There was a time when determining the flatness and levelness of a slab pour meant scheduling floor profilers to walk the slab, take readings, import data, and generate an F-number report.

It could take a full workday to reach a verdict with the Dipstick method. Meanwhile, the drying slab isn’t waiting around for anyone. You would think there would be a simpler and faster way to answer, “Is it level? Is it flat?”

For general contractor DPR Construction, there is.

Beyond the Dipstick
They used the alternative method with great success on the state-of-the-art $60 million Shriners Hospitals for Children in Pasadena, Calif. The Shriners project is 164,000 square feet of new construction, including three levels of below-grade parking.

“The traditional way to generate an F-number analysis is the Dipstick method,” explains Josh DeStefano, DPR BIM Manager—Southern California. “We would hire a third party to make those walk-through measurements. The Dipstick crew would take part of the day to do their walk-through, another part of the day to analyze the results. The entire process could take a day.”

Rapid Insight
A full day doesn’t help if there are slab dips and bumps that need rework now. Today the DPR BIM team has compressed a once lengthy floor profiling process into minutes.

“We laser scan the fresh slab and enter the data into a special software application,” says Stefano. For DeStefano and the DPR Construction team, the result is immediate, welcome, and “huge.”

Surprisingly Easy
“People hear ‘laser scanning’ and they think that it’s a big, complicated thing. Collecting scanned data isn’t that complicated,” DeStafano says. For example, a slab scan taken at a 25 percent resolution takes around five minutes to make a determination.

“We can deploy our in-house measurement team a lot quicker than a third party. Our internal lines of communication make it so much easier to work and coordinate pre-pour schedules, especially since we self-perform. If there’s a pour coming up, we learn about it right away and schedule a tech to be there and scan. We end up capturing more information in less time, with less effort, which allows our crews to resume building that much faster. We can prove we met the spec. We have the data to prove it,” DeStefano says.

Verifiable Peace of Mind
The hardware and software technology that powers the laser scanning process is made by FARO, a leading name in 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology. The scanner maps out surface characteristics in minute detail. Supporting software is able to pinpoint irregularities, including flatness and levelness. The process is now indispensable to DeStefano and his team.

The days of a lengthy, clumsy slab profiling process are over. Swift, on-the-fly flatness and levelness assessments are the new normal.

“We generate the same standardized F-number analysis that’s accepted throughout the industry. It’s a very big deal. It’s a competitive advantage we didn’t have before,” DeStefano says.

Learn more about fast, accurate methods to measure concrete floor flatness and levelness: