Volumetric or Ready-Mix Concrete| Site-Mixed Concrete

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What is the Difference Between Volumetric and Ready-Mix Concrete?

Any construction job will depend on concrete but the type of concrete you use can have an impact on you hitting your deadline, maintaining your profit margin, and delivering a high-quality build. If you're having concrete delivered to your site, your choice will come down to volumetric or ready-mix concrete. Both offer a great product, but with very different styles of production and delivery.

Let's take a closer look at the differences between them.


What is Ready-Mix Concrete?

Ready-mixed concrete is produced to order in a batch plant, and then loaded onto a concrete mixer lorry. The drum on the back of the lorry rotates whilst in transit to keep the pre-mixed concrete from starting to cure. The concrete is transported to its location where it will be poured. The blade in the drum is then reversed so the concrete spills into the chute and is pushed to the location of the pour.


What is Volumetric Concrete?

Volumetric concrete, also known as mix on-site concrete, is transported to the construction site as raw materials. Once in position, the volumetric truck becomes a mobile batching plant as the materials are mixed with water to create fresh concrete which is poured as soon as it is ready. Mobile batching plants can produce multiple mixes in the course of one delivery.


Which Type of Concrete Should You Choose?

How do you decide whether to order volumetric or ready-mix concrete? It really comes down to the kind of construction job you're working on, and the requirements of your build. The following 5 questions offer a guide to making your decision:


1. What's the Job?

If you need a delivery of high-quality concrete, and you require just one kind of concrete for the job, ready-mix is a good option. If, however, you need different mixes “ foundations and slabs, for example “ volumetric concrete is the better option. The mix batches can be scheduled in the order you need them, when you need them.


2. How Much Concrete Do You Need?

A volumetric truck carries around 8.5m3 per load, whilst a mixer truck has about a third less capacity. Alternatively, if you are ordering concrete for a DIY job, a volumetric truck will happily deliver because large or small amounts make little difference. Ready-mix lorries will, however, be likely to add a surcharge for part-loads.


3. Does Freshness Matter?

Ready-mix concrete starts out fresh at the batching plant, and then has to preserve that freshness throughout the journey to its destination. If your site is local to the batching plant, this isn't a worry. If, however, it needs to be transported for more than 30-40 minutes, the risk of curing increases. Water can be added in to the mix to prevent curing but this could lead to a weakening of the mix.

Volumetric concrete is mixed on-site, so its selling point is that clients get the freshest concrete possible.


4. Do You Need to Reduce Waste?

Every business is looking to reduce its costs and the construction industry is no different. Volumetric concrete is ordered by volume in advance, using a concrete calculator. If, on the delivery day, the order needs to be tweaked slightly, it can be. This means that site managers are not left with concrete waste to dispose of. Ready-mix concrete cannot be tweaked once the order is in transit, so any concrete that isn't used, will be wasted.


5. How Much Control Do You Need?

Any builder will tell you that a concrete pour is a race against time, and there are many ways that the world can make that race more difficult. A traffic accident can hold up your batch of concrete; driving rain or hot sun can mean a change in the concrete mix is required.

A volumetric truck provides more control over adverse circumstances than a mixer truck, simply because it is carrying raw materials rather than mixed concrete. A traffic hold-up will mean a delay, but it won't harm your batch. Extreme weather can by managed with tweaks to the mix.



Volumetric concrete is the ideal choice if you have either a large-scale construction project to complete, or a DIY project that needs a small volume of concrete. Ready-mix concrete is ideal for smaller sites, local to the batching plant, in which case the process is faster because there is no wait for the concrete to be mixed on-site.


Short Bio

Amanda Price - Digital Content Executive and Researcher for Imagefix | Amanda joined the Imagefix team in 2019, she brought to the business an expertise in social media, SEO, copywriting, and blogging.

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