Many of us believe cast-in-place, reinforced concrete construction is more economical and presents compelling advantages over competing forms of construction for large multistory buildings and for other building frames as well. We puzzle then, why reinforced concrete construction is not universally adopted in those cases where it has such clear advantages. There are three reasons for this apparent inconsistency. First, advocates of competitive systems market their product well. A second reason is that many structural engineers feel that concrete design is more difficult and more time consuming than design of structural steel. The third major reason is that the concrete construction industry is poorly organized to meet the demands and serve the needs of owner-developers.
Alert contractors seize opportunities to submit proposals for complete concrete frames in competition with frames of other materials. They realize there is little risk after the floor area, spans and locations of columns have been determined. Owners or their architects will establish these matters as well as the configuration of the building and number of stories. Contractors can determine the forming method best suited to their own firm. After that, the only real variable is the cost of reinforcing steel. And the margin for error is far less than the price advantage concrete enjoys. Where else can they promote a superior product with a substantial price advantage?