Collins admits that a footing system can be a substantial investment at the beginning, but one of the key factors with reusable aluminum forms is that components don't need replacing year after year. In fact, Collins says he thinks over the course of three years his Fine Line Footings system has certainly paid for itself.
Since Form-A-Drain stays in place instead of being stripped like conventional wood forms, Del Greco says he has seen a savings of at least one day's time when using this footing system. This savings can be especially important if you are on a tight schedule. "Once an owner calculates what one day in saved time costs him - construction management team, laborers, rental of site facilities, site trailers, etc. - that is the true savings, not just the differential between wood forms versus Form-A-Drain," he says.
Financial savings is also possible with the Form-A-Drain system. The initial cost may be more than lumber, but that isn't the only factor Del Greco considers. Not only can you save on the lumber you don't have to constantly replace, but you also save on labor because Form-A-Drain does not require stripping, Del Greco says. "In the long run it's probably not too much more expensive but has way higher performance, which to me is more important," Del Greco says. You have to measure on value not just what it costs to pour footings, he adds.
Watterson admits to having had some concerns about switching to the EZ-Footings forming system. "When we bought them they hadn't been around long enough to know what the life expectancy was," he says. But, so far Watterson hasn't needed to replace any forms, and after using one set of EZ-Footings for six months, the company decided to buy another set so it could run two footing crews.
When Watterson Bros. used wood planks, the boards would often overlap which created extra concrete. Watterson says with the EZ-Footings he no longer has to worry about wasting concrete. Using a system like this also helps to keep your employees around, Watterson says. "Once somebody has used these they don't want to go back to doing it any other way. It does keep your help around," he says. And that can be a major savings for any concrete contractor.
"It's really the best thing we've ever done," Watterson says about switching to the EZ-Footings system. "We're kind of against change - you know if you've been doing something the same for 25 or 30 years. This is the only time we've ever gotten away from the same way we've always done things, and it's certainly been an improvement."