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Concrete trumps on municipal sport and recreational projects

13th October 2020

By: Creamer Media Reporter


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This article has been supplied as a media statement and is not written by Creamer Media. It may be available only for a limited time on this website.

Concrete remains one of the preferred building materials for the construction of grandstands for sports and recreational facilities in previously marginalised areas of Limpopo.

This is considering the durability of the construction material that helps reduce the maintenance requirements of these structures over their useable lives. 

Adequate maintenance of sports and recreational facilities remains a challenge as outlined in the National Sports and Recreational Plan. The plan notes that this, in addition to lack of access to these facilities, has had far-reaching negative impacts on the transformation and development of the South African sports sector. Bear in mind that the social infrastructure serves as the foundation of the country’s entire sport and recreation system and is key to delivering the 2030 vision of “Active and Winning Nation”.

Impressively, the grandstands that have been built in Limpopo have been constructed using precast-concrete elements that are no less than 55MPa.

The high durability of these elements, including columns, raker beams, seating benches and side panels, can be directly attributed to the use of a concrete with a low permeability.

Water penetrates concrete with a high permeability and corrodes the reinforcing bar. This eventually leads to the deterioration of the long-term performance of concrete structures, some of which have been designed to last for up to 100 years.

Conventionally, a low permeability material is designed by raising the compressive strength of the concrete and lowering the water-to-cement (w/c) ratio. However, many enterprising precast concrete companies continue to find other novel ways of testing traditional limitations in concrete mix designs to enhance the overall performance of their systems.

For example, Corestruc, which has manufactured and constructed many grandstands for municipalities in Limpopo, has also introduced silica fume, an industrial by-product, into its concrete mix to supplement some of the cement content to produce a denser concrete micro-structure.

Meanwhile, ongoing developments in construction chemicals and additives have also greatly assisted the industry in innovating as is demonstrated by concretes with lower w/c ratios and higher compressive strengths than those mixes commonly used on traditional cast-in-place projects.

Importantly, these high slump mixes without extra water have also ensured improved “flow-ability” of the concrete in the various moulds and forms to enable the manufacture of consistently high quality precast-concrete elements.

This is undertaken in a factory environment that is far removed from the many variances that are encountered on a typical construction site to ensure a higher quality product. For example, accurate quantities of chemicals and admixtures can be easily added to a mixer to produce identical batches of concrete to ensure consistency on projects.

Corestruc’s focus on constantly maintaining high quality manufacturing standards starts with the various basic raw materials, namely the washed sand and aggregates that are fed into its state-of-the-art factory.

Sensors inside the operation also continuously monitor the temperature and moisture content of the mix before the concrete is poured into specialised forms and moulds to ensure high levels of precision.

Moreover, a separate steel-fixing yard ensures a high-quality reinforcing in the concrete casing to further bolster quality levels.

Notably, the company is also tasked with installing the systems, while working alongside the principal contractors that have been appointed to construct the sport and recreational centres.

By outsourcing the manufacture and building of the grandstands to a specialist, the client and its professional team have removed most of the risk associated with the construction of the facility and, therefore, provided immense scope for increased participation by emerging contractors and unskilled labour. 

For example, this approach to the construction of the stadium has mitigated the need for specialised skills to accurately install the scaffolding and formwork, and working at heights is restricted to Corestruc’s experienced team.

Corestruc can construct a 1000-seater in as little as two weeks after the foundations have been completed. A case in point is the grandstand, which seats 660 people, that the precast-concrete specialist recently constructed for the Greater Letaba Local Municipality as part of the newest sport and recreational complexes that is being built in the municipal jurisdiction.

This leading precast-concrete specialist worked alongside FR Civils, which is due to complete the three-year project that is being funded by the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, in October

2021. Morula Consulting Engineers & Project Managers was the design engineer and is supervising the construction programme.

Impressively, this project has already employed between 20 and 25 people from the surrounding community, and the number of locals working on the project will increase to between 40 and 50 when the project peaks next year.

They are being trained by FR Civils as part of this Expanded Public Works Programme project. Some of the skills they acquired on the project included palisade fencing installation, bricklaying and plastering, as well as the packing of gabion baskets.

Between 60% and 70% of the project was completed by mid-September 2020. FR Civils’ scope of work encompassed the earthworks, as well as the construction of the pitch and ablution facilities. This is in addition to the installation of the lighting masts and the border fence, as well as the construction of the foundations for the stadium.

Justice Ramothwala, owner of FR Civils, says that he his impressed with the workmanship of Corestruc.

“We have developed a sound working relationship with the contractor on this project and will certainly work with them on another project if given the chance. The team made lightwork of the grandstand, one of the first items that had to be constructed as part of the project. This is despite a slow start due to the very complex ground conditions that resulted in us having to excavate significant amounts of clay material and backfilling the deep excavations with suitable material that was imported from a nearby quarry,” Ramothwala says.

Willie de Jager, Managing Director of Corestruc, concludes that he is proud of Corestruc’s involvement in the lion’s share of sport and recreational centre projects in the province, as well as the opportunity to work with many enterprising contractors, such as FR Civils, in helping deliver state-of-the-art social infrastructure to poor communities.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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