FAQs and other considerations

Before I contact you for a quote, what do I need to have in place?

Number one, be sure you are ready to go ahead. If your site will not be ready for a few weeks or months it is best to wait until you are in go ahead mode before calling us. That way we won’t have to re quote your project and our price remains firm, as prices may vary upwards half a dozen times a year. If engineers’ drawings are being utilized, please make sure you have these at hand at the time we call in or email them to us beforehand.

Consider your access. Keep in mind there will be large machinery involved. Is there room at the roadside to park up to four 20 to 50-ton trucks? Or is there only room for one or two? Is your entrance wide, surfaced and smooth? Or unsurfaced, full of holes & wash outs, narrow, winding with over hanging trees, cliff drop offs and hazardous water crossings? How far from a central location is your site? All of these aspects will impact on your final price because time is a commodity. Tricky access jobs are not impossible but they will take more time.

A definite, functional design. Make sure you have a firm idea of what you want done, such as the area, size, shape and planned uses of your project. Consider, for example, if it’s a driveway. Do you want to back out of your garage and remain on the concrete? Do you require two cars be able to pass each other? And know which way water runs off your property. We will discuss with you all drainage issues that need to be addressed plus the remedies required.

What colour/style do you want? Determine your most suitable option such as plain grey concrete, coloured, covercrete or aggregate finish relevant to its purpose, existing structures and desired aesthetics. If price is a main factor, plain grey concrete is the most popular, economical option.

Council requirements. Check you have your council permissions (such as a DA) in place. If you believe a DA is not required, please ensure you have confirmed this with council before we call in. Be warned - council can and will have you remove your job if it is not to local council specifications and these specs can vary considerably from shire to shire and from soil type to soil type (a soil test may be required as this determines pier & footing depths). Even driveways can be subject to council approval, especially the part which runs off the curb (lay back) and over the nature strip. This part is council property. Additionally, be confident you know where your utilities, plumbing etc. lay underground so that we don’t accidently damage them.

Changes on day of pour. Please try to avoid this. The day we first meet with you then mark out and measure up your job, is the day you need to have a good idea of where you want your concrete to go. We will closely discuss with you what you want and then assess the site relevant to your requirements. We will work out solutions to any foreseeable obstacles with you. We will estimate the amount of concrete required exactly and quote from these markup measurements. We don’t over order on concrete. Also, we cannot foresee what is below the surface of your ground. Discovering large rocks and tree roots can add considerable earthworks prep time, so keep that in mind. Hitting a piece of unidentified plumbing or a phone line can add to your costs if its damaged.

Variations. Any later variations to the written quote specifications are added to the original price. Minor adjustments can usually be accommodated (such as more or less fall) but any changes which require more concrete, materials, wait time or excavations than what was quoted will incur extra charges.

We quote free of charge. Otherwise known as drive over hill and dale, discuss, measure, take details, drive home, phone suppliers for prices, work out numbers and quantities, type it all up and email to client, x 20 + times per week.

It’s all part of the job. We absolutely love meeting new people but quoting on and revisiting jobs where the client is not yet fully committed or simply wanting to kick around ideas or has changed their layout requirements a dozen times can be a huge waste of all of our time and resources. We will give you the best price on your job without compromising materials or workmanship. Once, free of charge. So, it’s best to make good use of the time we spend together and be prepared.

Lastly, we also don’t usually supply insurance or bank loan application quotes. But let us know your circumstances when you contact us and we’ll see if we can help.

 

Can you help me with a small job, even in a difficult access, remote location?

Yes. But be aware that small jobs (anything under 6 x 6 m) can work out to be as expensive as a job twice the size, even in an easily accessible, central location. Travel time, materials delivery and plant mobilization cost the same no matter how much concrete is involved. Contact us for advice.

 

Can you give me a rough price over the phone if I give you the measurements?

