Professional logistics consultants, building owners and operators are starting to pay more attention to the effect that flooring can have on overall profitability, says industrial flooring company Twintec South Africa projects director Martin Kerrigan.
He says building specifications are no longer driven by construction costs alone, adding that builders are also no longer only ensuring that the minimum design quality standards are met.
“Building owners understand that, for the building to be acceptable to most end-users, who plan to rent space, they must show that their buildings, including the installed floors, will complement the large investment in materials handling equipment and logistics management systems,” he explains.
Meanwhile, foreign investors looking for secure long-term growth are developing businesses in South Africa, leading to the development of large retail chains supported by highly sophisticated logistics operations and infrastructure and resulting in noticeable growth in the number and size of new warehouses and logistics parks.
These modern facilities demand high effi- ciency and the preferred materials handling equipment is more aggressive to floors. Deficien- cies in floor design, detailing and construction are easily exposed, says Kerrigan.
“In this respect, Twintec’s high-quality Jointless Freeplan and Twinplan floor installations are suitable. These floors are designed to remove the ongoing maintenance issue of contraction joints and, in conjunction with Twintec’s design, build, insure approach, minimise and simplify any end-user’s warehouse floor operations and maintain optimal efficiency,” he states.
Twintec recently designed and built its first jointless steel-fibre-reinforced concrete (SFRC) floor slab in South Africa, says Kerrigan.
In addition to reducing maintenance costs, jointless SFRC floors reduce the working time for contractors, as the need for steel reinforcement in advance of the works is eliminated.
SFRC floor slabs also reduce risk, as reinforcements are always in the right place, which simplifies the quality control process.
Further, reduced plastic settlement leads to improved flatness, and trip hazards are eliminated, as traditional reinforcement is not required.
SFRC slabs are also more cost effective, as thinner slabs can be used, and there is no need for remedial grinding, Kerrigan says.
The Twintec technology was successfully used in South Africa on a 64 500 m2 floor for supermarket chain Shoprite in Centurion, Gauteng, in 2010, and a 41 500 m2 floor for the same chain, in Brackenfell, in the Western Cape, in 2011.