Commercial Concrete

Concrete is in our blood.

Concrete is in our blood. You might have a building project that you need to have the foundations and slabs constructed. Maybe your concrete is a composite deck infill on the 38th floor of a downtown high-rise building. Raffin has been building with concrete for over a hundred years, and after five generations we are still building it strong.

Concrete for Building Foundations

Every building needs a solid foundation, and nothing is more solid than concrete. The purpose of a building foundation is to evenly distribute and transfer the weight, or load, of the building into the ground. Building foundations can vary in complexity depending on the building load and the soil below the building. Some foundations are simple, while others require more complex engineering.

Simple, shallow foundations transfer the building’s loads through a spread footing pad or a continuous footing pad into the ground below. Usually in this case the soils below are granular or stiff clay soils.

More complex foundation systems work to transfer the load deep into the ground below. The load is transferred using either a deep concrete column in the ground called a caisson or a steel column driven into the ground called a pile. The building is built on top of concrete caps and grade beams that encase the top of the caissons and piles. The building loads are transferred down into the deep foundation system into either a strong layer of soil below or a layer of bedrock.

After laying the foundation, a concrete floor slab must be laid. The building’s concrete floor slab is typically a simple concrete slab placed directly onto the ground. The challenges for the slab depend on the proposed floor finishes (such as tile, carpet, or polished concrete) and the moisture mitigation that is therefore involved. Most floor slabs have a 6 to 15 mil. thick plastic vapor barrier to keep moisture from migrating up from the sub-base below to the surface of the slab. In some instances, depending on the construction schedule, admixtures can be added to the concrete to trap the internal moisture inside the slab and keep it from reaching the surface.

Logistically Challenging Concrete Projects

Raffin is highly experienced in forming and placing concrete for logistically challenging projects. These projects are typically in high-rise buildings in busy urban downtown settings. Interior buildout modifications done to upper floors of a high rise building often involve either infilling existing floor openings with concrete or creating new concrete openings for stairs, mechanical, etc.

The need for additional space in these buildings may involve adding mezzanine composite deck levels between floors. New or modified mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in these buildings will often require concrete pads to support equipment, encasing with concrete elevated electrical conduit runs, and patching slab cuts for underground pipe runs.   

This work will usually require bringing concrete ready-mix trucks into a building’s loading dock. Concrete buggies are then used to wheel concrete into the freight elevators and up to the required floor. Another option is to pump concrete from street level through a hose to the correct floor.

These projects require proper planning, coordinating with building operations personnel, specialty city permits, and knowledge of the particular urban environment. Choosing a contractor such as Raffin who has the experience doing this logistically challenging work is critical to an overall successful project.

Planning a commercial concrete project?

Start a conversation with us today and learn how we can bring our experience and expertise to your project.