When portland cement is in short supply, concrete contractors find their project commitments at risk, as pour schedules are disrupted and concrete is rationed. Industry pros suggest now’s the time to try out new approaches and decrease dependence on portland cement. Even if the costs are higher, the results might be worth it.
Shifting From Reliance To Innovation
Supply disruptions have shone the spotlight on the risks of being reliant on one thing, and in the case of concrete contractors, that’s portland cement. With demand for work high, and labor short, scarcity is the last problem contractors need. On the positive side, as For Construction Pros point out: “tough times often spur new product development and adoption. There are many innovative technologies being created today that can offset the dependence on portland, as well as reduce project costs and inefficiencies. Even if trying new technologies was cost-prohibitive for your business in the past, materials that are readily available now and help you work faster are likely a more cost-effective choice.” Among the current options for replacing straight portland cement is CO2 sequestration. Adapting to use of this now—and building relationships with suppliers—might even “put you ahead of the competition once others inevitably move to environmentally friendly options.” As experts further explain:
A leading method for creating greener concrete is CO2 sequestration, a process that converts CO2 into a mineral that’s trapped into the concrete permanently and offers even greater compressive strength. In addition, there are new technologies that reformulate cement with materials that allow manufacturers to use less portland. One exciting up-and-coming technology utilizes geopolymers as an alternative to portland cement, substituting it with materials such as fly ash, ground-granulated blast furnace slag, meta-kaolin, ground mineral micro-silica or other non-gypsum based minerals to reduce the environmental impact.
Understanding how to incorporate “multi-use products” is another way to stack the odds for on-time completion of contracts. Though multi-use products do not provide a direct solution for cement shortages, they can: “help mitigate the impact it has on your project timelines and budget by cutting multiple, time-consuming steps down to one. For example, look for versatile solutions such as:
A cure and seal that also waterproofs and creates an internal moisture membrane, strengthening concrete while giving it longevity.
A product that bonds to concrete without requiring a new moisture-vapor membrane or “vapor retarder” (for trench filling).
Fibers that would offer more strength while providing more square yards of concrete. (Known as “fuzzy concrete,” incorporating materials such as nylon, metal or basalt can actually increase compressive strength and elongation, while providing resistance to cracking.)”
Having the right partners is another important strategy for resilience against the unknown. For example, with the The Partnership Account® from Colonial Surety, you will use our powers of attorney to issue your own bid bond. That means you can do so right up to the last moment, incorporating material substitutions and accounting for pricing fluctuations. In addition to issuing your own bid bonds, you can expediently order performance and payment bonds, run management reports, check your current and aggregate limits, view your underwriting profile—and more. Let’s get you growing, today:
Get An Edge
These days, every financial insight you glean, gives you an important edge—and that’s what Colonial Surety does via The Partnership Account for Contractors®. With this free service, we will help you plot the growth of your business, strategically, one step at a time. The Partnership Account® arms you with a private digital dashboard, providing you with a day to day snapshot of your single and aggregate limits, as well as your current and available bond capacity. As your work in progress decreases, you can even update your work on hand—increasing your aggregate so you can go ahead and move that next bid ahead. Take control of your finances—and get an edge issuing your own bid bonds, instantly, using our powers of attorney.
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