We recently contracted with a shotcrete company to install a shotcrete structure for a swimming pool. After the pool was completed and filled with water, rust stains began emerging through the plaster surface. When we broke out a section of the pool structure, we found that there was little to no coverage of shotcrete over the steel reinforcement. The shotcrete company’s excuse is that they shot the pool to maintain the desired finished depths and widths and there was little to no coverage because the steel was set too high (even if that were the case, they never alerted anyone during the installation). This sounds like an excuse to me. Shouldn’t the shotcrete company we hired make sure that the concrete coverage met or exceeded what the structural engineer called for? Is there any credibility to their explanation of why they didn’t cover the reinforcing bar enough? What is the standard practice for shotcrete installation?
In short, the shotcrete contractor is responsible for maintaining proper cover over the reinforcing steel. The reinforcing bar installer should set the steel in the proper location for achieving the required cover corresponding to the final desired shape. If the shotcrete contractor finds that he cannot maintain proper cover with the reinforcing as placed, however, he needs to communicate to the designer/owner/general contractor that the reinforcing needs to be fixed before he shoots the section in place. There is no excuse for placing shotcrete with less than the specified cover, as shooting it with reduced cover will obviously create a section that has much less durability than intended by the designer.
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