Green SanteQ lightweight walling system in heavy demand

8th November 2019 By: Tracy Hancock - Creamer Media Contributing Editor

Green SanteQ lightweight walling system in heavy demand

Discussions are under way with developers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Botswana for the supply of the ‘green’, locally produced SanteQ lightweight walling system, as well as for potential partnerships and projects in Sri Lanka, the UK and Australia.

Introduced early this year, SanteQ was developed on the back of an existing load-bearing walling system which successfully employs the same principles, but uses a standard, load-bearing concrete infill, says SanteQ director Jonathan Peel.

“South Africa’s need to remodel existing buildings for alternative use is driving the requirement for lightweight solutions that offer acoustic-insulation, thermal-insulation, fire-resistance, solid properties as well as offer ease of construction and green credentials. Most projects of this nature have limited options to deal with the challenge of loads on the existing structure.”

Weighing between 550 kg and 650 kg a cubic metre, or less than 30% of conventional masonry walling, SanteQ claims to be simpler, quicker and cleaner to erect.

SanteQ also answers the local campaign to adopt sustainable building practices, driven, in part, by the Green Building Council of South Africa and major corporations, as its carbon footprint is among the lowest of any construction system, explains Peel.

High-density, ecofriendly, cellulose-fibre boards from Indonesia are precut to the required wall panel sizes and transported flat to site. These Singapore Green Building Council-certified boards are produced from the pulp of farmed trees.

The high-impact spacers, fixed into position between the two fibre boards to provide rigidity and the desired wall thickness, are molded locally from 100% recycled material. The resultant hollow walls are easy to handle and move into position on site, says Peel.

SanteQ’s bespoke EnviroteQ preblended lightweight concrete composite infill is pumped into the voids of these walls, whereafter joints are taped and skimmed, and the walls are primed and painted.

“The EnviroteQ lightweight concrete infill manufactured and supplied by SanteQ uses 100% recycled polystyrene, reducing the waste that would otherwise go to South African landfills.”

The recycled polystyrene is preblended with a special mix of cement and admixtures, and bagged locally.

The locally produced infill bags are collected and reused wherever possible to reduce the impact on the environment. “To date over 70% of the bags have been recovered for reuse,” states Peel.

Peel notes that various finishes can be applied to the surface, including skim plaster, ceramic tile, wallpaper, wood panels and other materials, while a bespoke fastening system is recommended to take loads from 30 kg and up.

The pre-engineered cellulose-fibre walling system is available in five wall thicknesses – 62 mm, 112 mm, 137 mm, 162 mm and 229 mm.

Board cutting and recessing, moulding of spacers, regrinding of waste polystyrene and the blending and bagging of the lightweight concrete take place in Gauteng, with plans under way to expand operations to the Western Cape, says Peel.

About 20 people are employed in the production and support of the systems at SanteQ’s Gauteng facilities, which can produce between 25 000 m2 and 30 000 m2 of walling a month.

SanteQ has recently been used at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Benoni, which involved the complete rebuild on existing foundations not designed to take the load.

More than 1 500 m2 of 2.7-m-high SanteQ 112-mm-thick lightweight walling and 300 m2 of 7-m-high SanteQ 229-mm-thick lightweight walling was installed. All the walls were skimmed and painted with a special antimicrobial paint.

SanteQ has also almost completed a contract to supply more than 7 000 m2 of walling to convert an office building into a 450-room hotel in the centre of Sandton, and has secured a contract for 12 000 m2 of walling and facades to convert an office building into student accommodation. The conversion of the building will start early next year.