Construction Review Africa

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Apex means the top, or the highest point of something, the pinnacle. That was the goal we set for our structural steel in East and Central Africa. It was attained through constant innovation and an BS : 4 4 4 9 - 2 0 05 E ASTo bAs eFs RI A’S s i o nC w i t h qN u aO. l i t y1 . 2 , AEpFO e x SRt eM e lEwDa sBt hAeR r s t s t e e l m a n u f a c t u r i n g c o m p a n y i n K e n y a tKo EmN a kYA e dN e f oIrSmO e d 6935bars, C HO I CAEs pOr oFo fD BS 4449. First to earn KEBS certication. First to be awarded ‘Diamond Mark of Quality.’ First and only to awarded LEED certication. First and only to achieve Superbrand status. To m a i n t a i n t h i s p o s i t i o n , w e b e g i n e v e r y d a y c o m m i t t e d t o e a r n i n g t h e t r u s t o f o u r c u s t o m e r s b y living up to our name.


C ALL +254 20 6969000/1/2, + 254 733 640150 / 722 828850 EMAIL WEB www.apex- s te e l .c o m

MANAGING EDITOR Robert Barnes DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR Francis Makari FEATURES EDITOR Dennis Ayemba COUNTRY EDITORS Kenya - Anthony Kiganda Uganda - Betty Nabakooza Nigeria - Boladale Ademiju South Africa - Jimmy Swira WRITERS Yvonne Andiva, Christine Siamanta, Erick Mongare, Dorcas Kang'ereha, Pascal Musungu, Grace Makumi, Nita Karume WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN Augustine Ombwa, Bonface Kimunyi, Caleb Larum


Wastewater Treatment

The solid contact clarifier tank type sludge recirculation process in water treatment.

Sales and Marketing Manager Ken Okore ADVERTISING Kenya: William Mutama, Fred Okoth, Trizah Njoroge, Joseph Mwangi, South Africa: Thuli Nkosi, Winnie Sentabire, Angeline Ntobeng, Uganda: Nobert Turiyo, Selina Salumah Namuli Botswana: Dickson Manyudza, Gerald Mazikana Ethiopia: Haimanot Tesfaye, Ruth Girma Tanzania: Tom Kiage Malawi: Anderson Fumulani Ghana: Samuel Hinneh, Caleb Donne Hadjah Zambia: Susan Kandeke Zimbabwe: Chiedza Chimombe Rwanda: Collison Lore Nigeria: Seni Bello China:Weng Jie

The editor accepts letters and manuscripts for publication from readers all over the world. Include your name and address as a sign of good faith although you may request your name to be withheld from publication. We reserve the right to edit any material submitted .

Send your letters to: Construction Review is published eleven times a year and is circulated to members of relevant associations, governmental bodies and other personnel in the building and construction industry as well as suppliers of equipment, materials and services in Africa, the Middle and Far East. The editor welcomes articles and photographs for consideration. Material may not be reproduced without prior permission from the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or authenticity of advertisements or contributions contained in the journal. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Š All rights reserved.

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REGULARS Editor's Comment 3 Corporate News 4 Association News 5 Events 6 Product News 7 Opinion - The ABCs of concrete production


Pipe-joining technology can help to address 16 shortage of welders in South Africa4 Kitchen Fitting 24 Having a Modern Kitchen

Published by Group Africa Publishing Ltd Kenya Office: Consolidated Bank House, 4th floor, Koinange Street, Nairobi 00100 Kenya, Tel: +254 772642042, +254-20-2213607 Email: Uganda Agent Projects Unusual Uganda Ltd. Jemba Plaza, Luwum St. Kampala, Uganda Tel: +256 776 883181 Tanzania Agent The Hub Ltd No 4 Oysterbay Shopping Centre

P O Box 2972 Dsm Tel +255 68 308 3000 Botswana Agent Cadline (Pty) Ltd. P/Bag 494 Gaborone, Botswana. Tel: +267 318 7101, Fax: +267 318 102 E-mail: South Africa Agent College Publishers CC 1st Floor, 267 Oak Avenue, Oakfields, Randburg, Johannesburg Tel: +27 11 781 4253, Fax: +27 11 781 4287 Email:

TENTS Deciding on an Excavator

May 2017 Volume 28 No.5

Editor's Comment

Before settling on an excavator,

Africa needs to embrace wastewater management to mitigate water crisis

it is quite important to compare specifications. Specs will help you determine if the model you want can actually meet the job requirements, and is actually worth the price.

14 Flooring ideas for Africa When it comes to putting or replacing your floor, it is important to consider the costs, benefits and shortcomings of the flooring ideas you have in mind before you commit.

