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Masters Thesis Proposal

Case Study on Ready Mixed Concrete Industry

In Ethiopian Construction
Industry, its advantages And Challenges

Haftamu Girmay

Addis Ababa University School of Graduate Studies

Construction Technology and Management

Professor Abebe Dinku
Department of Civil Engineering

June 26, 2008
Contents of Thesis Proposal:

o Motivation and Focus

o Parties Involved in Construction Projects
o Ready Mixed Concrete Advantages
o Ready Mixed Concrete Industry Status in the world
o Feasibility of the introduction of the Industry
o Benefit of my Research for the Construction Industry
o Methodology
o Time Table
o Chapter Outline of Thesis
o Reference


Ready mixed concrete is a specialized material in which cement, aggregate, and other

ingredients of concrete are weigh batched at a plant in a central or truck mixer before delivery to

the construction site in a condition ready for placing by the customer

The main topic of discussion for my thesis will be analyzing the feasibility of

introduction of this industry to our country’s construction industry, its advantages and challenges.

There are three main parties in the RMC industry; the supplier, contractor who is in charge of

placing the concrete, the designer who is responsible for designing structures and specifies the

quality of the material and inspects it execution methods. Each of these parties in the will be at

one point fully responsible for the quality of the supplied concrete during or after its


Ready mixed concrete is first patented in Germany in 1903, but means of transporting

was not sufficiently developed by then to enable the concept to be utilized commercially. The

first commercial delivery of ready mixed concrete was made in Baltimore, USA in 1913 and the

first revolving-drum-type transit mixer, of a much smaller capacity than those available to day,

was born in 1926. In 1920s and 1930s, ready mixed concrete was introduced in some European


The ‘short’ life of fresh concrete, with only 2 to 3 hours before it must be placed, results in ready

mixed concrete being a very much local delivery service which is manufactured at a place away

from the construction site, the two locations being linked with by a transport operation, with

rarely 30-60 minutes journey. RMC has to be both a product and a delivery service and it has fit

in with the consumer’s construction program. Hence the ready mixed concrete supplier is in two

separate businesses, processing materials and transporting product with a very short life.

When we refer to the customer, we are speaking in effect of two customers. As far as the product

is concerned, concrete must satisfy not only the person who is using it, the builder or contractor,

but also the authority responsible for defining the properties. However, the ready mixed supplier

has only one contract and that is with the builder or contractor and relies on the latter to define

exactly the requirements of the specifying authority (engineer). The introduction of ready mixed

concrete has gradually replaced the operation in which the contractor made his own concrete on

site. When RMC is first introduced, engineers and contractors with considerable expertise in

concrete production and quality control were suspicious of the quality of this new product,

whose manufacture was no longer under their control. Ready mixed concrete suppliers need to

have stringent quality control for their product and its delivery, so that customer’s apprehensions

regarding the quality of concrete supplied by them are taken care. It will take a while before the

customer places his confidence and trust in the product and services offered by the supplier.

Through literature surveys, I am currently researching and will explain in full detail the different

types Batching plants in the world and the status of the industry world wide will be presented in

the introduction and first section of my thesis.

The two parties, the contractor and the engineer, expect a lot from the RMC supplier

regarding the assurance of the quality of his product. Ready-mix concrete is a type of concrete

that is manufactured in a factory or batching plant, according to a set recipe, and then delivered

to a worksite, by truck mounted transit mixers. This results in a precise mixture, allowing

specialty concrete mixtures to be developed and implemented on construction sites. Ready-mix

concrete is sometimes preferred over on-site concrete mixing because of the precision of the

mixture and reduced worksite confusion. However, using a pre-determined concrete mixture

reduces flexibility, both in the supply chain and in the actual components of the concrete. The

advantage versus the challenges will be critically analyzed and it will be verified that Ready

Mixed Concrete, due to the ability to customize its properties for different applications and its

strength and durability to withstand a wide variety of environmental conditions, is one of the

most versatile and economical building materials than the currently used site mixed concrete.


