When it comes to ordering concrete in London and the South East, prices can vary. This is typically to do with the quality of concrete each supplier is offering. Cheaper grades of concrete tends to use recycled aggregate materials, reducing the quality of the final product, while you will usually pay more for quality-assured concrete.
In this article, we explore each type and explain why we believe concrete intended for structural work should always meet strict quality standards.
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How is concrete made?
Concrete is made from a mix of aggregates (sand and stone), cement powder and water. It is the mix design that determines how much of each raw material will go into the concrete. By adjusting the ratios of the materials, concrete suppliers can produce different types of concrete to meet your needs – for example, “kerb mix” concrete or high-strength concrete.
Quality-assured concrete uses high-quality, separated aggregates
IQuality-assured concrete providers like Rapid Readymix use volumetric mixers that feature separated hoppers, which are loaded with separated high-end aggregates. This means that we can control the exact amounts of sand and stone that travel down the conveyor belt, in line with the mix design specifications we receive from the customer. The conveyor belt is also split, keeping the aggregates separate until the moment the aggregates are mixed with the water and cement.
Quality-assured concrete suppliers have complete control over the concrete mix. They can select the precise ratio of sand, stone, cement and water, in line with the customer’s needs.
The concrete is also regularly tested to make sure it complies with British Trading Standards, making sure the customer is provided with a product that is reliable, long-lasting and high-quality.
Cheap concrete uses ballast mix
Cheaper volumetric concrete suppliers don’t use premium aggregates, and don’t separate them. They use a random mix of recycled sand, stone and crushed old concrete, known as ballast. This is all loaded into the volumetric mixer’s hoppers together. Because of this, the operator has far less control of the mix and does not know the ratios of sand to stone being mixed.
The operator has very little control over the concrete, making it difficult to achieve an accurate mix design. The only control they have is choosing more or less cement or water.
In such cases, the concrete is not tested for quality, as the suppliers do not need to comply with any trading standards. It is uncertain what quality of concrete the customer will get.
Cheap concrete doesn’t necessarily save you money
While cheap concrete may cost you about £100 less initially for the pour, it may end up costing you more in the long run. Concrete made with a ballast mix is fine for basic cavity filling, but concrete that is used in structural works should always meet British Standard specifications.
Rapid Readymix is BSI-certified
Rapid Readymix is a BSI-certified supplier and you only pay for the concrete you use. This is just one of the benefits of our volumetric mixers – there is also no waste and multiple mix deisgns can be delivered at once.
We supply building contractors in London and the South East with high-quality, cost-effective, BSI-certified concrete. To book a delivery, contact us at Rapid Readymix today.