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What is a Volumetric Concrete Mixer, and what is the new legislation?

What is a Volumetric Concrete Mixer, and what is the new legislation?

Volumetric concrete mixers are an important tool in the modern construction industry, allowing contractors and specialists to mix concrete on the go. Originally conceived during the 1950s, volumetric concrete mixers only became popular in the 1990s thanks to new technology that made them more efficient and easier to operate.

What is a volumetric concrete mixer?

A volumetric mixer is a mobile concrete batching plant which carries raw materials, and is able to mix concrete on-site. The mixer itself is mounted to a truck, which means that a contractor is able to transport the mixer from site to site, producing the exact amount of concrete needed for each job.

In contrast, traditional drum mixers are loaded with a specific ratio of raw materials before they arrive on-site, so they always produce a specific amount and type of concrete. Volumetric mixers avoid this problem by letting you mix different ratios of raw materials on-site to suit the specific needs of the project.

How does a volumetric concrete mixer work?

Volumetric mixers contain separate compartments for the different materials used to make concrete, including:

  • Cement, which binds the rest of the materials together
  • Aggregates like sand or gravel
  • Water, which helps the materials to mix and activates the binding process
  • Admixtures or additives that modify the concrete to suit different applications.

The raw materials are loaded into their respective compartments, and the mixer is transported to the job site. The contractor is then able to funnel the materials into the mixing chamber in different proportions to suit the needs of the project.

For example, a volumetric mixer could use a normal ratio of materials to produce a standard strength concrete for one job in the morning, and then later go on to use a different ratio of materials for a job that requires high-strength concrete in the afternoon. The mixer would need to be thoroughly cleaned between jobs to prevent cross-contamination.

Volumetric mixers are usually equipped with weight sensors and sophisticated controls that allow the contractor to monitor and adjust each mix as required.

What are the benefits of volumetric concrete mixers?

Volumetric mixers offer a number of important benefits for any user

  1. Flexibility. By their nature, volumetric mixers are more flexible than traditional mixers because they allow you to adjust the mix on-site and mix different kinds of concrete using the same machine, monitoring the overall quality and volume of concrete produced with accuracy.
  2. Efficiency. Volumetric concrete mixers reduce the risk of over-ordering or over-producing concrete by letting you mix the specific volume of concrete required for each job. Less concrete will be wasted, since you only mix what you need.
  3. Cost Saving. Further to this, volumetric mixers save money for both contractors and clients by reducing the need for manual labour (since the mixer can perform tasks that would need manual input in a traditional mixer), reducing transportation costs and reducing concrete wastage.

What do I need to drive a volumetric concrete mixer?

In recent years, the legislation surrounding volumetric concrete mixers has been subject to some changes. It can be difficult to determine the exact requirements for legally operating a volumetric concrete mixer, although specific regulations have been introduced to make things clearer.

Prior to 2018, volumetric concrete mixers were considered “engineering plant”, rather than as goods vehicles. To drive a goods vehicle, you need to hold a Category C (HGV) driving license. Meanwhile, you only need a Category B (Standard) license to drive engineering plant, although you also usually require a certificate of professional competence (a CPC) in your given speciality.

However, this meant that volumetric concrete mixers regularly operated at very high weights, sometimes up to 40 tonnes, when HGVs were limited to 32 tonnes. To tackle this, the Department of Transport announced some changes to this legislation in April 2018 through an open letter.

These changes mean that volumetric concrete mixers are now considered HGVs for the purposes of licensing, meaning volumetric mixer operators now need to comply with a number of regulations that apply to HGVs. This includes a limit on drivers’ hours and working times, implementing tachographs, and importantly, restrictions on vehicle weights. For more information, check out Utranazz’s New Volumetric Legislation guide.

Weight Restrictions and Vehicle Special Orders (VSOs)

These changes mean that operators of volumetric concrete mixers now need to pay close attention to the weight of their vehicles, ensuring they fall within a specified range depending on the number of axles on the vehicle. One of the biggest issues with these changes is that many active volumetric mixers operated above these weight restrictions before 2018.

In order to allow these vehicles to continue operating, temporary measures have been introduced to ensure while companies and contractors make the changes needed to comply with the new regulations.

Operators were able to apply for a Vehicle Special Order (VSO) with the Vehicle Certification Agency to ensure they could still operate mixers which fell outside of these restrictions. The VSO lasts until 31st March 2028, by which point operators should have made the relevant changes to ensure compliance. However, a vehicle will also lose its VSO once it reaches the 12th anniversary of its first registration.


Volumetric concrete mixers also now require HGV operator licenses (O licenses) to drive as well as an HGV license. Volumetric concrete mixers are considered HGVs in many other aspects of compliance, so you still need to be aware that you’ll be subject to EC drivers’ hours and tachograph legislation to operate a volumetric concrete mixer.

Volumetric Concrete Mixers from Utranazz

If you have further questions regarding these legislative changes or your responsibilities when driving a volumetric concrete mixer, make sure to consult our legislation guide or visit the relevant government department:

  • The DVSA for information on weight restrictions and safety.
  • The DVLA for information on licensing requirements.
  • for other enquiries.

At Utranazz, we pride ourselves on supplying the highest quality used, new, and for-hire volumetric concrete mixers across the globe. If you’d like to inquire about or options, or if you’re looking for more information on our services, make sure to get in touch with us by phone, email, or through our contact form here.

What is a Volumetric Concrete Mixer, and what is the new legislation?

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