21 Wiring Systems Refurbishment of older wiring systems


Forestalling piling project failure 32 Building a university with Hydraform blocks 34

Wastewater management is one of the key solutions that can help Africa manage the current water crisis being experienced in the continent. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004, only 16% of people in sub-Saharan Africa had access to clean water through a household connection. The majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industries and farms flows back to nature without being treated or reused, polluting drinking, bathing and irrigation water as well as our water resources; groundwater, rivers, lakes and seas. The African Development Bank, UN Environment and GRIDArendal, have recently launched a 3 year project that will improve knowledge on wastewater management and sanitation provision in Africa. During the launch, the Programme officer at UN Environment affirmed that, the need for sustainable wastewater management practices in Africa is steadily rising; keeping in mind the current water situation in the continent. The continent is facing a dry weather phenomenon not seen since 2011. Yet, the effects of water storage can be mitigated with planning and foresight. It is high time the continent adopts technologies that deal with the wastewater challenge, removing pollution from water resources, and providing a solution to help mitigate water shortage problems. When solutions exist to recycle water; fresh water need not be wasted on activities such as gardening, car washing and toilet flushing.

Robert Barnes

Ethiopia Agent Haymi Advertising Services 22 Mazoria, Genet Bldg 4th Flr P.O. Box 1316 - 1110 Addis Ababa Tel: +251 118 955 855, Cell: +251 930 099 152 Email:

Kenya Agent Northwest Ventures Ltd P.O. Box 16414 - 00100 G.P.O Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +254 20 2679809 I 2679808, 2091305 Email:

Rwanda Agent

Ghana Agent Image Consortium 1st Floor, The Ecobank Building, Tesano. Tel: 233(0)30 223 2728 I 233(0)274807127 I +233(0)206299159 Fax: 233(0)24 882 8286 Email:,

Nigeria Agent Rahma Associates B23/24, Aishetu Emoewa Plaza, 196, Iju Water Works Road, Ifako Ijaye Lga,Agege, Lagos. Tel: 234-1-7347860 Email:

Zambia Agent

Kolline & Hemed Inc., B.P. 3328, Kigali, Rwanda Tel: +250 03 748106 E-mail: Website:

Dayflex Limited, 4th. Floor Tazara House Dedan Kimathi Road, Lusaka, Zambia. Tel: +260 211 230 529 / +260 977 756 663 Email:, dayflex06@gmail. com


Geberit Lauches a Bathroom Collection

Hill International wins tender to construct top Moroccan bank HQ project Hill International, a US construction consulting firm, said it has won a major project management contract from Morocco’s leading bank Attijariwafa for its new headquarters – Borj Attijari – in the city of Casablanca. This is the firm’s fifth largest implantation in Africa, after South Africa, Algeria, Libya and Egypt. Experts of multiple nationalities were quickly assembled by Hill International for the mega-project and are already working to assist Attijariwafa Bank in the construction, starting with the current selection of the architectural firm as part of an international competitive bidding process, it stated. Borj Attijari is a high-rise building standing over 100 m tall with a total surface area of 55,000 sq m which will be built by Attijariwafa Bank as per the latest energy efficiency standards, said the report. The mega project is expected to cost more than US$101m.


starts lagging or the flow dips, it’s good for construction managers to ensure that they reassess the company’s overhead costs to help to turn the corner. Generally Overhead costs are an essential part of doing business and yet they can get out of control, often without a business owner or company management realizing it. Hauling them in can prove to be profitable and rewarding. Here are 3 tips to help you investigate your overhead costs, and ways in which you can cut back on them. Conduct an in-depth check on all details of spending This is the most important aspect of ensuring that the expenditure


PPC Zimbabwe has opened its new US$82m Harare mill that has been commissioned by President Robert Mugabe. The facility features a cement ball mill with dynamic separator, a single line packer and palletizer, and road and rail off-loading facilities. This is in positioning PPC to meet local demand, as well as boost the country’s ability to export to the region. The mill, which will bring PPC’s collective capacity (Bulawayo and Harare) to 1,4 million tonnes per annum will allow the company to increasingly penetrate the northern regions of the country and grow exports into its neighbors. It will also ensure continued roll-out of its bulk and mini-bulk strategy, enabling PPC to partner strategically with developers and construction clients to boost efficiencies and delivery on projects.

