Common Challenges Faced In Concrete Construction Projects

Concrete is one of the most versatile and durable building materials. It is mixed with water, cement, aggregate (small stones and sand), and gravel to create a stone-like material that can be used in a wide variety of projects.

Though it boasts one of the lowest job site-injury rates, concrete construction can still present several challenges. Click here at or read on for some of the most common challenges.

concrete construction

Environmental Conditions

Concrete is one of the most widely used man-made materials in the world. However, it also has significant environmental limitations. The process of making it produces large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is largely due to the use of fossil fuels in cement production. Concrete experts try to limit this effect by incorporating recycled rubble into new mixtures.

Concrete construction is also prone to environmental stresses that can affect its durability and integrity. The material is sensitive to temperature variations, humidity levels, and wind velocity. These factors can wreak havoc on the structure and lead to several problems, including cracking, corrosion, and chemical damage.

Working with concrete requires a high level of skill and patience, and the professionals working with it must have a thorough understanding of the material’s effects on the environment. For example, the institute has a comprehensive series of technical publications on the subject. These publications cover topics such as the effects of extreme temperatures, humidity, and wind velocity on concrete structures.

The weather is a significant factor in concrete projects because the material sets much faster in hot conditions. It is also susceptible to freezing and thawing, which can cause cracking and weakness. Contractors must take all of these environmental factors into account when planning their work schedules, especially if they are working outdoors.

Wet concrete is highly alkaline, so it must be handled with protective gloves and eyewear. Workers should also make sure to wash their hands after contact with the material. In addition, the construction of concrete structures can produce a large amount of dust. This can contaminate the surrounding area and negatively affect air quality.

Using recycled aggregates, such as fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) in concrete, can diminish the environmental impact of concrete construction. It can also reduce energy consumption and conserve natural resources. These additives are incorporated into the concrete mixture as supplementary cementitious materials (SCM). A 1% replacement of cement with GGBFS can result in a 0.7% reduction in energy consumption during the production of concrete.

Precast Structures

Precast concrete has long been a popular choice for construction, particularly in commercial and residential structures because of its versatility, durability, and ease of use. However, it’s not without its challenges. The most common problems encountered when constructing with precast concrete are related to design, fabrication, delivery, and erection.

Precast structures are made in a factory setting where strict quality controls can be applied to the concrete’s composition, dimensions, and inspections. This can reduce the time that it takes to make a piece of precast concrete and can also result in higher-quality products. However, it is important to note that the quality of the raw materials used is vital for the success of the finished product.

For example, if the ratio of the aggregates to water-cement is off it will have a significant impact on the quality of the finished product. This is why it’s important to have a good concrete supplier that can control the mix and the process.

Another challenge related to the erection of precast concrete is that the structural system must be designed to transfer loads from the building to the foundation. This can be accomplished with a variety of methods including shear walls, moment-resisting frames, and hybrid systems. However, the design team must take into account the whole system and not just the individual components. This will help to ensure that the lateral force-resisting system meets the design requirements.

In addition, the structural frame must be designed to achieve a ductile, rather than brittle, failure mode. This is especially critical if the structure is exposed to seismic loads.

As the structures are fabricated, they must be transported to the job site and then lifted into place using cranes. This can be a dangerous task when working in tight or restricted job site conditions. Additionally, if the dimensions of the precast pieces are not compatible with the prepared area, they may have to be modified or even scrapped. Contractors have reported that damage to concrete structures caused by handling and loading has been a significant problem. This is particularly true for structures that require articulation and are subject to dynamic loads such as bridges.


Concrete structures can be very rigid, but they need flexibility to withstand stresses and pressures. This flexibility can be used to flex and bend with the movement of an object or structure, such as a bridge that has to withstand traffic loads or a building that must withstand high winds. The flexibility of concrete can also be used to reduce the strain on joints and help prevent structural failures.

Concrete can be made to have a lot of flexibility, but it must be designed and built in a way that is effective and efficient for the application. Using high-quality, durable materials can help increase the flexibility of concrete while reducing costs and minimizing the risk of damage during construction.

One of the most important challenges in constructing concrete is making sure that the concrete is properly cured. This process can be difficult, especially when it comes to larger structures or projects with unique requirements. To get the best results, concrete must be cured at a consistent temperature and with the correct water-to-cement ratio.

Another challenge faced by concrete subcontractors is ensuring that they have the funds necessary to complete a project on time and within budget. Because the payment cycle for construction is so long, firms that do not have enough capital on hand will often struggle to win bids and keep up with their workload. Fortunately, there are ways that concrete contractors can avoid this problem by getting the funds they need through loans or lines of credit.

Lastly, one of the biggest challenges faced by concrete subcontractors is the disruption caused by construction on a local level. Construction sites can have a major impact on the natural flow of society as people are forced to travel around blocked sidewalks and loud noises. Concrete construction crews must be aware of the impact they have on the community and can adjust accordingly.

Using concrete contractor software can help reduce the number of issues and complications that are faced during construction. By taking the time to plan for all foreseeable outcomes, concrete subcontractors can ensure that their projects are completed successfully and efficiently.

Offloading And Rigging

Concrete construction projects are usually large and require a lot of equipment, including cranes to pick up and move structures. These machines can pose a safety risk if the correct procedures are not followed. For example, if a structure is not offloaded and unloaded properly, it may become damaged during transport. If this occurs, it could compromise the project’s completion timeline and lead to increased costs.

To avoid these issues, contractors need to ensure that rigging and offloading operations are performed by trained professionals. In addition, they should have a clear understanding of the crane’s capacity to handle the load and all associated components. This information should be documented on a lift plan that is provided to all rigging and offloading personnel.

Another challenge faced by concrete subcontractors is making sure they have the right amount of labor and materials on hand to complete a job. This can be difficult, especially if they are bidding on multiple projects at once. To avoid this, it is important for concrete subcontractors to pre-plan their work to take into account all foreseeable outcomes of a project. This will help them to accurately assess their resources and determine if they can meet all the needs of the client’s project.

To produce high-quality concrete, the water-cement ratio must be kept low. The higher the water-cement ratio, the more susceptible concrete will be to water ingress and deterioration. Various measures have been taken to address this issue, and most of them focus on improving the concrete’s durability by strengthening it, reducing its permeability, and adding corrosion-resistant coatings.

The use of concrete formwork is an essential element in achieving high-quality concrete. Formwork can be temporary, reusable, or permanent, and is used to mold concrete into its final shape. This can be done by hand or using a hydraulically powered system. It can be fabricated from a variety of materials, and several innovations in the field of formwork can increase efficiency on the job site.

The most common challenges in concrete construction are related to onsite processes, but the industry continues to evolve and innovate to meet the challenges presented by these processes. In particular, safety is a major concern that must be addressed through elevated awareness, improved training programs, and diligent enforcement of all applicable standards.