How to calculate concrete volume

3 min read

Concrete is an instrumental component of the construction industry. Used widely to form the slabs and foundations of the majority of residential homes within North America, it plays a critical role in ensuring a successful build. Incorrect calculations in the volume of concrete required could have a detrimental domino effect, affecting the timings of a project with negative financial implications.

Depending on the nature of your project, you may want to consider the type of materials you’ll need.

Concrete vs. cement: What’s the difference?

While the average consumer may assume that both terms refer to the same material, cement is actually one of the ingredients used to make concrete. Both materials appear to have similar applications but Cement is often used in smaller projects as it contains finer aggregates, like fragments of gravel and rock, making it less durable than concrete. Concrete is used in larger projects, often to create structural components of a build.

If you’re using concrete in a large build, chances are that you’ll be working in volumes that could mean a greater margin of error. Here’s how to calculate the right amount of concrete required for your next project.

Finding the right measurements for concrete volume

Concrete is generally ordered in cubic yards, however, the majority of building plans work with measurements in feet or meters. This can add to the challenge of calculating the total amount of concrete required as it means converting measurements from feet, or meters to yards.

Let’s start with the basics. You will need to know three measurements: width, length, and height (or depth). To calculate the volume of any material, multiply the length by the width, and then multiply that number by the height:

(L) x (W) x (H) = (V)

Calculations for converting measurements to cubic yards

For our example, we’ll be using a length of 20 feet, a width of 8 inches, and a height of 6 feet.

20ft (L) x 8” (W) x 6ft (H) = 80ft3 (cubic feet).

As our measurements were in feet, the volume calculated is in cubic feet so we still need to convert our figure into cubic yards. 27 cubic feet is the equivalent of 1 cubic yard, therefore, we need to divide our figure by 27:

80ft3 / 27 = 2.96 cubic yards.

If you’re working in meters, convert cubic meters to cubic yards by multiplying the total by 1.308. For example:

10m (L) x 20cm (W) x 1.8m (H) = 3.60 cubic meters.

Then 3.60m3 x 1.308 = 4.71 cubic yards.

Manually calculating the volume of concrete needed for your next project can take up valuable time, more so if you’re mixing in additional materials to adjust the compressive strength of your concrete. However, with the right construction estimating software you can have accurate volume and quantities of materials, as well as the total costs, automatically calculated for you.

Additionally, using a construction estimating software like CostCertified allows you access to additional integrations, like AutoCost, which can help to ensure that the cost of your materials in your construction quotes are always correct, with accurate, marketing-related pricing.

If you want to easily manage your material requirements for accurate construction quotes, book a CostCertified demo today.


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