Many contractors prefer pumping to crane-and-bucket placement of concrete because it's faster and can reduce labor costs. But saving labor isn't the only reason to take advantage of pumping's speedy placement rates. Contractors also use large-line pumps to enhance productivity and improve the quality of the finished product.

For example, a Wisconsin contractor uses pumps on large slab-on-grade pours to avoid having to direct truck-mixer traffic to different areas and the delays that sometimes occur when concrete is chuted directly into place. For residential foundation work in new subdivisions, a contractor in Albuquerque, N.M., uses a pump to place foundation slabs in clusters of two to six because it's cheaper for him to pump multiple slabs on grade at one location. Another contractor recently used two boom pumps--a 36-meter and 42-meter--to top out two 13-story apartment buildings in just 3 months, delivering as much as 100 cubic yards of concrete per hour to each floor.