3 tips on how construction managers can easily cut on overhead costs is on track and managers should 2. Trim out the obvious

When construction business gets into a critical point and profits


The Geberit catalogue in South Africa will for the first time include Geberit bathroom series comprising of ceramic sanitary appliances and bathroom furniture. The series that will be sold solely with the Geberit logo in Southern Africa will include Geberit Citterio, Geberit Xeno2, Geberit iCon, Geberit Smyle and Geberit Abalona. With this step, the customers will be able to take advantage of products that combine perfect design and sophisticated functionality. The bathroom series, which are manufactured entirely in Europe, are designed for both private bathrooms and public sanitary facilities. In 2017, Geberit will include the Citterio, Xeno2, iCon, Smyle and Abalona bathroom series in its product portfolio. Thanks to their various styles, designs and prices, the bathroom series which comprise: ceramic sanitary appliances and bathroom furniture, have something to offer for any bathroom.

PPC Zimbabwe opens US$82m cement mill in Harare

ensure that they take a close look at every aspect of how their company is spending its money. Take nothing for granted. With the help of your bank and credit card accounts, outline every cost, no matter how small and categorize them. Draw up a comprehensive list; look at your rent, your utilities, your office supplies, your salaries or commissions, your loans, and your maintenance costs. Each company will spend more on some aspects of doing business than others. Depending on the size and nature of your business, this step may take some time. But the exercise will be worth the investment.

fat In the office operations as you line up the budget figures ensure that you cut down the unwanted expenditure. If you don’t you will be surprised how the expenditures will be high more than the salary you pay to your workers. 3. Secure better terms on services You might secure a better deal by paying for a service on an annual rather than a monthly basis, for example. If you can afford to take a dip on a payment one time a year, you will benefit from having no payments for the other 11 months. May 2017


Sanral appoints new transformation manager The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has chosen Ismail Essa as Sanral’s Transformation Manager effective April 1, to report directly to the CEO. “The moment to strengthen government’s economic change priorities is now. One of Mr Essa’s pressing priorities will be to make sure sub-sector transformation thwart the supply value chain we handle,” Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said in a statement. “This will comprise among others: construction work, maintenance, property and operations, professional services, and non-core services. Secondly, he has been given the duty of making certain that Sanral forms an enabling environment for small contractors, especially black-owned ones, to access opportunities through procurement,” he said. Macozoma said the new task had been put in place to essentially direct spending towards budding black-owned enterprises. Essa, a qualified civil engineer, is an industry ‘heavyweight’ with 36 years know-how in the roads and civil engineering sector. Reacting to his appointment, Essa said he believes his past experience would be helpful in this new responsibility. He comprehends private sector operations and the necessity to generate inclusive opportunities.

Association of South African Quantity Surveyors to keep public infrastructure on schedule Quantity surveyors are best placed to keep public infrastructure spend on track, in spite of 83% of government infrastructure spend presently managed by engineers. An expected R875.70 billion has been dedicated to a number of determined government infrastructure projects for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) until 2019/2020), according to the figures given in the national budget and publicly available information on projects and their budgets. Herman

SACAP to launch online learning programme The South African Council for the



(SACAP) is about to launch an online platform that will initiate its Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)




change driver of the fourth term

Berry, a member of the Building and Property Economics Committee

council’s plan that aspires to

of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS)

realize economic redress within

and Executive: Program, Cost, Consultancy (Africa) at AECOM,

the profession and the broader

says that this is a considerable number, and represents a very

built environment. Recognition

welcome dedication to service delivery and upgrading our national competitiveness. “in spite of the volume of the infrastructure spend actually being managed by engineers, the main concern now must be to make sure that the projects are delivered on time and on budget— and greater involvement by professional quantity surveyors is the best way to do that,” he adds.

of Prior Learning (RPL) is an alternate and valid route to professional



these practitioners without them having to give up their fulltime employment. As the RPL programme would in general take between six months and two years to award a professional qualification, transformation will be attained in much quicker time than the pipeline approach of formal studies. The architectural profession has been beset by a lack of representivity even though it is some 23 years into democracy. The common focus of public institutions,

Nigerian Institute of Architects mulls revolution in city redevelopment

including universities, has been

The Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA),


is set to begin a revolution in city redevelopment. The plan, once

approach. Given the historic

commenced, will help governments and town planners in urban regeneration. Consequently, the Lagos NIA has themed its Lagos Architects Forum, LAF 8.0: “An architectural autopoiesis.” The Chairman, NIA Lagos Chapter, Mr. Fitzgerald Umah, said the conference would offer an opportunity for stakeholders in the built

on recruiting more students from the traditionally disadvantaged –



inequality in schooling, related to socio-economic challenges faced by these students, curriculum and resources have not sufficiently tailored to this reality.

