ACI 117 provides an excellent guide for tolerances for concrete structures. Although shotcrete is concrete, ACI 117 specifically excludes shotcrete because shotcrete’s unique method of placement permits a wider variety of applications and uses than that of form-and-pour concrete. Shotcrete can generally be finished to the tolerances required for the application. For example, lining a channel might not need close tolerance control, while an Olympic luge/sledding track or skateboard park may require very exacting tolerances. ACI 506.2-16, “Specification for Shotcrete,” in the Tolerances section (and the Mandatory checklist item) requires the specifier producing the contract documents to provide the tolerances required for the project. ACI 506R-16, “Guide to Shotcrete,” Section 3.8, Tolerances, provides a more descriptive commentary. Pertinent portions of that section include:

  • Tolerances provide an indication of the finished product expected by the owner, but meeting tolerances may require additional effort and cost. Tolerances given by ACI 117.1R, for placement of reinforcing steel, cover over reinforcing steel, and overall alignment of cast-in-place structural members should be generally the same for shotcrete. Tolerances that require distinct values for shotcrete construction are cross-sectional dimensions, cover, and surface finish (or flatness). Therefore, specifying tolerances that can be consistently achieved are needed so that project expectations can be met at a reasonable cost.
  • Specified tolerances should be based on use and function and can be the same as concrete, but are typically broader. Some finished surface tolerances may be waived to achieve proper coverage over existing reinforcement.

Although some shotcrete structures have been allowed greater tolerances than allowed for concrete, shotcrete structures can be built to the same degree of accuracy and tolerance as cast-in-place concrete.

You should review the entirety of Section 3.8, Tolerances, in ACI 506R-16 to get a complete description of tolerances for shotcrete placements.