Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show how the investigation into early strength gain of concrete will allow the contractor to speed up the construction process using in situ concrete, which will affect subsequent time and cost savings. If a medium dose of accelerator was found to be effective, the cost/benefit would be substantial as well as being low risk with regard to additive additions in concrete. Design/methodology/approach – Comparative examination of plain concrete, and concrete with a non-chloride accelerator additive was carried out, using the compressive strength to establish strength gain at various time intervals between one and 28 days. The additive dose was less than half of the maximum recommended to avoid the strength loss problems associated with the use of accelerating admixtures due to possible overheating. Findings – The findings showed a significant increase in strength using an accelerating admixture in the early life of the concrete, which may allow a contactor to strike the formwork earlier, due to the use of an admixture, thus speeding up the construction process to produce time/cost savings. Originality/value – The research will assist the designer, contractor and health and safety co-ordinator to strike formwork at the earliest date with greater certainty and therefore reduced risk. By using an accelerator, rather than increasing the cement content to achieve early life strength, this paper displays another way to produce sustainable buildings with a lower carbon footprint. Early life strength provides better freeze/thaw protection and a greater resistance to impact damage and therefore a potential higher quality with lower defects.