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Lightweight Concrete

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I have a question for this list, especially for the Southern California folks.

In reading through various steel floor deck catalogs (Verco, BHP Steel, etc.), they all contain multiple tables for slabs with light-weight concrete fill. The strength and fire rating are very appealing along with the overall weight when compared to normal weight concrete.

Most of my previous projects have been in the Portland, Oregon area. I have been told that the one local (60 miles away) quarry that produced light-weight shale aggregate has long been "dried up" and to not even think about specifying this concrete on any of our regional projects. I was also told that even when this aggregate was available, it was very expensive and not commonly used.

I am now working on some hotels in the North Los Angles area and started wondering if light-weight concrete is readily available in other parts of the country and if so, what type of price increase would be expected compared to normal weight concrete? It seems that with the higher seismic loads of California, this type of mix has greater chance of being cost effective.

Anyone care to respond with information on lightweight concrete availability along with any bad (or good) experiences using this for slabs on metal deck?

Thanks in advance

Peder Golberg, P.E.
Portland, Oregon

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