Concrete Pre-Pour Checklist: 5 Steps to Properly Prep for a Pour

Concrete pours gone wrong can be costly. Concrete is difficult to install, and it’s even more difficult to remove if the job isn’t done right. Additionally, without proper preparation, crews that pour concrete are at risk. In fact, earlier this month, nine workers were injured in a concrete placement job on the seventh floor of a new hotel in Houston. This type of accident is more common that you might think in concrete placement jobs. Fortunately, doing the right prep work before a pour can help you avoid costly rework jobs and help you ensure the safety of your crews. Here are five of the most important things you can do before you start pouring concrete at a jobsite:

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1. Conduct a pre-slab meeting to iron out plans. This should be down a week or so in advance of a pour. Ideally, the crew foreman and the project superintendent should be present to discuss factors like required equipment, labor needs, rebar pulling/chairing, mix design, etc. Additionally, all matters related to contracts need to be reviewed and discussed. Seemingly minor things like whether or not a contract’s weather-related concrete placement and batching plans have been accepted shouldn’t be overlooked. Attention to detail is essential at this stage.

2. Inspect formwork thoroughly. This is of the upmost importance and will help you avoid the costs associated with an inefficient pour and having to rework. Make sure forms are in the proper location and that they have proper grade and alignment. Additionally, you should check that they’ve been installed and braced according to prior plans. It’s also important to make sure formwork is clean of dirt, debris, and trash.

3. Check reinforcing steel. Rebar needs to be sampled and approved before a pour begins. It needs to be clean and have no signs of rusting, cracking, breaking, or pitting. And it needs to be installed in the correct, pre-established location, using the correct size of rebar. There also needs to be the correct and accurate amount of clearance between rebar and formwork. Additionally, all reinforcing steel needs to meet the specified cover, and all reinforcing steel needs to be tied and secured.

4. Make sure you have the right materials and equipment. You need the right trucks to dispatch to the jobsite. The necessary concrete materials need to be on-hand, inspected, and approved before pouring. This includes water, cement, aggregates, and additives. It’s a great idea to call your concrete supplier the day before a pour is scheduled to begin. Additionally, protective and curing materials need to be stocked and easily accessible. Depending on the project, this may include insulated blankets, wet mats, tarps, and external heaters.

5. Double-check the materials and jobsite to ensure readiness. This pertains to what you should do right before a pour begins. Slump and air tests need to be conducted on trucks, and test cylinders need to be ready to go. Formwork needs to be hosed down and wet in preparation for the pour. And concrete must be vibrated properly before the pour begins. If you’ve been pouring concrete for a while, all of these last-minute steps may seem obvious, but it’s not unheard of for experienced crews to forget or overlook one of these key tasks.

These five pre-pour steps can prevent most major issues associated with concrete work. It may also be a good idea to create and print a checklist to bring with you to the jobsite that will allow you to quickly go down a list and make sure you’re doing all the right prepping. You can also find generic, printable pre-pour checklists online that may be useful if your pour is a fairly straightforward job.

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