Labarre Associates Inc.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Labarre Reduces Break Test Costs by 40 percent and ‘gets to steel’ 14-days sooner

Break Tests

Time Saved

Costs

PROBLEM

One source, one solution

Labarre is a diversified organization that provides an end to end building solution from site acquisition, design and construction to turnkey facilities management.

Pelican State Credit Union

In 2019, Labarre began construction on the new corporate campus for Pelican State Credit Union in Baton Rouge Louisiana. Expected to be completed by 2020 the project involved a two and three-story building in addition to a large parking lot. The campus is expected to be the first in Louisiana to be compliant with the WELL Building Standard, a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the build that enhance the health of people working there.

Hot, humid conditions create concrete challenges

Humidity control in steamy Baton Rouge creates challenges for concrete pours. Higher humidity levels increase the concrete’s pH levels and can reduce the compressive strength. With a tight schedule to maintain, Labarre was receptive to innovative, out-of-the-box options for assessing concrete strength more quickly than conventional cylinder break-tests allow while maintaining quality and construction velocity.

Labarre case study

Photo Credit: Labarre Associates Inc.

SOLUTION

A Ready-Mix Solution – SmartRock™ Plus

Angelle Materials, one of the premier suppliers of concrete in the Baton Rouge area, recommended SmartRock Plus as a way for Labarre to monitor concrete temperature and strength data in real time. “Angelle brought in a sample core with a sensor embedded and started talking to us about how we would be able to go up to steel a lot quicker,” says Rachel Brown, Architect and Design Optimization Manager for Labarre. “We weren’t sure how it was going to pan out, but it really intrigued us,” she says.

Real-time data means faster decision making

SmartRock Plus is fast becoming the preferred technology by ready-mix producers and contractors alike across North America. With SmartRock Plus, contractors install wireless sensors to the rebar, and immediately monitor temperature and strength data on any iOS or Android app. Real-time data allows major construction projects to move forward more rapidly – often saving weeks and shaving thousands of dollars from construction costs. “Accelerating our schedule would depend on what the sensors say, but we wouldn’t have to wait for the results of 28-day cylinder breaks from our testing agency,” says Brown. “Once we hit 4,000 PSI we could go up with steel,” she adds.

SmartRock Plus revealed that the specified 4,000 PSI took 10-days. “We were able to get columns up 2-weeks after the first section of slab went in and could park on concrete pavement 7-days after the pour,” says Brown. The ability to park on concrete also helped with keeping the site clean because Labarre didn’t have to spend time washing tires every day to keep debris off the roadway.

From 28-days to 2-weeks

Relying on wireless sensor data effectively meant that Labarre could start on the main structure of the building early. “With SmartRock Plus, we moved to steel in half-the-time. Rather than waiting 28-days for results from our testing agency, we knew we were good to go in two-weeks,” confirms Brown.

Although Angelle Materials confidently recommended SmartRock Plus, even owner and Sales Manager Allan Sanchez was impressed saying:

In my 39 years in the concrete industry I have not seen anything like it. The technology is remarkable, incredibly accurate, easy to use, and cost-effective. In return, this adds value and cost savings to our customers. I never thought I would see the day that we could offer this kind of technology to anyone using our product. Angelle Materials and Concrete is proud to be the sole licensed supplier of ‘SmartRock Plus’ for our customers in the Baton Rouge area.

– Allan Sanchez, Owner & Sales Manager, Angelle Materials

RESULTS

Reduced break tests by half

Initially Labarre continued with traditional break test, to make sure the sensor data was aligned with lab results. “Once we had confirmation, it reduced the amount of cylinder break testing that we did by half,” says Brown. However, Labarre still did some break tests, for “extra confirmation.”

For the Pelican State Credit Union campus, Labarre used roughly 30 SmartRock Plus sensors. “They’re very straightforward to attach to the rebars and easy to use,” says Taylor Robert, Superintendent On-Site. Robert admits he wasn’t sure what to expect with this first time use of SmartRock Plus. “Honestly, it was pretty incredible,” he says. “You hold your phone over poured concrete, and the app tells you what the PSI is doing in the moment – pretty cool,” he adds.

Robert was even more impressed with the time savings.

We accelerated our schedule based on the data from SmartRock Plus. Instead of waiting for our concrete break tests results from the lab, we knew 3-days in that we could start driving on the concrete.

– Taylor Robert, Superintendent On-Site, Labarre Associates

Break test costs reduced by 40 percent

While eliminating cylinder breaks is not always desirable or possible given State legislation, in Labarre’s experience, SmartRock Plus “definitely reduces” the need for third party testing. “On this project alone it [SmartRock Plus] cut our cost by 40 percent for the testing agency because they were running fewer cylinders than they normally would,” say Brown. “I think using SmartRock Plus is an all-round improvement and tremendously valuable,” concludes Robert.

Labarre case study

“Rather than waiting 28-days for results from our testing agency, we knew from SmartRock Plus that we were good to go in two-weeks.”

Rachel Brown

Architect & Design Optimization Manager, Labarre Associates

“With SmartRock Plus, we moved to steel in half-the-time. Rather than waiting 28-days for results from our testing agency, we knew we were good to go in two-weeks.”

Rachel Brown

Architect & Design Optimization Manager, Labarre Associates

“In my 39 years in the concrete industry I have not seen anything like it. The technology is remarkable, incredibly accurate, easy to use, and cost-effective. I never thought I would see the day that we could offer this kind of technology to anyone using our product.”

Allan Sanchez

Owner & Sales Manager, Angelle Materials