Everyone is used to seeing concrete pump trucks on large commercial projects. The added costs associated with boom pumps and line pumps are figured in to the bid amounts submitted by the concrete contractors. In fact, without the use of concrete pumping equipment, especially with tall buildings, placing concrete would be almost impossible.

I have not seen pump trucks used a lot in residential applications. Construction budgets allot less money for associated costs to placement of driveways, slabs, and sidewalks. Most residential concrete contractors feel the mixer truck can go anywhere to place concrete.

Normally this is true. However, concrete is not always placed under ideal conditions like dry, hard packed soil.

There are a few good reasons to use a boom pump or a line pump to place concrete in a residential setting.

1.  Faster placement - No need to keep moving mixer trucks around the edge of the slab or footing. A pump truck operator with a remote control unit can move the boom anywhere to place the concrete as directed.

2.  Ease of placement - No wheelbarrows needed. No rakes needed to drag the concrete 6-7 feet from the discharge point of the truck chute.

3.  Avoid getting stuck in soft ground - No one wants to pay $300-$500 for a tow truck to pull out a stuck concrete mixer. I have seen ground so soft and muddy that the tow truck also got stuck. Everyone got pulled out with the help of a really big, expensive specialized tow truck.

4.  No muddy mess - Even if the mixer trucks don’t get stuck in the soft ground, they will pick up a lot of mud and spread it all over the paved streets in the subdivision and on adjacent highways. Not good for public relations.

5.  Tall residential walls - Custom built homes can have tall privacy walls around the whole property. It can be almost impossible to pour into a narrow wall form that is higher than the truck chute. A concrete pump truck makes the pour simple and fast, and minimizes the mess of concrete spilling over the sides of the wall forms.

The benefits of pumping concrete in residential construction come from personal observation as well as an internet search for pumping companies’ websites, which also listed several benefits that hadn’t crossed my mind.

Concrete producers should consider partnering with a couple of concrete pumping companies and calling on major homebuilders to sell the benefits of concrete pumping, especially for hard-to-reach lots. Working together you may be able to convince builders it’s worth paying the extra costs of using concrete pumping equipment for certain locations.

Tom Johnson has spent the past decade getting to know the ins and outs of the concrete industry from various viewpoints including driver, salesman, dispatcher, and quality control professional. Contact Tom with comments or suggestions at johnsontf@hotmail.com.