It depends. The amount of concrete you need is only one small element of the price calculation process. Measurements, which also must include laser leveling your heights and falls, need to be accurate.
It is always best to have the expert measure up your job, as running short of concrete on pour day can add considerable expense for you. Other considerations are site access, distance from closest suppliers, topography and prep time i.e. Will you need earthworks, base added, spoil removal, dump trucks, pumps etc.?
We can quote off plans but we will still need to see the site to be able to include earthworks and pump in a firm, written quote/contract.

 

Can I do my own earthworks?

You can. But you shouldn’t. It is extremely important they are done correctly to laser heights.

We have many clients hoping they will save money by doing their own earthworks. In the end, it costs them extra when the results are the wrong height, depth and fall.These heights and falls must be determined with a laser for accuracy. 
Mistakes may then require bringing back the excavator, which doubles the initial cost, or placing more concrete (more cost) in some areas, with less in others, to even out depths.
Or worst case, there is no time to correct, concrete truck is on it's way, and now, everytime it rains water will, potentially, be directed straight into your front door, garage or pool.... This is not ideal and results in a big headache for all involved.

Honestly, it is better to allow us to organize and supervise your earthworks to ensure it’s done appropriately. It also safeguards yourself by making us responsible for accuracy - if it's wrong, we wear it, not you.

We can even leave pricing earthworks out of your quote and have our operator, who prices very competitively, bill you directly. However, we will still, even in this case, laser level to check heights, depths and falls plus organize and oversee the works.

 

How long will my project take?

We are usually on site for 2 to 4 days, depending on the size of the job. Bad weather can hold up a job, especially if it decides to rain for three days straight after earthworks are completed. This can then result in a week or so of drying time, and worst case, more earthworks to correct washed out bases. We always encourage a client to pray to the weather gods at the time of their pour for added reassurance.

 

Is there a difference between concrete & cement?

Cement is a grey coloured binding powder and is an ingredient of concrete. Concrete is a mix of aggregate such as sand or gravel, cement and water, delivered to you in the concrete truck. Cement is never used on its own. There is no such thing as a cement slab or cement driveway. The correct terms are concrete driveway and concrete slab.

 

Do I need a concrete pump?

It depends on your access and the amount of concrete you require. Remember, once the concrete is poured, the time taken to spread and finish it is a crucial factor.

This is because your concrete began to cure the moment it left the depot. The hotter it is, the faster it cures. It needs to be placed before it cures, so the boys always have to work quickly.

Example A: You have a pool surrounds job out the back of your house. There is no access to your back yard besides a narrow side gate. The pour site is at least 80m from the road side, up a slight incline. A concrete truck will not be able to fit through the access so the concrete will not be able to be shot straight off the truck. Without a pump, loading it out by the wheel barrow is the only other option and will require twice as many men, as concreters can’t barrow & screed at the same time, adding more expense to you.

So, you now have 6 boys (4 to barrow & 2 to screed), on a collective rate which would amount to 5 times what the concrete pump would have cost. They have to RUN with the barrow, full of very heavy concrete, up a small incline. For 8 hrs. It all gets dumped in one spot and then needs to be shoveled out to spread it before it can be screeded. All the while the boys are losing the batch. They can’t keep up with how fast its curing and the finish is coming up badly. Worst case scenario, it beats them & it has to be removed/ replaced. This can all get doubly expensive very quickly. Not having a pump is false economy.

Example B: You have a lovely flat site for your new 20 x 40 shed slab, with full access for the trucks. We advise you get a concrete pump and you wonder why; you have plenty of access. Are we just trying to waste your money?

Once again, false economy. You need a pump with a large boom in order to place the concrete evenly, right the way across to the middle, not only to get even depths but in case the concrete cures & beats you. It will affect the finish. Instead of it being shiny & smooth it will be rough & pock marked. The boys might not have time to get the correct falls & depths because by this stage the concrete is not cooperating. Its curing and showing you it’s middle finger. And everyone is cursing, panting and sweating, desperately trying to save it, while the boss is yelling at the top of his lungs.

It’s not worth the risk. A concrete pump equals accuracy and saved time plus savings in labour. If we advise a pump please opt for one to ensure your job comes up a treat.

