Why Is There a Concrete Shortage in the US?

It’s not surprising that concrete is a widely used construction material in many parts of the world. Concrete is strong, durable, affordable, and versatile. But what if a quality concrete construction material that’s being used in millions of buildings worldwide starts getting scarce?

 

While the concrete industry is a booming business, the growing population and rise in construction activities are increasing demand for concrete. At the same time, the use of concrete construction materials is reducing supply because of high demand, which creates the need to increase its production.

 

There has been a lot of talk about the low supply of ready mix concrete in some parts of the United States, which causes delays in construction and real estate development projects. Some of the factors that contribute to the shortage are:

  • Interruptions

It’s challenging to maintain a continuous flow of materials or services from one location to another, which means there can be disruptions in manufacturing, transportation, or distribution. 

  • Regulation Changes

The trucking supply has been constrained due to the changes in service hours and loading restrictions in some states. Thus, there are fewer trucks available now because of these adjustments.

  • Rail Capacity

Capacity on rails in the Midwest has been affected by the problems associated with North Dakota oil fields, including unplanned outages in cement plants.

 

Though concrete shortage can arise from many causes, you can still do something about it.

 

Extending your supply is one thing.

 

You can start with this either by changing your construction methods, concrete construction materials, concrete mix designs, or some combination of these. One way to do that is to increase the fly ash or slag content in your mixtures. This will allow you to maximize the amount of concrete you are using per project. Keep in mind not to just take your typical mix and replace fly ash or slag.

 

The addition of fly ash will make the water content of the concrete more stable at reduced water-cement ratios. If there’s steel in the concrete mix, it’s a good idea to use a non-chloride accelerator to counteract the effect of fly ash on the setting. In contrast, slag will have a varying impact depending on the elements of its composition. Test the concrete by batch at the expected setting temperature and make adjustments to the mix if needed.

 

Ensuring quality control is also important.

 

When there’s less supply than usual, it becomes essential to reduce or eliminate lost loads. Lowering the variability in the concrete mixture can reduce the amount of cement required. An analysis of top mixtures will show whether or not you’re running your mixer longer than you need to.

 

Bonus tip:

High cement contents in cold weather concreting or for acceleration can lead to shrinkage cracking. Adding 100 pounds of cement is recommended for added heat.

 

If you’re working in a construction company and looking for a trusted concrete supplier, ProContractor Supply is here for you. You can find a variety of equipment designed to tackle new construction problems. Among other things, we also specialize in servicing an extensive range of construction equipment. We know our way around construction, especially concrete.

Feel free to get in touch with us here should you need support or if you have questions.