environment, especially architects, to devise new means of running practices in the light of current economic realities. NIA hopes to help end building collapse not just in Lagos, but throughout the country by giving the state government a document that will aid int its efforts towards simplifying the process of building approval, among others. This will take place in the conference. May 2017



The Junior Indaba

4th Annual Affordable Housing Africa

West Africa Modern Airports Conference

The third edition of the Junior Indaba will take place on 7th & 8th June 2017 in Johannesburg, a lively gathering that has become known for its stimulating discussions, interactive conversations and constructive outcomes. Come and join leading CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors and analysts for lively debates and discussions, gain valuable snapshots of projects and companies as well as insights into commodity market prospects, exploration hot spots and investment opportunities. The Junior Indaba, for explorers, developers and investors in junior mining, is brought to you by Resources 4 Africa, the organisers of the Joburg Indaba.

Happening for the fourth time this year in Cape Town, this Marcus Evans event is a highly-interactive and information packed event that will highlight case studies from some of the finest industry experts from various continents. Also, the event is an excellent networking platform for the public and private sectors, global professionals and industry leaders who are all directly involved with the growth and development of affordable housing, enabling Africa to take itself to the next stage of development.

After the success of the Modern

Conference; that will take place

planning to grow its aviation

to join senior decision makers from government authorities, civil aviation authorities, airport authorities and more. Date: 20th - 21st June 2017 Venue: Accra Ghana.

Tanzania - Tanzania Institute of Quantity Surveyors


- Construction Regulation Board (CRB)

- Association of Ethiopian Architects

- Association of Consulting Engineers of - Kenya - Association of Professional Societies of East Africa APSEA) - Kenya Property developers Association

Association Partners

West Africa Modern Airports

capacity, don’t miss your chance

- Institute of Engineers of Kenya

- Tanzania’s Registration Board of Architects

- Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers

and Quantity Surveyors (AQSRB)

- Construction Contractors Association of Ethiopia



- Institution of Surveyors of Kenya

- Association of Consulting Engineers Nigeria

- Zimbabwe Institute of Quantity Surveyors

- Association of Professional Women

- Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers


- The Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (Cifoz)

Ghana - Ghana Institute of Engineers

Engineers Of Nigeria - Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria - The Nigerian Institute of Architects - American Association of Petroleum Geologists Africa Region

- Green Building council of SA

- Architects Registration Council

- Nigeria Society of Engineers

- South African Property Owners Association

- Ghana Institute of Surveyors

- Nigeria Institute of Architects

- Master Builders South Africa

- Ghana Green Builders Association

- Building and Construction Skilled Artisans

Uganda Institute of Surveyors of Uganda Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers (UIPE) & Uganda society of Architects

Botswana 6

event are pleased to organize the

improve safety and increase

- Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya

- Concrete Manufacturers Association

January, the organizers of the

approximately 5 million tourists,

- Architectural Association of Kenya

- Khuthaza ( Women for Housing)

that took place in Kenya this

Accra Ghana. With West Africa

- Institute of Botswana Quantity Surveyors

Surveying Profession


market in order to accommodate


- South African Council for the Quantity


from 20th -21st June 2017 in

Date: 17th – 19th July 2017 Venue: Cape Town, South Africa

Date: 7 & 8 June 2017 Venue: The Country Club, Auckland Park, Johannesburg

South Africa - ASAQS


- Ghana Institute of Planners - Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana


Association of Nigeria (BACSAAN)

Zambia - Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA)

Institute of Namibian Quantity Surveyors

- Association of Building and Civil Engineering

Association of Consulting Engineers of Namibia

Contractors (ABCEC). May 2017


HIMOINSA expands its series of generator sets with FPT engines The four new generators have 17% lower specific consumption than other generators with the same power range, and a service interval that is 200 hours longer. HIMOINSA is adding four new 600kVA models that can operate in any market to its series of generator sets with FPT engines. These new units offer significant competitive advantages over other generators of equal power, primarily in terms of fuel consumption and service intervals. For the 50Hz market, the HFW-600 T5 and its rental version, the HRFW-600 T5, supply 600kVA in PRP and 659kVA in stand-by. For 60Hz markets, the series includes the HFW-550 T6 and HRFW-550 T6 models, with power of 625kVA in PRP and 690kVA in stand-by. The four models incorporate the new CR16TE1W engine from FPT. Their specificconsumption is 191g/kWh, i.e. 115l/h at 100% power, up to 17% lower than other generator sets of similar power. Another attractive feature, which is especially important for machinery rental companies, are their service intervals, which are up to 200 hours longer than other generators. In addition, with an oil tank of just 32 litres, they can operate continuously for 600 hours without needing an oil change. Their engine is more compact and allows for a smaller canopy to be used, which is easier to transport, thus fulfilling another requirement of the rental sector.

