Over the past several decades, interest in recycling and reusing a wide range of materials has grown. Build project managers, construction contractors, and demolition teams need to be aware of the benefits that can be gained with recycled aggregate concrete and other such materials. 

As we head into 2021, one thing is certain—the costs of raw materials are on the rise while at the same time construction projects have not yet fully resumed their pre-COVID levels. As a contractor or stakeholder in a construction project, one needs to be aware of these increases and the impacts they can have on project costs.

Some of the materials that are seeing increases include:

  • Lumber
  • Aggregate
  • Concrete
  • Sand
  • Plastics

According to the AGC (Associated General Contractors) 2020 price index, the costs for lumber and plywood rose 36.1% for 2020. Concrete products, in general, saw a 2.6% overall, with precast concrete products experiencing a 4.6% increase.1 

Granted, the increase in concrete products may not seem that significant. Yet, the slight increase could make a huge difference in the profits left over after completing a construction project. As the ‘21 season shapes up, the costs of aggregate, concrete, and asphalt will continue to skyrocket even further.

Why have aggregate and concrete products increased?

There were already some things in play before the pandemic. Combined with the pandemic, it has created a situation where prices went up and are anticipated to continue to increase through 2021.

For starters, sand pits and quarries were already facing challenges at securing a steady supply of materials. In some cases, there were changes in certain state’s regulations regarding permitting, making it more difficult to replenish reserves. In other cases, the sites are simply depleted of certain materials, with no estimated time frame when they will be replenished, partly due to COVID.

Next, new construction projects are taking shape in more rural areas. Since the projects are further from material resources, delivery costs are more. Therefore, the total costs of materials are more. 

The quality of aggregate has become more important at certain quarries. These quarries have restricted the use of certain aggregate materials to asphalt- and concrete-quality standards. As a result, their capacities of aggregate materials were reduced, creating an imbalance between supply and demand. 

What can contractors and project managers do to control costs?

One thing we have noticed is more and more contractors and project managers are investing in portable micro crushers to use on job sites. The micro crushers can be used to recycle old concrete, asphalt, granite, limestone, basalt, and pebbles found on a site. 

Contractors and project managers can take advantage of recycling materials to create the base materials required for fill. By doing so, they reduce the amount of new material they need to purchase to complete the project. 

Portable MICRO crushers are filling a niche to allow contractors an affordable option to have more control over project costs as new material costs soar. Plus, they are perfect for those demolition projects where the existing site may lack sufficient materials to justify the cost of a large crusher for aggregate production. 

Not to mention, micro crushers are perfect for job sites with small footprints and limited space for crushing and recycling aggregate. 

Contractors create positive profit margins with MICRO crushers.

MICRO crushers help offset and even eliminate the costs required to purchase materials for the project. Another benefit they provide contractors is helping to reduce and/or eliminate disposal costs of old concrete. 

Any time old concrete is removed as part of a demo., there are disposal costs that can eat into profit margins, including hauling fees, landfill tipping fees, and so on. These disposal costs can easily exceed the costs of investing in a MICRO crusher to recycle and crush material on site. 

By recycling aggregate and concrete from a demo, contractors have more control over the project costs and how they affect their profit margins. Contractors also need to look at the big picture. 

Thanks to the portability of MICRO crushers, they are easily moved from one job site to the next. By recycling aggregate and concrete on multiple projects, it is only a short matter of time before the investment in a micro crusher pays for itself. Additionally, the ability to positive profit margins for each project is greatly increased. 

There are other benefits contractors gain by recycling aggregate and concrete.

Contractors can enjoy other benefits of recycling aggregate and concrete by investing in a micro crusher for their projects, including:

1. It is great for LEED Green Building Certification.

If you want to earn additional points toward your LEED certification, you can, by using recycled concrete. 

2. Contractors can claim they are environmentally friendly.

Recycled granite, limestone, basalt, pebbles, etc. are all kept out of landfills. Plus, contractors can limit the number of new materials required for their projects.

3. It can help improve your bottom line.

Even if your project stakeholders want to use all-new materials, you could still crush the concrete and sell it off to another contractor or use it for another project.

4. It could create new job opportunities.

You will need someone to operate the micro crusher. Plus, you may need additional employees to help move the existing concrete to the crusher.

5. It gives you a tremendous advantage in bidding jobs in both cost and the “recycled” factor resulting in more jobs at higher profit margins.

Final Considerations

When deciding whether to recycle aggregate and concrete by investing in a MICRO crusher, you should look at your past projects. What was the disposal costs of your demo? Could it have been crushed and reused for the project?

How much did you spend on new materials? How much could you have saved with recycled aggregate and concrete? Did the project allow the use of recycled crushed materials?

By answering these questions, you can start to determine if a micro crusher is right for your construction business.

Another consideration is how well a MICRO crusher will fit with your existing equipment. Portable MICRO crushers have to be fed small- and medium-sized pieces of concrete. These can be fed using a backhoe or loader. However, larger sections of concrete do have to be broken down. 

This balance between crusher size and breaker use is essential to ensure a MICRO crusher is the right choice for you. If it is not, there are larger portable crushers that may be better-suited to your specific needs and requirements. 

With construction material prices increasing dramatically, investing in a portable MICRO crusher can give you more control over your project costs and help boost your profit margins. For help selecting the right crusher to recycle aggregate, concrete, asphalt, cement, granite, limestone, pebbles, etc., please feel free to contact Senya Crushers at 919-323-4830 today!