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  Nationwide Industrial Concrete Flooring Contractors & Concrete Finishing Specialists

Back Concrete Floor Tolerances Explained

18th February 2019

All concrete floors are finished to a specific tolerance, in order to ensure that they are well-suited for their intended usage. It’s important to get the tolerance of your concrete floor correct; specifying too high a tolerance can result in higher installation costs than necessary, whilst choosing too low a tolerance will mean your concrete floor is less suitable for its environment and therefore more likely to fail.

As experienced concrete contractors, our concrete finishers fully understand tolerances, and have the knowledge and expertise to adjust their installation methods accordingly. We can provide our clients with any advice they need regarding which tolerance would be right for their industrial flooring. Contact us today to talk to a member of our team.

What does concrete tolerance mean?

The tolerance of a concrete floor slab refers to a wide range of properties. The majority of industrial concrete floors are finished to ‘free movement classification’ or FM for short, as specified by The Concrete Society in TR34. A ‘free movement’ concrete floor means that vehicles, like forklifts, can be driven around on it without encountering many pillars or other obstacles.

How is the tolerance of a concrete floor measured?

FM tolerance concrete floors are surveyed according to flatness and levelness. You may assume that both are identical measurements, however, a concrete floor slab can be flat but not level and visa versa. An 100% flat and level concrete floor will be at a 90-degree angle to the wall and entirely smooth, with no bumps or unevenness.

An independent surveyor can check your concrete floor following installation, to see if the correct tolerance has been achieved by your contractor. 

Calculating concrete levelness

As part of the survey, the surveyor will calculate the concrete slab’s levelness using a theodolite or laser level, which measures the height of the concrete at two adjacent points. The difference between these elevations is then calculated to give the concrete floor’s Property E value (levelness).

Calculating concrete flatness

A machine called a profilograph is used to evaluate the flatness of a concrete slab and is essentially a trolley on wheels that is moved over the surface and records when the floor changes. The surveyor will then transfer this information onto a graph, which will show how much of the concrete floor is within tolerance.


If you need our expert advice regarding the tolerance of your concrete flooring project, don't hesitate to get in touch. Our concrete finishers are highly experienced installing concrete floors to a range of tolerance specifications. Call us today on 01590 676 585 to get started.

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