HPE Africa launches H940s backhoe loader series HPE Africa’s newly launched H940s backhoe loader series, which replaces the H930s, has been well received by the local market. “Customers are impressed with this machine’s unequalled value in terms of fuel efficiency, low operating costs and powerful loader performance, even in tough operating conditions,” states Alex Ackron, managing director, HPE Africa, part of the Capital Equipment Group (CEG) of Invicta Holdings Limited. “We have also had positive feedback about Hyundai’s new features for improved

The New Brokk 500 has noticeable improvement from the earlier version Brokk, a global manufacturer of remote-controlled demolition robots, introduce the new Brokk 500 through the CONEXPO CON/AGG 2017 platform. The machine, which features 40% more demolition power than the

operator comfort and simplified maintenance, as well as technical

Brokk 400 will be made available

advancements for precision control.” “The robust H940s backhoe

globally at the start of May 2017.

loader series is perfectly designed to meet growing demand from

It also comes with the Brokk

businesses that need compact machines for smaller projects, without

SmartPower electrical system, a

having to make a substantial capital investment in large excavators and loaders,” he says. “Central to this machine’s exceptional backhoe performance, is an integrally welded high strength loader boom that allows for clear visibility when the operator is digging around buried constructions like water mains, sewer pipes and utility lines,” he adds.

more powerful breaker, extended reach and better serviceability. Martin Krupicka, Brokk Group CEO termed the Brokk 500 as a remarkable demonstration of the milestones crossed in getting the most demolition power possible out of a Brokk machine without the necessary addition to size. This, he attributed to the new Brokk SmartPower system as well as proof of the resources invested in product development; since the Brokk 500 is the fourth new machine released in just over a year’s time. The new Brokk 500 adds 40% more breaking power than its predecessor, the Brokk

CS Unitec’s new TwinMix 1800 portable mixing station

400 and delivers 1 472 J with

CS Unitec‘s new TwinMix 1800 portable mixing station is equipped

Additionally, it also increases

with a dust collection port and a material loading chute. When


connected to an appropriate industrial vacuum the TwinMix 1800

three-part arm system to 7.4 m

helps to comply with OSHA’s new regulations regarding silica dust

vertically and 7 m horizontally.

collection. The chute for pouring in mixing material includes dust-

At 5 200 kg in weight, the Brokk

reducing brushes and a protective grate. Together with the integrated

500 is only slightly heavier than

dust extraction port, these features reduce airborne dust and provide a

the 400 version, and the width of

cleaner, safer working environment. Manufactured with two counterrotating paddles – a helical rod and scraper paddle – the TwinMix 1800 thoroughly combines compounds into a homogeneous, lump-free mixture. The scraper paddle reduces material deposits on the side of the bucket and improves mixing efficiency. The machine’s lid eliminates

each blow of the 685 kg Atlas Copco SB 702 hydraulic breaker. to



the machine is the same. All the tools and attachments used for the Brokk 400 can also be used on the new Brokk 500.

splash back and its integrated material chute includes dust-reducing brushes and a protective grate. The mixing station is ideal for mixing low- to high-viscosity materials such as filler, leveling compounds; plaster and thin-bed mortars. The mixer’s 15 Amp, 2-speed motor runs at constant speed and produces very high pulling power. May 2017



Korander, O. & Mannonen, R- Experts in Concrete Technology

The ABCs of concrete production


A good concrete mix is essential, and it must be optimized continuously. In order to make strong and durable products, the aggregate volume should be maximized and the volumes of cement and water minimized. 8

hat are the main focus points in precast concrete production and the concrete mix? The products that you are manufacturing determine the appropriate mix design, strength, hardening process, workability, and durability of the concrete. By paying attention to these aspects, you can ensure consistent quality, effective production, and low costs for your products. The production of concrete is continuous precision work. A successful precast operation demands a proper understanding and management of concrete technology. Since concrete is the primary raw material for precast products and structures, it has an important influence on quality, production effectiveness and costs. The components of a concrete mix must always be chosen according to the qualities required of the fresh and/or hardened concrete. Concrete is the primary cost factor in most product groups. Other factors include the complexity of the production process, the amount of labor needed and eventual labor costs. A good concrete mix is essential, and it must be optimized continuously. In order to make strong and durable products, the aggregate volume should be maximized and the volumes of cement and water minimized. Making the concrete mix starts with an evaluation of the local facilities and the available raw materials, both of which have a great impact on your final product and the structural and aesthetic quality of concrete. The mix design should be fully tested in pre-production. The concrete mix and its curing method strongly affect the speed of the production cycle. The hardening time can vary between 5–20 hours. Cement quality is critical to the production cycle. The best results are achieved with cements that are designed especially for the precast industry. The availability of different

