Designers can reduce the cost of concrete construction by following these design rules for formwork, reinforcement, and concrete:


  • Select one framing scheme and stick with it throughout the project.
  • Orient framing in one direction for one-way systems such as beams and joists.
  • Keep floor-to-floor heights constant.
  • Use a flat plate for spans up to about 25 feet because it's the cheapest, fastest, and shallowest framing method available.


  • Use Grade 60 bars. Grade 40 requires 50 percent more steel than Grade 60.
  • Use the largest bar size that meets design requirements.
  • Eliminate bent bars where possible because bending increases fabrication costs.
  • Use lap splices whenever possible.


  • Use low-strength concrete in the floor system unless there is an advantage to using higher strength.
  • Use 6-inch-slump concrete and pea gravel aggregate where reinforcement is congested.
  • Arrange column ties so they don't obstruct concrete placement.
  • Specify few mix designs.