Concrete is estimated by the cubic yard (cy) or by the cubic foot (cf) and then converted into cubic yards. Concrete quantities are measured in cubic yards as it is the pricing unit of the ready-mix companies, and most tables and charts available relate to the cubic yard.

Roof and floor slabs, slabs on grade, pavements, and sidewalks are most commonly measured and taken off in length, width, and thickness and converted to cubic feet and cubic yards (27 cf # 1 cy). Often, irregularly shaped projects are broken down into smaller areas for more accurate and convenient manipulation.

When estimating footings, columns, beams, and girders, their volume is determined by taking the linear footage of each item times its cross-sectional area. The cubic footage of the various items may then be tabulated and converted to cubic yards.

When estimating footings for buildings with irregular shapes and jogs, the estimator must be careful to include the corners only once. It is a good practice for the estimator to highlight on the plans which portions of the footings have been figured.

When taking measurements, keep in mind that the footings extend out from the foundation wall; therefore, the footing length is greater than the wall length.

In estimating quantities, the estimator makes no deductions for holes smaller than 2 sf or for the space that reinforcing bars or other miscellaneous accessories take up. Waste ranges from 5 percent for footings, columns, and beams to 8 percent for slabs.

The procedure that should be used to estimate the concrete on a project is as follows:

1. Review the specifications to determine the requirements for each area in which concrete is used separately (such as footings, floor slabs, and walkways) and list the following:

(a) Type of concrete
(b) Strength of concrete
(c) Color of concrete
(d) Any special curing or testing

2. Review the drawings to be certain that all concrete items shown on the drawings are covered in the specifications. If not, a call will have to be made to the architect-engineer so that an addendum can be issued.

3. List each of the concrete items required on the project.

4. Determine the quantities required from the working drawings. Footing sizes are checked on the wall sections and foundation plans. Watch for different size footings under different walls.

Concrete slab information will most commonly be found on wall sections, floor plans, and structural details. Exterior walks and driveways will most likely be identified on the plot (site) plan and in sections and details.

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