cement types varies across different markets. Environmental matters are receiving increased attention, and it is very important to calculate the costs over the entire lifecycle of a building or structure. Aggregate quality matters Aggregates are the main component of concrete, making up over 70 per cent of concrete by volume and 80 per cent by weight. You could say that aggregates provide the frame, and cement acts as the glue between the aggregate particles. Aggregates mostly come from natural sources, which mean that there can be significant variation in the type and quality of aggregates – even if they are from the same source. The variation is larger than with cement and other components, so quality control at the factory lab should emphasize aggregates. Since the correct selection of aggregates can strongly affect production efficiency, continuous monitoring of aggregate properties is advisable; grading tolerances are usually too broad to guarantee constant concrete quality. Fines are also essential for the properties of fresh and hardened concrete. Fines act as a lubricant in the fresh concrete: they ensure workability and water retention. They reduce the risk of mixture separation during installation and make compaction easier. They also reduce the air content. However, excessive amounts of fines can lead to stickiness. They can also lead to greater shrinkage and creep tendency because of the increased water content. Cement affects the costs Cement covers only about 11 per cent of an average concrete mix by volume, yet it is the primary cost in the mix. The cement qualities available in different markets vary. Some markets have different cement types May 2017

available for different applications. The cement types used in the precast industry are mostly CEM I, CEM II and CEM III. The cement type used has a direct impact on the concrete’s properties, such as water demand, setting time and strength development. Cement factories generally provide quality information about their cements, including strength at different ages, nominal area, color, and the amount of blended materials. Early strength is often the main requirement in precast production. Drinking water can be used to make concrete. Other types like wash water, ground water, or industrial process water must be tested, and waste water is a definite no-go. Admixtures and additives bring out desired properties Concrete admixtures are liquids or powders that are added to the concrete in small quantities during mixing. Make your selection carefully with the help of admixture producers, and check the impact of the materials by doing proper pretesting. Plasticizers are the most commonly used admixtures. They are used either to increase the compressive strength or to produce a more flowing concrete with the same amount of water. Concrete additives are fine granular materials that are used to enhance or obtain specific properties of fresh and/or hardened concrete. Inorganic additives include nearly inert additives (such as color pigments) and latent hydraulic additives (such as fly ash). The perfect concrete mix design How do you know which raw materials to choose and what their interactive proportioning should be? The appropriate mix design depends on the final product. When starting your mix design, consider the desired properties of your product, the quality of your raw materials, as well as your production process and structural requirements. What durability or strength is demanded of the concrete at different ages? What is your production cycle and what compaction or curing methods are you using? What mixing and batching equipment do you have available, and what is the right mixing intensity and mixing time? How is the concrete transported inside the factory? What is the required lifetime and durability

of your concrete? Aesthetic requirements will determine the surface treatments of your product and also affect the costs. Properties of fresh and hard concrete The consistency of fresh concrete defines its behavior during mixing, handling, delivery, casting, and compaction as well as surface smoothing. It also dictates the workability of fresh concrete, and workability requirements depend on the type of product manufactured and the production method used. You should aim at good cohesion, a low risk of segregation and good surface smoothening or finishing properties. Try to reach cost-effective handling, pouring or placing, and finishing of the fresh concrete. You can reach maximum plasticity or flowability by using superplasticizers. In hot climates, you can extend workability by using retardation. In cold climates, you may want to accelerate the setting and hardening process. Hardened concrete has several important properties that need to be considered: compressive strength in different ages, tensile strength, deformation, water tightness, frost resistance, corrosion, abrasion resistance, and density. All these properties depend on successful compaction. The main properties for precast concrete • Cost-effective mix design • Strength determined by the mix design • Fast and controlled hardening, the importance of early strength • Appropriate workability (dictated by the casting method) • Good durability (dictated by the design requirements) • Share of concrete costs in total direct production costs • Product group Concrete cost as % of direct costs • Paving and blocks 70–80 • Hollow-core slab 40–50 • Columns and beams 20–40 • Solid walls 30–40 • Sandwich façades 20–30 To read more and to comment on this story visit

May 2017



Wastewater treatment methods are designed to remove enough organic and inorganic solids from the wastewater so that it can be disposed off without infringing on the set objectives.

