A Non-Deterministic Investigation of the Concrete Placing System

Paul Dunlop1 & Simon Smith2

1Postgraduate student, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Crew Building, The King’s Building, Edinburgh, UK, EH9 3JN, Tel: 0131 650 5790, P.Dunlop@ed.ac.uk.
2Lecturer in Project Management, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Edinburgh


Many areas of the construction industry rely heavily upon cyclical processes, some of which do not always deliver a satisfactory level of performance. One such area is the system involved in concrete placing operations. A deterministic analysis of these processes may not allow for the random distribution of system actions, resulting in unrealistic system attributes. The process of concrete batching, transport and finally placement is subject to interruption, irregularity and fluctuation and can be treated as a stochastic system. To enable contractors to deliver the highest quality of service it is fundamental that these uncertainties are managed as best as possible. Accordingly, this paper follows the flow and transfer of the concrete placing process and “lean” techniques can be applied in order to investigate the process efficiency. For this study, examples are presented using data gathered over a two-year period from a major civil engineering project in the North-West of England. The data consists of the relevant times from over seventy concrete pours. The majority of concrete operations observed involved concrete being pumped into formwork, which was seen to be a complex queueing system.


Concreting operations, queueing systems, stochastic systems, concreting productivity, construction simulation



Dunlop, P. & Smith, S. 2000, 'A Non-Deterministic Investigation of the Concrete Placing System' In:, 8th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Brigthon, UK, 17-19 Jul 2000.

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