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Protection of Concrete Work

ASCC Position Statement #40

Most project specifications, including ACI 301-10, “Specifications for Structural Concrete,” contain provisions for protection of concrete work such as the following:

“Protection from mechanical injury—During the curing period, protect concrete from damage by mechanical disturbances, including load induced stresses, shock, and vibration. Protect concrete surfaces from damage by construction traffic, equipment, materials, running water, rain, and other adverse weather conditions.”

The first sentence states, and the second sentence implies, that the required protection is during the curing period. This is reasonable because protecting the concrete during the curing period reduces the likelihood of failing to reach the specified strength. Since 1960, ACI 301 has included this statement regarding protection during the curing period. But some Owners and Construction Managers interpret this specification clause as requiring concrete contractors to protect the concrete until project completion.

For instance, on a sports stadium project, the concrete was required to have a broom finish. After two years of construction, during which the concrete
was used by all trades as a working surface, the broom finish wore unevenly. The Owner believed that the specification clause required the concrete
contractor to protect the surface from damage caused by all trades, even when the concrete contractor was no longer on site. A lawsuit resulted from this interpretation.

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