Wastewater treatment methods


roper wastewater treatment methods have become crucial due to population increase in urban communities which has led to the proportional increase in the volume of wastewater and in the amount of organic waste. All disposal methods result in such unsatisfactory outcomes that remedial measures become paramount hence the development of wastewater treatment methods prior to when eventual disposal has to be commenced. Wastewater treatment methods are designed to remove enough organic and inorganic solids from the wastewater so that it can be disposed off without infringing on the set objectives. The advancement of self-purification of a stream can be measured by proper physical, chemical and biological laboratory tests. Similar tests are used to measure and control the progress of wastewater treatment methods. Steve Beck of Global Treatment Systems insists that, if Africa wants to provide its population with clean water they need to look at the whole process, from finding a project, bidding, and funding. “If they streamline this process they will definitely be on the road to helping their citizens,” he asserts. “Moreover, the lack of clean useable water will dictate an increase and need for low cost high quality treatment systems 10

that are easy to build and maintain,” he affirms. Mr. Leiv Rieger of inCTRl Solutions mentions that, the most commonly used wastewater treatment methods in Africa are waste stabilization ponds and activated sludge systems. However, a large diversity between countries and regions exists. “Moreover, the need for potable water will drive the development of customized decentralized solutions in rural areas whereas urbanized cities will see an increase in resource efficient treatment technologies,” he adds. In Mr. Rieger’s opinion, the critical challenge for introducing innovative wastewater treatment solutions is the education of operators and engineers. “Typically, the more efficient the treatment technology, the higher the demands in terms of training and education,” affirms Mr. Rieger. We look at 3 of the top water treatment methods available today. Chemical Treatment Methods Chemical treatment involves using some chemical reaction or reactions to improve the water quality. Probably, chlorination is the most commonly used chemical process. Chlorine, a strong oxidizing chemical, it is used to kill bacteria and slow down the rate of wastewater decomposition. Bacterial death is achieved when key biological processes are affected by the chlorine. Ozone is another strong oxidizing agent that has also been used as an oxidizing disinfectant. A chemical process commonly applied in most industrial wastewater treatment processes is neutralization. Neutralization involves the addition of acid or base to adjust the pH levels back to neutrality. For instance since lime is a base it is sometimes utilized in the neutralization of acid May 2017

wastes. Coagulation involves the addition of a chemical that forms an insoluble end product through a chemical reaction, which serves to remove substances from the wastewater. Polyvalent metals are normally used as coagulating chemicals in wastewater treatment and model coagulants would include lime, some iron containing compounds like ferric chloride and alum (aluminum sulfate). Some processes may actually be physical and chemical in nature. The use of activated carbon to ‘adsorb’ organics, for instance, involves both chemical and physical processes. Processes such as ion exchange, which involves exchanging some ions for others, are not widely used in wastewater treatment. Physical Treatment Methods Physical methods involve techniques where no gross chemical or biological changes are involved and physical phenomena are strictly used to treat the wastewater. These techniques may include: coarse screening to get rid of larger entrained objects and sedimentation. In the case of sedimentation, physical phenomena involving settling of solids by gravity are permitted to operate. Normally this consists of simply holding a wastewater in a tank under dormant conditions for a short period of time, enabling the heavier solids to settle at the bottom of the tank; and removing the ‘clarified’ effluent. Sedimentation for solids separation is a very common process operation and is normally engaged at the beginning and end of wastewater treatment operations. While sedimentation is one of the most usual physical treatment processes that are applied to achieve wastewater treatment, another physical treatment process consists of aeration. This process involves, physically adding air ordinarily to provide oxygen to the wastewater. Other physical phenomena used in treatment still consist of filtration. This involves the passage of wastewater through a filter medium to separate solids. An example would be the utilization of sand filters to further get rid of entrained solids from a treated wastewater. Certain phenomena will happen during the sedimentation process and can be advantageously used to improve the water quality further. Allowing greases or

