African Design Magazine November 2015 - Page 72

Feature Flooring CONCRETE FACTORY FLOOR QUALITY HINGES ON SEVERAL KEY FACTORS Concrete used for the construction of industrial floors, such as warehousing and factory floors, is unique and differs from that required for vertical structures, says Bryan Perrie, managing director of The Concrete Institute. The properties required of the concrete for flooring are governed largely by the use of correct materials – in correct proportions. Material specifications for all the ingredients of the concrete exist, as well as South African Codes of Practice for the actual placement of concrete and the finishing of the floor slab. “A thorough understanding of all the characteristics of concrete, the influence of material selection, environmental inconsistencies, as well as handling and finishing, are essential to produce a quality floor. Correct detailing of joints and reinforcement are also important. A disregard for any of these factors can result in problems which are normally observed too late in the process to affect change,” he said. Perrie stresses that consistency is crucial during all the stages of the construction process: receiving the concrete, discharging, placing, consolidating and finishing. The importance of protecting the concrete while it is being placed, and curing thereafter, are also vital factors. “An incomplete brief from the client, inadequate specification and detailing, lack of attention to correct proportioning, handling and finishing, inexperienced contractors and operators, could all contribute to a floor with poor durability, strength and aesthetics. The flooring process relies on the successful completion of successive phases; understanding what is being done in each phase, using the right concrete and equipment, by the right person at the right time,” he adds. Listen to our interview with Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute 72