The information regarding the ready Mixed Concrete, advantages, and challenges, will be

collected through a literature survey on the topic of Ready Mixed Conrete. This information

includes the work of others, but it is to be used only to set the stage for my thesis work. A

thorough understanding of why Ready Mixed Concrete is preferable than site mixed concrete

and what will be the social and environmental challenges in doing so should be addressed

besides its quality and economical benefits and the role of each party should be identified and


Quantitative data of Ready Mixed Concrete suppliers in the world industry will be

collected regard to size, location, initial investment, and the type of the plants and will be

customized to suit the Ethiopian construction context. From this data collected on the industry’s

status. I will be able to indicate the feasibility of the introduction of the industry to our country’s

construction industry with respect to the benefit of the Ready Mixed Concrete by minimizing its


The next phase of research will be observational research of the process that takes place

to determine which party will responsible for what type of failure or inconveniences in the

supply of Ready Mixed Concrete from the Ready Mixed Concrete suppliers in Ethiopia and how

to enhance and change their experience in to Ready Mixed Concrete Industry of Ethiopia. This

will most likely include sitting in on meetings between the contractors, Ready Mixed Concrete

suppliers, owners of the project, and project managers on site.

Time Table:

September 2008:
Selection of advisor from department in intended research area. Definition of thesis topic was
finalized and the initial search for literature began.

November 2008:
Complete literature survey of Ready Mixed Concrete Industry. Begin formal thesis introduction
on researched material. Thesis proposal is completed and handed in.

December 2008:
Analyze gathered data from World wide Ready Mixed Concrete industry. Collect extra data
from local sources and complete discussion and recommendation, and conclusion sections of

March 2009:
Revise completed rough draft and prepare final thesis presentation.

Chapter Outline of Thesis:

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Objectives and Motivation
1.2 Thesis Organization

Chapter 2: Observation of the Ready Mixed Concrete Industry

2.1 Visual Assessment
2.2 Types of Batching Plants in the market
2.3 Process adopted for different types of plants

Chapter 3: Economical and Environmental Analysis

3.1 Initial cost of the plant
3.2 Construction site location
3.3 Placing and Handling of Concrete Mix
3.4 Temperature Change effects on the supply
3.5 Delivery Methods
3.5 Distance Vs. economy consideration

Chapter 4: Technological benefits of the Ready Mixed Concrete

4.1 Intrinsic Cracks
4.1.1 Plastic Shrinkage
4.1.2 Plastic Settlement
4.1.3 Early Thermal Contraction Cracks
4.1.4 Long-term Shrinkage
4.1.5 Crazing Cracks
4.1.6 Corrosion of Reinforcements
4.1.7 Alkali-Aggregate Reaction
4.2 Flexural and Shear Cracks
4.3 Temperature Cracks
4.4 Manufacturing and Shipment Cracks
4.5 Structural vs. Non-Structural
4.6 Cracks due to Inadequate Loading
4.6.1 Shear Cracks
4.6.2 Torsion Cracks
4.6.3 Tensile Cracks
4.6.4 Compression Cracks
4.6.5 Flexural Cracks
4.7 Miscellaneous Cracks

Chapter 5: Feasibility of the industry to Ethiopian construction industry

5.1 The plant Operation System
5.1.1 Batching plant types
5.1.2 Central Batching type
5.1.3 Method of Mixing

5.1.4 Site Layout
5.1.5 Auxiliary equipments on site
5.1.6 Method of supply of Cement
5.1.7 Material storage requirements
5.1.8 Working hour considerations
5.2 Technological Advancements
5.2.1 Automated Plants
5.2.2 Customization of Products
5.2.3 Logistical advancements

Chapter 6: Responsibility and Specifications of Ready Mixed Concrete

6.1 Designer
6.2 Contractor
6.3 Owner
6.4 Supplier

Chapter 7: Discussion and Conclusions

Chapter8: Summary and Recommendations; Future Research


A.R. Santhakumar, Concrete Technology,Emeritus professor, Department of Civil
engineering,Indian institute of technology (Madras) Chennai1st edition, 2007

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association journal Concrete in practice what, why, and how?
CIP-31-Ordering Ready Mixed Concrete

Chad Syverson, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, and
Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Journal of Economic Perspective, Markets, Ready-Mixed Concrete

U.S Army Corps of Engineers. Evaluation and Repair of Concrete Structures. June, 1995.
Accessed, October 2003.