete component including water at the site is not recommended unless it is actively supervised by a qualified concrete technologist or engineer. It should also be restricted to the addition of those types of admixture detailed in the section 'Admixtures', page 10. Admixture addition at the plant followed by a further addition on site is more likely to cause inconsistency than a single addition a t one location. If circumstances, such as hot weather or differential delays in delivery, dictate that admixture addition is best made on site, a written procedure must be agreed and implemented by all parties.The procedure should include:

John Dransfield, Secretary Cement Admixtures Association 38Tilehouse Green Lane Knowle West Midlands B93 9EY TeVFax: 01564 776362 Web: www,admixtures,org.uk


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Concrete for industrial floors - Guidance on specificationand mix design

Appendix B

Identity testing criteria

Strength criteria
The test result used in the assessment is the average of the results of two or more specimens - normally cubes in the UK cast from one sample for testing a t the same age. Where the range of test values (a result is the average of two cubes from the same sample) is more than 15% of the mean, the results shall be disregarded unless an investigation reveals an acceptable reason to justify disregarding an individual test value. Samples should be taken in accordance with the composite method in BS EN 12350-1 and represent a defined volume of concrete. For a floor slab a defined volume could be the concrete delivered to a site within a fixed period, or a particular slab area, but not more than 400 m3.
Slump class Slump range: mm

Maximum allowable deviation on range limit: mm Spot sample Composite sample

-1 0, +20
-1 0, +30



53 54


50-90 100-1 50 160-21 0 2220


-20,+30 -20, +30 -20, +30

1 I

-10, +20


-1 0, +20
-1 0, +20



-10, -

Table 62 - Identity criteria for slump class, BS 8500- 1

Target slump: mm

Maximum allowable deviation on target value: mm

BS 8500-1 Annex B.5 states that each defined volume should preferably be represented by six test results or if a volume contains more than six test results, they should be split into groups of six for assessment.The results should represent a short chronological period to minimise the risk of including a step change in quality. Conformity is thus judged for the whole of the defined volume of concrete. Concrete is deemed to come from a conforming population if both the criteria in Table B1 below are satisfied.
Number of test results for comPressivestrength from defined volume Criterion 1


540 50-90
2 100


-30,+40 -40,+50


I 1 I

-20, +30 -30, +40 -40, +50


Table 63 - Identity criteria for target slump, BS 8500- 1

Flow class

Flow range: mm
5340 350-41 0 420-480 490-550 560-620 2630

Maximum allowable deviation on range limit: mm Spot sample Composite sample

-1 40, +40 -1 40, +30

Criterion 2 N/mm2

F1 F2 F3 F4


Mean of results: N/mm2

I Anv individualtest result:

z f<,- 4

-30, +40 -30, +40 -30, +40 -30, +40 -30,


-20, +30 -20, +30 -20, +30 -20, +30 -20, -





z f?,- 4


Where fck is the concrete characteristic strength i.e.the strength class

Table 61 - ldentity criteria for compressive strength, BS EN 206-1 Annex B

value: mm

Consistence criteria
Consistence is either specified as a class or target. Although a supplier will endeavour to provide the required consistence, deviations in production and sampling apply.Tables 82 to B5 below give the maximum allowable deviation based on a spot sample taken from the initial discharge of a ready-mixedconcrete truck and a compositesample taken throughout the load.
Table 65 - Identity criteria for target flow, BS 8500- 1


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Good Concrete Guide

Concrete for industrial floors

Guidance on specification and mix design
This updated guide provides practical guidance on best practice far specification, design, production and delivery of concrete for direct 1cnithed industrial floors constructed by large area pour m e t W Also mlewmt Ocn any large interior floor construction method. Covers concrete spacffication, materials, mix design, in-situ concrete behaviour and properties, mixing and delivery, and identity testing. Appendices summarise admixture types and their effects on concrete properties, and the criteria for identity (acceptance) testing.

ISBN 1-901482-38-4

CS 127
Good Concrete Guides give concise, "best practice" guidanceon materials, design and construction.
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