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Concrete Pre-Pour Checklist

Updated on June 29, 2011

Before proceeding with any concrete pour on a construction site, there are a number of checks required to ensure quality work is being carried out. You, as a responsible project engineer, should NOT authorize a concrete pour without undertaking the following checks. If you don't do these pre-pour checks and your contractor knows this, they can start taking shortcuts to make life easier for themselves at the expense of quality and (potentially) safety.

Image (C)
Image (C)


Whether you're pouring a concrete slab or a wall, you need to check that your formwork has been adequately prepared to receive the concrete. Make sure you check:

  • Dimensions of the forms are as per the construction drawings
  • The forms are plumb (ie dead vertical) and square (90 degrees at the corners)
  • Forms are oiled with "form release" or "bond breaker" so they can be stripped easily away from the concrete when the concrete has sufficient strength.
  • Forms are oiled with "surface retarder" to expose the aggregates at locations where concrete will be poured against that surface in the future.
  • Forms are secured and adequately supported/braced so that when concrete is poured they will retain their shape. (The last thing you need is to have a concrete wall with a bulge in it because the forms were not sufficient for the concrete pressures.)
  • Joints between formwork shutters have been sealed.
  • The formwork is clean ie no extra nails, debris or sand on the bottom of the form that could imbed itself on the base of the concrete.


Checks on reinforcement in concrete:

  • The amount of reinforcement placed is as per the construction drawings - the right spacings and quantity of bars.
  • No shortcuts have been taken for the contractor's convenience ie steel has been cut for ease of placing.
  • There are re-entry bars around openings (to avoid cracking)
  • Reinforcing bars are sufficiently tied - not loose.
  • Cover to reinforcement is adequate - if you stand on reinforcement for a ground slab, it should support your weight and not sag too much.
  • No loose tie wire is left on the ground where the concrete will be poured.
  • Water down reinforcement slightly prior to a concrete pour to ensure it is not too hot (if pouring on a hot day).

Embedded Items

Check that all cast-in items have been installed in the right location prior to a concrete pour. This could include small ferrules, plates or large steel beams. If lifting anchors are required, ensure they are placed as per the manufacturer's specifications to ensure safety when lifting the concrete unit afterwards.

Equipment & Hand Tools

Do you have sufficient hand tools ready to place the concrete?

  • Spare vibrators?
  • Fuel for vibrator available?
  • Equipment to screed and finish the concrete (shovels, trowels, bullfloats)
  • Concrete pump is available?
  • Contingency if the pump breaks down - can you use a crane and kibble in this case?
  • Protective clothing is available for working with concrete - boots, safety glasses, gloves etc

Other checks

There are a lot of other checks that must be carried out before a concrete pour. Make sure an experienced person is available on site in case something does go wrong. Instead of panicking, they will be able to assist with other options. If you undertake the checks listed in this hub, at least you will have taken some reasonable steps to ensure the product is of a high quality.


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    • profile image

      tank9235 5 years ago

      I have placed over 1,000,000 cy of concrete in the past 8 years and this list is perfect for those who either work with concrete on a less consitant basis and is a great qickreview for thoose who are "concrete guru's" we all get complacent as our skill set grows and more often than not the little details come back and haunt as they are usually missed. For all of you who have yet to experience one or many of these come up at 0315 on tuesday morning know what i am talking about..

    • profile image

      Dilshad Ejaz 6 years ago

      i lorn more from this

    • profile image

      Muhammad Tariq 6 years ago

      I am a Civil Engineer. This helped me in better concrete pouring

    • marcofratelli profile image

      marcofratelli 8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks, I'll have to write more about this - I've recently been given the nickname Mr Concrete at work! haha

    • TheLadyCoco profile image

      TheLadyCoco 8 years ago from Georgia

      I am in the concrete business, this information is very informative thanks

    • spranto profile image

      spranto 9 years ago from Portugal

      Nice hub! In University we speak a lot about concrete, but the simplestest and more usefull tips are often forgotten or spoken only in the first class of the semester. Good Tips!

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I used to work for a paving and grading company eons ago, so I know (very) little about concrete. How about one on ABC, asphalt, as well as one that I'm sure will pique the plebian interests around here: the "laydown machine." etc.? Probably not in your realm, eh? Have a good day, Marco!

    • marcofratelli profile image

      marcofratelli 9 years ago from Australia

      That's right! Our specs say once the temperature exceeds 32 degrees celcius outside, then you need to make additional provisions eg put ice into the concrete mix to cool it down.

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Concrete pours are an art in themselves. In the AZ desert (and I'm sure in Australia as well), you have to be very careful with the heat, can't pour too late in the day in the summers, have to have plenty of water on hand, and let it cure at the proper rate. It's tricky, but that's where the expertise of a good concrete person is tantamount!