When working on a concrete construction project, one of the crucial decisions to make is the type of concrete to utilise. The two primary options available are ready-mix concrete – which arrives at the site pre-mixed in those distinctive trucks with rotating drums – and mix-on-site concrete, also know as ‘dry mix concrete’.
Al Manaratain offers both Ready Mix and Dry Mix concrete to its customers, but we’re often asked why we recommend one over the other; surely they are the same other than one is prepared off-site while the other is prepared on-site? Well, this is actually not the case and each possesses distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it imperative to select the one that best aligns with the specific requirements of the project.
Ready-mix concrete offers a number of advantages that make it a fantastic choice for most construction projects in Bahrain and across the world. However, like anything, ready-mix concrete also has its drawbacks and we will take a look at both the pros and cons below:
Ready Mix Advantages
- Consistent quality: Produced in a controlled environment using calibrated equipment, ready-mix concrete boasts a high level of consistency in terms of strength, composition, and workability. This uniformity is particularly crucial for projects demanding precise specifications.
- Convenience: Delivered to the construction site in a ready-to-use state, ready-mix concrete eliminates the need for on-site storage of raw materials and mixing equipment. This translates into reduced labor requirements and streamlined scheduling.
- Time-efficiency: Ready-mix concrete can be placed immediately upon arrival, minimizing downtime and expediting the construction process. This is especially beneficial for projects with tight deadlines.
- Reduced waste: The precise measurement and controlled mixing of ready-mix concrete minimize material waste. This not only contributes to cost savings but also aligns with environmental sustainability initiatives.
Ready Mix Disadvantages
- Higher cost: The transportation and use of specialised equipment associated with ready-mix concrete result in a higher cost per cubic yard compared to mix-on-site concrete.
- Less flexibility: Once ready-mix concrete has been delivered to the job site, it must be used immediately. This can limit flexibility if changes are made to the project schedule.
Now that we have taken a look at the pros and cons of ready-mix concrete, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of mix-on-site concrete.
- Lower transportation cost: The absence of specialised transportation costs associated with mix-on-site concrete typically results in a lower cost per cubic yard compared to ready-mix concrete.
- Customisation: Mix-on-site concrete can be customised to meet specific project requirements. This is particularly advantageous for projects requiring unique concrete mixes or where access to ready-mix concrete is limited.
- Flexibility: Mix-on-site concrete production can be adjusted to meet fluctuating project demands. This flexibility can be invaluable for projects with changing schedules or unforeseen circumstances.
- Variable quality: The quality of mix-on-site concrete can vary depending on the skills of the mixer operator and the accuracy of the measurements. This variability can pose a risk for projects with stringent quality requirements.
- Labor-intensive: The production of mix-on-site concrete requires a dedicated workforce for material handling, mixing, and placement. This can increase labor costs and extend project timelines.
- Waste generation: The mixing of concrete on-site can generate a significant amount of waste. This waste can add to disposal costs and have negative environmental impacts.
Choosing the right option
The decision between ready-mix concrete and mix-on-site concrete should be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific requirements of the project. Factors to consider include:
- Project size: Ready-mix concrete is a good option for large projects where a high volume of concrete is required. Mix-on-site concrete is a good option for small projects or projects where access to ready-mix concrete is limited.
- Quality requirements: Ready-mix concrete is generally considered to be of higher quality than mix-on-site concrete. If quality is a major concern, then ready-mix concrete is the better option.
- Project schedule: Ready-mix concrete can help to reduce project completion times as it eliminates the time and effort required to mix concrete on-site. If project schedule is a major concern, then ready-mix concrete is the better option.
- Environmental concerns: Mix-on-site concrete can generate less environmental impact than ready-mix concrete as it eliminates the need for transportation. If environmental concerns are a major factor, then mix-on-site concrete is the better option.
For the sake of ease, we have summarised the pros and cons of both in the table below:
|Feature||Ready-mix concrete||Mix-on-site concrete|
|Preparation||Mixed in a central batch plant and delivered to the construction site in a ready-to-use state.||Mixed at the construction site using cement, sand, gravel, and water.|
|Consistency||High consistency due to controlled mixing conditions.||Consistency can vary depending on the skills of the mixer operator and the accuracy of the measurements.|
|Quality||Generally considered to be of higher quality due to the use of calibrated equipment and controlled mixing conditions.||Quality can be affected by factors such as the accuracy of the measurements, the quality of the materials, and the mixing methods used.|
|Convenience||More convenient as it does not require storage space for raw materials or mixing equipment.||Requires storage space for raw materials and mixing equipment.|
|Cost||Generally more expensive than mix-on-site concrete due to the cost of transportation and the use of specialized equipment.||Generally less expensive than ready-mix concrete due to the elimination of transportation costs.|
|Suitability||Suitable for large projects where a high volume of concrete is required.||Suitable for small projects or projects where access to ready-mix concrete is limited.|
By carefully evaluating these factors, project managers and contractors can make informed decisions about the type of concrete that will best meet the needs of their project. The Al Manaratain Ready-Mix department is frequently consulted by customers and contractors alike when it comes to the use of one over the other, as there are often variables to consider on a project-by-project basis. If you’re in need of a consultation for your latest construction project, don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Al Manaratain team.