Aggregates form a vital part of the UK construction industry. Worksites large and small will need to store some amount of aggregates at one point or another, whether for large scale jobs such as a housing development, or something as simple as laying concrete slabs.
We’ve covered the different kinds of aggregates in the past, but in this article we’re looking at another important consideration: storage. What are the best storage practices for aggregates? Read on to find out.
The space required for your aggregates, naturally, depends on how much you plan to store at any given time. If you plan to receive regular deliveries of aggregates in smaller amounts, then how much space you devote to storage can be minimised. For larger stockpiles, much more space will be needed.
Your storage area should be segmented from the rest of the site, in order to maintain a clear structure. Ideally, aggregates will be protected from the elements – wind and rain, primarily. So walls and an overhead covering are recommended.
Also think about how – and how often – you’ll need access to your aggregates. Your storage area should be easy for personnel to access, for the transfer of aggregates across your site as well as during delivery. Think about what kind of machinery might be needed to deposit or collect your aggregates – and plan for any traffic issues that might occur on larger sites with multiple mobile construction vehicles and foot personnel.
Choose flat, level ground
All aggregates should be stored on hard, flat and level ground within your site. This ground should be clean and kept as free from moisture as possible. Stacks of aggregates should be separated with retaining walls, and the storage space itself walled off from the surrounding worksite.
If dry, flat, level ground is unavailable – or not enough is available for your entire stockpile – platforms can be constructed instead. Build elevated, flat platforms out of timber or corrugated iron and stack your aggregates on these.
If your project requires multiple types of aggregates, these need to be separated in order to avoid contamination. Keep different classes of aggregates a good distance apart, and use dividing walls to ensure that stacks do not cross over. If not walls, then bulk timber can be used.
Keep coarse and fine aggregates distanced from each other, and prioritise storing finer aggregates – such as sand – away from windier areas. Extra structure might be needed to provide sufficient protection from the wind.
Stack your aggregates in stacks of consistent size. A pyramid stack is recommended, but try not to build each pyramid too high.If you have a lot of the same kind of aggregates, split them up into multiple stacks.
Different aggregates will require varying levels of moisture content, so monitoring and controlling the presence of moisture is an important storage consideration. Periodically inspect your aggregate stockpile to see whether or not the storage conditions need to be re-assessed. Keeping your aggregates separated allows you to monitor and control moisture content for each classification individually.
Receiving delivery of aggregates
How you treat aggregates during delivery could impact their quality. As long as your aggregates are unloaded and transported correctly and consistently, you shouldn’t have any problems.
If possible, unload aggregates directly in the storage area – forming the pyramid-shaped stack from the outset. Try to avoid unloading aggregates from a high ground – as the wind can scatter finer particles. Also make sure your site is as clean as possible before delivery. Even minute contamination can reduce the strength, consistency or performance of aggregates should they be used to form a concrete mix.
Hinton’s Waste provide quality supply of aggregates and hardcore for building projects across South and West London. We supply Type 1 and Type 2 aggregates, suitable for a range of construction projects both commercial and domestic. Our friendly team of experts can advise on the most appropriate class of aggregates for your project, and we always aim for a prompt and professional service so your work is never delayed. To find out more, contact us today.