Whether your business manufactures, processes, stores, or ships, you deserve a streamlined, reliable industrial facility — one that promotes logistical, operational, and energy efficiencies; maximizes productive capacity; and ultimately, allows you to do what you do best to outperform the competition.

In this "Building a Facility to Last" series, we're digging into four game-changing elements anyone embarking on the development and construction of an industrial facility needs to consider:



In a demanding market supporting a "just-in-time" approach to business, high performance industrial buildings are expected to deliver efficiency, versatility, and resilience. Compounded by growing real estate costs and a trend toward automation, facilities are being built to a higher standard.

Increased demands on concrete floors have caused the industry to reexamine one of the weakest links in a slab system – floor joints.

Creekside Commerce Center

Contraction (saw cut), isolation, expansion, and construction joints – when properly detailed, located, installed and protected – reduce cracking and protect concrete from deterioration. The American Concrete Institute recommends joint spacings no more than 12-15 feet apart, depending on slab thickness and shrinkage rate (ACI 360R-10).

When floor joints are not properly introduced, long-term durability issues in the form of spalling under traffic, uneven settlement, delamination, curling, and a reduction in load transfer capacity can occur.

So how do you balance the need for floor joints while managing their associated risks?

The devil is in the details. With a plethora of joint options available, selecting the right option for each specific joint location based upon the floor’s use and slab design is critical to preventing dominant joints, load transfer joint wear, and out-of-joint random cracking.

One size does not fit all. Upfront coordination to properly size, configure, and sequence concrete placements, coupled with strategically locating contraction joints to minimize use in rack aisles and high traffic areas, will pay dividends.

Inspect what you expect. Proper positioning of crack-control reinforcing and dowels – horizontal and vertical – is key to preventing random cracking and joint displacement. Contraction joints must be cut to the proper depth to ensure they activate and serve as crack control measures.

Protect your investment. Sealing floor joints can ensure longstanding performance. Critical areas such as speed bays and under rack aisles are especially important to seal, preventing moisture intrusion and accommodating the heavy loads typical in those locations.

Is there a way to reduce the quantity of joints and still manage the risk of cracking?

For many owners, extended-joint floors reinforced with steel or synthetic fibers are a revolutionary solution to this age-old problem. The fibers create a more homogeneous concrete mixture, discouraging the natural settlement and segregation of ingredients. The evenly-distributed fibers provide improved mechanical bonding and reduced concrete cracking and curling in critical areas.

The benefits are immediate, preventing early-age shrinkage cracking in freshly placed concrete. Both synthetic and steel fibers increase impact and abrasion resistance, with more tensile strength and increased structural integrity over time. These qualities allow for the safe reduction of joints up to 50-80% without increasing the thickness of the slab.

Speculative warehouses are successfully incorporating extended-joint floor construction in speed bays. Speed bays, adjacent to loading areas, are used to move goods in a quick, efficient manner, providing only short-term storage.

They are typically 60 feet from the dock wall to the first interior column. This area endures heavy, repetitive, and often higher-speed traffic.

Extended-joint construction provides versatility in flooring construction, balancing the right joint spacing, dosage levels, and floor thickness to meet your needs and budget.

Stay tuned to learn about new trends in Interior Amenities in Part 4 of this industrial construction series, coming soon, or check out Parts 1 - 3 here.

You've got the basics now; get in touch with a Choate industrial expert to learn more. Email us directly! Or visit our portfolio pages to see more industrial and food & beverage project experience.

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Choate Construction