 

What materials are included in my price?

We quote a complete price for everything required to complete your project, including earthworks and pump, if needed.

 

I have 3 quotes. Why do the prices vary so much & how do I decide who to use?

Unfortunately, the concreting trade is highly unregulated. Anyone can order a load of concrete delivered to their front door or mix it in their back yard.

A landscaper can be your concreter. A builder can be your concreter. A swimming pool installer can be your concreter. A working visa holder can be your concreter. Uncle Joe next door says he can try too and he knows a mate to help. But there’s more to good concreting than meets the eye.

Make sure whomever you choose has an actual concreting licence. That way you’ll have confidence they know what they are doing, are experienced, have governing trade standards to abide by and have quoted you expertly. If your concreter is unlicenced you’ll have no contingency if anything goes wrong.

Make sure you view genuine pictures of their recent work, preferably a pic of something similar to your own requirements, and that you like what you see. Check their reviews and social media pages for feedback.

The cowboys keep their prices low. They normally have minimal, rundown plant and unqualified workers, to whom they can pay half the going day rate or less. They cut back on materials, can’t quote accurately or work to plans and leave out required elements, such as bar chairs and even sometimes mesh. They cut back on concrete, taking thicknesses down to 80 or less mm. The worst part is that, when the job falls apart or is not fit for purpose, they often cannot be contacted to rectify. If you do manage to contact them, they can’t afford to rectify or outright tell you to stick it. Sadly, we have had to rectify a number of below par jobs completed by other cowboy concreters. Always at the owners’ expense.

So always beware prices that are way lower. The only way they can be cut back that drastically is to cut back on your materials and skill set.

Keep in mind that the greater majority of your quote is costs. It goes to your suppliers. It pays for your concrete, your licensed concreters, your 3 trucks, pump and bobcat or excavator. Their time and running costs. Your aggregate, tip fees, skip bin, your mesh, fuel, saw blades, timber, pegs, tools, machinery, maintenance of plant. And more.

At CJR we endeavor to give you the best prices possible. We’re on the phone twisting the arms of our suppliers every single day so that we can pass savings on to our clients.

If you’ve done your homework, and a good price (it may not be the highest but probably won’t be the lowest) was given to you by the guy with all the right qualifications and experience, you’ll probably get what you pay for – a fantastic job you’ll be proud of for many years and which will add value to your property. At the other end of the scale, you’ll also get what you pay for – an embarrassing, barely useable mess you’ll have to live with. With concrete, quality isn’t cheap and cheap isn’t quality. Be careful what you ask for.

 

Will my concrete crack?

Yes, guaranteed. It’s a natural product, the mixes can vary at the plant and it is affected by many forces. Ambient temperatures, humidity, expansion and contraction, under surface movement and heavy loading can instigate cracking, and that is just a short list of risk factors.

It’s all about mitigating the risks. So to avoid cracking, expansion joints are placed. Abel flex is placed. Vapor barrier is placed. All concrete is reinforced with steel mesh. The slab is managed and troweled until it has cured sufficiently. The aggregate mix (mpa) is adjusted to suit your site and useage. The thickness of the concrete is never less than 100mm. Sometimes it’s more depending on what it will be used for – tractors and trucks or your two cars?

This all minimizes cracking. A few, barely noticeable hairline cracks on your slab will not affect its durability. Larger cracks are cause for concern and we are proud to say we have never had to return to a job to rectify large (more than 10mm) cracking.

 

How soon can I utilize my new concrete?

It depends what you will be using it for. It’s usually safe to walk on within 24 hrs. But our warranty is 28 days before driving or turning vehicles on it. Longer for heavy machinery because the slab is thicker and needs more time to cure. If it becomes damaged through heavy use before 28 days it will not be under our warranty.

*** VERY IMPORTANT! *** DO NOT HOSE WATER ON YOUR CURING SLAB! The water will cause the concrete to form powder on its surface which will never go away. Ignoring your new concrete for at least a week is what it loves best. Just plain & simple, leave it alone. It will appreciate your neglect.