Case Study

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

Project Details

Ready-mix supplier recommends Smart™ Concrete to achieve breakthrough efficiencies and reduced costs

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

-Rachel Brown


  • Tight construction schedule
  • Humid conditions with concerns over time to achieve compressive strength


  • Ready Mix supplier recommends Smart™ Concrete with real-time wireless sensors


  • Ability to accelerate schedule and move to steel in half the time
  • 40 percent reduction in break test costs
  • Significant overall savings and gains in project efficiency

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 strategic facilities planning.

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.

Ready Mix Supplier recommends Smart™ Concrete

Angelle Materials & Concrete, one of the premier suppliers of concrete in the Baton Rouge area, recommended Smart Concrete 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 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

Smart Concrete is fast becoming the preferred technology by ready-mix producers and contractors alike across North America. With Smart Concrete, 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.

Smart Concrete 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 Smart Concrete, 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 Smart Concrete, 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 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 fo 'Smart Concrete' for our customers in the Baton Rouge area.

-Allan Sanchez

Reduced break tests by half

Initially, Labarre continued with the 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 Smart Concrete sensors. “They’re very straightforward to attach to the rebars and easy to use,” says Taylor Robert, Superintendent On-Site. Taylor admits he wasn’t sure what to expect with this first-time use of Smart Concrete. “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 Smart Concrete,” he says, reinforcing what Brown expressed. “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,” he adds.

Break test costs reduced by 40 percent

While eliminating cylinder breaks is not always desirable or possible given State legislation, in Labarre’s experience, Smart Concrete “definitely reduces” the need for third-party testing. “On this project alone it [Smart Concrete] 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 Smart Concrete is an all-round improvement and tremendously valuable,” concludes Robert.

Project Details