Alternative building technology solutions provider SanteQ Liteweight Building Technology’s bespoke Plaswall building technology provides for simple and rapid installation using unsophisticated skills.
The company is a subsidiary of custom-manufactured modular walling systems specialist Sanjo Fabtech Sterling and smart cementitious building materials producer CemteQ Building Solutions.
SanteQ director Victor Bouguenon says the Plaswall technology has been approved for all types of construction, including those used in the residential and commercial sectors, as well as for clinics and schools. It offers significant fire ratings, as well as thermal and acoustic resistance.
“Our walling systems use between 80% and 90% recycled and waste materials, including pulverised fuel ash, ground-granulated blast-furnace slag, recycled polystyrene and plastic, of which much would otherwise end up in landfills. This ensures that the systems have among the lowest carbon footprints of any construction systems,” he adds.
This lightweight building technology is ideally suited to building conversions.
This, Bouguenon states, is in line with statistics that point to sub-Saharan Africa as the “world’s fastest-growing urbanising region”, with urban residents projected to virtually double by 2050. The repurposing of existing buildings into student residences, apartments, entry-level housing and hotels is, therefore, naturally increasing, as more developers look to convert existing buildings in urban locations.
He notes that, in many instances, existing foundations require significant investment to cater for the load of traditional brick-and-mortar walls that are incorporated into the existing infrastructure as part of these conversions.
Although lightweight walls, such as drywall, are popular in commercial developments, they lack the robustness when used in residential refurbishments.
Some of the company’s recently completed and ongoing projects are located in Sandton, in Gauteng.
Such projects entailed the supply of materials for about 15 000 m² of the walling systems and more than 2 000 m² of the walling systems of a pharmaceutical company.
“We have also recently completed an office block conversion to a hotel and an office block conversion into apartments, as well as two pharmaceutical builds using our walling systems.”
Additionally, Bouguenon highlights that these office conversations were unique, as the clients required a strong, robust wall that would meet the requirements for a hotel and apartments.
SanteQ’s concrete has also been used for screeds on reservoirs because of its significant lightweight and thermal properties, as well as for a slab placed on top of an existing IBR roof at a shopping centre, in Johannesburg.
He highlights that a difficulty for the design team on the latter project was the slab deflections and loading limits.
“The engineers specified a walling system that weighed less than 800 kg/m³, which was met by the SanteQ lightweight walling system. The system weighs between 500 kg/m³ and 600 kg/m³. With the pharmaceutical builds, the client needed a solid wall system with a two-hour fire without placing undue loads on an already compromised floor slab.”
These projects demonstrate the company’s belief that there needs to be “a serious shift in the traditional approach to construction”.
“With our lightweight infills, we assist the industry in seeing a lot more projects come to fruition, with substantial cost and build-time reductions, while staying true to our green building ethos,” Bouguenon enthuses.
Further, SanteQ focuses much of its attention on developing and perfecting sustainable materials and building methodologies, and has recently partnered with a company to start production of recycled plastic aggregate.
The branded Resin8 is a lightweight aggregate consisting of extruded ‘tragic’ plastic for use in precast or in situ concrete applications
The technology uses unrecyclable plastic as a lightweight aggregate for medium-strength concrete with a reduced carbon footprint and improved thermal insulation.
“This complements our current use of specially processed recycled polystyrene in our lightweight concrete and we hope to start full-scale production of Resin8 in the second half of 2020,” he explains.
Moreover, the understandable increased focus on healthcare facilities because of Covid-19 is likely to be a driver for the construction sector in the immediate future, while basic essential requirements, such as housing, have also been highlighted. SanteQ expects renewed energy from government in addressing these aspects as a matter of urgency.
“In many other countries, construction has been defined as an essential service and has been allowed to continue under strict health and safety requirements. We believe that declaring the construction industry an essential service under carefully controlled and monitored operating conditions will go a long way towards mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on our struggling economy,” concludes Bouguenon.