Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Getting the Grades Right

Just a few years ago, a 10,000 sf slab pour was a large one. We are now in the 50,000 sf range.

We have recently made a series of large pours on a 15-acre project, using a laser CAD guided screed. It yields better, more accurate pours. Here is the run down on the means and methods of our equipment.

  1. Total station surveying equipment is mounted to the laser screed. Grading information is filtered through CAD, which creates a 3-D model.
  2. Slope and grade changes on a slab are handled by the screed, translating to less labor, more accuracy and the ability to make larger pours.
  3. This also allows for a lower slump concrete with higher strengths and less labor. On this particular pour, we used a mid-range water reducer to give us more workable slumps but keep the water to cement ratio down. We get better early breaks which allow quicker access on the slabs.
  4. Document control is a must. Ensure the latest, most accurate CAD drawings are used. A lesson learned.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.