subscribe to ENR magazine subscribe
contact us
careers industry jobs
events events
Dodge Data & Analytics
ENR Logo
Web access will be provided
as part of your subscription.

Toward a More Tolerant Jobsite

Text size: A A

We live in a more tolerant society, but any experienced concrete contractor will tell you the opposite about the construction business. No building is ever built perfectly, yet contractors (and often, their invoices) are held to theoretical tolerances that are too tough and expensive to meet under real-world conditions. Is it time to consider relaxing design standards to help save money on rework, lost time and litigation?

Toward a More Tolerant Jobsite
----- Advertising -----

Veteran industry authors Bruce Suprenant and Ward Malisch think so. The two concrete experts have spent decades helping builders overcome such problems as out-of-plumb doorways and curtain walls that cannot seem to square up because their specifications conflict with each other.

By measuring as-built tolerances over the years and comparing them with what was called for, the authors expose good and bad standards and suggest ways to make the onerous ones reasonable in “Tolerances for Cast-in-Place Concrete Buildings” (American Society of Concrete Contractors, 2009, $70).

Contractors “want to successfully build a project and get paid in a timely manner,” the authors say. That goal, however, is increasingly more difficult to achieve because the concrete contractor often is “held hostage” and forced to resolve tolerances that may not need to be met in the first place for the structure to perform safely and effectively.

Attention should be paid to relaxing tolerances so they are based on field data, measured in set procedures and written so they cannot be misunderstood, the authors advise. “Until there is one consistent set of interpretations…contractors cannot determine how to improve,” the book says.


 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.