Question: Has anyone ever written up a list of things that a contractor can readily do to prepare for some of the problems that often come up unexpectedly?

Answer: We've had trucks unable to get close enough to discharge the load, we've had forms deflect and require extra concrete, we've had fresh slabs get caught in the rain, and we probably have some other kinds of unhappy experiences still in store for us. Maybe you can tell us what are some of the surprises still in store for us and how to avoid them.

We suggest you start your own checklist of things you know you might do to be ready in case any of the above conditions occur.

Then you can add other items that would prepare you to handle any surprises that you've heard other contractors have had. Here's a partial collection to start you off:

  • For slabs on grade be sure the side forms are in place, secure, and checked for grade. Compact the subgrade and measure the depth of the slab from the top of the form to the subgrade surface by extending a straightedge from one side form to the other. Then if you allow a slight amount of extra concrete you won't be surprised by having to order more.
  • Be sure the reinforcement is in place and clean.
  • Have the expansion joint material available on the site.
  • In hot, dry weather moisten the subgrade and forms.
  • Be sure the screed, straightedge and finishing tools are out and accessible.
  • Even if it doesn't look like rain, have plenty of polyethylene on hand to cover one day's pour.
  • Provide a clear path for the mixer truck, free of obstacles and debris, and be sure it's capable of supporting the heavy load of the truck and concrete.
  • If trucks will be following one another, provide room for a truck to back out and leave while one or more others are waiting.
  • If accessibility to forms is limited, confer with the concrete producer about supplying longer-than-usual chutes or some other adequate means of getting the concrete to the forms.
  • Make a final check to see that the forms are well braced so they will stay in alignment, won't require extra concrete, and will be safe.
  • Be sure the curing material is on hand in an adequate amount.