Shotcrete Malpractices That Are Costing You Money

September 22, 2022


Although shotcrete services have become immensely popular amongst architects, contractors, and construction project owners, the rules and practices that govern the shotcrete process remain relatively unknown amongst the general public. As a result, people falsely believe that applying shotcrete is very easy and anyone can do it. The latter gave birth to numerous bad practices that not only destroy the quality of the structure in question but also cause immeasurable financial loss to the ones who undertake the projects.

In contrast to the widespread misconception, shotcrete is not only about mixing water and concrete and randomly shooting it toward a structure. This uncalculated and thoughtless activity reaps nothing but unpleasant consequences and is a waste of valuable resources like time, money, and effort. Hence, simply knowing how to operate a nozzle or shotcrete machine is not enough to execute the process efficiently. In truth, a fair amount of theoretical knowledge with adequate training and due diligence are prerequisites for successfully completing any shotcrete endeavour.

Evidently, only a highly reputed and reliable shotcrete service provider like SprayForce Concrete can undertake your shotcrete project while maintaining the required care with utmost commitment to quality and professionalism. Sadly, there is no guarantee that all shotcrete service providers in the industry have what it takes to handle such projects.

Over the years, we have encountered numerous clients that have shared their experiences with former service providers who have undertaken horrendous practices in the name of saving resources. What you as project owners must understand is that the sole goal of some unreliable shotcrete contractors is to earn as much as possible within the shortest time. Thus, the responsibility rests upon you to ensure that you are being provided with the right services.

In order to help you understand the scenario better, this blog will discuss the prevalent shotcrete malpractices in the construction industry.

Manually Applying The Mixture In The Name Of Shotcrete

Unfortunately, project owners still do not have a basic understanding of what shotcrete services actually stand to mean. A client once approached us with a concern that for a particular project, the mixture began drying, so the contractor that had undertaken the project manually applied the mixture to the structure. To our horror, the contractor had claimed that manual application is not a problem and that they ‘do it all the time’.

Simply put, once it is done by hand, the process is no longer shotcrete. In fact, shotcrete actually means ‘shooting concrete,’ so how can the scenario above be accurate?

If a contractor tries to cut such corners with you, beware that you will be getting nothing but inferior quality results.

Read Also: Misconceptions About Architectural And Structural Shotcrete

Disregarding The Water-Cement Ratio

Shotcrete services are used to undertake highly technical and sensitive tasks like fixing bridges, finishing tunnels, and more. Thus, mixing water and cement is not like a bread’s dough whose texture can be tested by dipping your fingers in it. In order to ensure the best results and optimum durability, a strict water-cement ratio must be maintained. Shotcrete often has four parts sand by weight with roughly 7% water by mass of dry components and one part cement.

If a contractor does not use this ratio, the volume of retardants and accelerants will also be affected and hard to determine. Ultimately, incorrect rationing will lead to deficient structures.

Deploying Unskilled And Undertrained Labour

As emphasized earlier, nozzlemen need proper training and theoretical education before undertaking any shotcrete tasks. Regrettably, some shotcrete service providers dismiss the importance of adequate training. They believe that a mere ability to shoot shotcrete is enough, and there isn’t a need for technique.

If you are not careful with the selection of a prospective contractor, all your money might go down the drain owing to substandard quality work due to poor workmanship.

Using The Wrong Sized Air Compressors

Another technical aspect contractors usually ignore is the size of their air compressors. The latter plays a huge role in the overall success of the task because undersized compressors will lead to less durable outcomes. The compressor you use must be able to deliver 250 CFM for wet mix and 700 CFM for dry mix.

Overlooking The Importance Of Curing

Curing is just as important for shotcrete processes as it is for traditional concrete pouring methods. Therefore, do not be misled by those who tell you that curing is not necessary for shotcrete. Negligence in this regard may lead to irreversible regrets in the future.

Dismissing The Required Air Temperature Ranges

Last but not least, it is crucial to remember that shotcrete processes are effective in temperature ranges between 5°C and 37°C. If such a temperature range is unattainable, you must add the right quantity of retardants or accelerants.

Read Also: The Effects Of Ground Temperature On Shotcrete

About SprayForce Concrete

Boasting a decade of experience, state-of-the-art equipment, and a highly qualified workforce, we are a COR-certified shotcrete company serving Calgary and surrounding areas. Learn more about SprayForce Concrete and our commitment to quality.

Need high-end shotcrete services? Contact us now.

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