Cost and Carbon: Concept V4 

Already a widely used and trusted conceptual design tool, to compare costs of concrete frame options, the recently updated Version 4 now includes a ranking in terms of embodied carbon. The addition of the embodied carbon comparison means that this software tool can now help designers assess solutions and understand the influence of frame choice on cost, programme and embodied carbon. The tool is completely free to use and can be easily updated with user defined cost and carbon data.  

Download the Concept Design Tool - Version 4

Watch our on-demand walkthrough to guide users through the software. Feedback from those that have watched the webinar and used the tool include "Powerful tool at concept stage of a project."
and "An amazing tool, it should form a part of all structural engineers' toolkits."

How to use Concept: Cost and Carbon

Download a How To guide, with step-by-step instructions can be freely downloaded to support use of the tool.

To use the tool it is as simple as:

  • Open the file concept.xls using Microsoft Excel.
  • The spreadsheet uses macros, so you must ‘enable macros’ when asked.

Some quick tips for users: 

  • Cells containing blue text are for data entry.
  • Values in red or with a red background indicate errors.
  • Do not copy and paste from one cell to another – this may cause errors.
  • To get started, press ‘Start’ in the welcome sheet, and then use navigation area to proceed though the design stages. 

Find out more about Concept: Cost and Carbon

The Concept version 4 spreadsheet compares conceptual designs to Eurocode 2 for 13 forms of reinforced concrete construction, then ranks them in order of cost, programme or embodied carbon. It is intended to be used for selecting the most appropriate scheme for an RC frame, and as a “first stab” at determining member sizes. Final working designs should be carried out via conventional means, such as by using The Concrete Centre's RC Spreadsheets.

Cost, programme and carbon evaluation is dependent upon unit rates for materials, formwork and cladding etc. Default rates based on available information have been used but the user should check that these suit current requirements. The user may also input their own values to suit their specific project. For basic assumptions, see the NOTES sheet in the software.

Concept V4 will automatically choose the best cost-optimised scheme  from the following forms of reinforced concrete frame, or allow the user to investigate their preferred options.

  • Flat slabs
  • Post-tensioned flat slabs
  • One-way slab, wide beam One-way slabs (X and Y)*
  • Ribbed slab (X and Y)* (c/w downstand beams)
  • Troughed slabs (X and Y)* (level soffit)
  • Precast hollowcore and in-situ beam (X and Y)*
  • Two-way slabs
  • *Spanning in X and Y direction

Alternatively, the automatic choice can be over-ridden, allowing alternative solutions to be investigated. Printed outputs include floor plans, sections, isometric stick diagrams, cost comparisons and material quantities. A construction cost summary can also be produced, based on default rates for construction costs or those put in by the user.

As it is spreadsheet, much of the program's work and data is available for inspection, avoiding the 'black box' scenario. The engineer can then proceed with verification and detailed design via conventional means such as The Concrete Centre’s RC Spreadsheets.

Terms of Use

There is no licence required to use Concept v4. Users should note that all advice or information from MPA The Concrete Centre is intended for those who will evaluate the significance and limitations of its contents and take responsibility for its use and application. No liability (including that of negligence) for any loss resulting from such advice or information is accepted by MPA The Concrete Centre or its subcontractors, suppliers or advisors. Users should note that all MPA The Concrete Centre software and publications are subject to revision from time to time and they should therefore ensure that they are in possession of the latest version.

The current version of Concept is v4.5 updated in March 2021.

Cutting carbon using Concept

This webinar will outline key considerations for designers looking to reduce the embodied carbon of concrete structures and include an introduction to the tool Concept.

How To Guide

A full How To guide, with step-by-step instructions can be freely downloaded to support use of the software.