oils, for instance, to float to the surface and skimming or physically removing them from the wastewater is normally carried out as part of the general treatment process. Biological Treatment Methods Micro-organisms, mostly bacteria, are used in the biochemical decomposition of wastewater to stable end products. More micro-organisms are formed and a portion of the waste is converted to carbon dioxide, water and other end products. Usually, biological wastewater treatment methods can be divided into aerobic and anaerobic methods, based on availability of dissolved oxygen. The purpose of wastewater treatment is generally to remove enough solids from the wastewater to allow the remainder to be discharged to receiving water without interfering with its proper use. The removed solids are primarily organic but may also include inorganic solids. Treatment must also be provided for the solids and liquids which are removed as sludge. Lastly, treatment to regulate odors, to decelerate biological activity; or eliminate pathogenic organisms may also be required. According to Pavan Gadhvi, the Director at Kanku Kenya Limited, currently wastewater management is left till last in relation to new development projects. This robs the client for an opportunity to comply with the regulatory requirement and implement an efficient resource management strategy through recycling. With over 15 years in the industry, Kanku Kenya Limited is a local solutions provider of core water and waste-water management technology, specialty water treatment chemicals and alternative energy for industrial, commercial and domestic applications. “We are playing a pivotal role in educating and increasing awareness of the importance of recycling water. In this effort, we are one of the primary companies that have live examples of enabling industries and establishments to approach and implement a zero-discharge policy at their premises,” says Mr. Gadhvi. Mr. Daniel Wanjuki the Director at Ecosave Africa Limited argues that, Kenya is taking small strides in the direction of waste water recycling. “The industry is slowly taking up the need to manage waste water in

May 2017



a scientific way that allows recovery of resources and a cleaner environment; with our company being behind Ecotreat, the only product making this possible at an affordable cost,” he adds. Ecosaves’s key initiative is to prevent and control pollution of natural resources and the atmosphere through use of Biotechnology for Organic Wastewater Treatment. “Ecotreat manages all streams of waste both grey and black waste water hence no need to separate the waste streams. It produces enzymes on site hence cheaper than introducing enzymes as a consumable product. Additionally, it does not produce methane gas during its breakdown process and does not require anaerobic conditions. Ecotreat is facultative in nature hence works in all level of waste profile,” affirms Mr. Wanjuki. However, Mr. Ashok Patel the Director at Kridha Limited is of the opinion that, Kenya is doing quite well in recycling waste water. “We have manufactured, installed and commissioned more than 250 in Kenya and over 20 waste water treatment systems in East Africa,” he adds. As an expert in water treatment standards and solutions, Kridha Limited incorporates environmental concerns in all its operations to ensure sustainable resource, consumption and utilization. Currently the company boasts of a huge client base across East Africa. “We manufacture water treatment and recycling systems and equipment for industrial market as well as domestic sector. Standard and customized systems from Kridha Limited address concerns on water treatment and recycling, rainwater harvesting and waste water treatment. The company is known for its After Sales Services. We make water treatment and recycling a reality,” asserts Mr. Patel. The vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industries and farms flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting drinking, bathing and irrigation water as well as our water resources – groundwater, rivers, lakes and seas. The region is facing a dry weather phenomenon not seen since 2011. Yet, the effects of water storage can be mitigated with planning and foresight. Davis Shirtliff together with partner company, Bioliff Water Tech, has developed a wide range of technologies from simple household systems to large scale commercial plants. The Bioliff range of treatment technologies provides an advanced process that literally turns sewage into valuable water. These technologies deal with the waste water challenge, removing pollution from our water resources, and providing a solution to help mitigate water shortage problems. When solutions exist to recycle water; fresh potable water need not be wasted on activities such as gardening, car washing and toilet flushing. 12

May 2017

May 2017



The fact that excavators today are state-of-the art, using hydraulic power with smaller turning radiuses makes the task of buying an excavator all the more difficult.

Deciding on an Excavator


xcavator for sale is the all too frequent advertisement that meets any buyer of new or even second hand equipment. The task of acquiring an excavator is daunting with a long list to tick off if you are to get the best suited machine for the job. It is plagued with several pitfalls from reliability issues to availability off service support. The fact that excavators today are state-of-the art, using hydraulic power with smaller turning radiuses ideal for tight spaces and intuitive joystick commands makes the task of buying an excavator all the more difficult. Industries like construction, utility, public works, mining, demolition, landscaping and forestry use them quite often to dig the trenches, holes and foundations. Before settling on an excavator for sale, it is quite important to compare specifications. Specs will help you determine if the model you want can actually meet the job requirements, and is actually worth the price. Engine power Engine power is closely associated with maximum dig depth, weight and size. All work in tandem to get the job done right. As you make comparisons of machines with


similar specifications, it is important to also think about engine type. The type of engine you go with will definitely have an impact on fuel and maintenance costs. Compact: Under 20 tons, 95 – 120 HP, Crawler: 20-40 tons, 150 – 275 HP; Heavy: Above 40 tons, 367 – 532 HP. Evidently, within each category of excavator, the horsepower varies. By going for an excavator that meets the job requirements with a minimum amount of horsepower, you save money in the long term while at the same time reducing your initial expenditure. It can be quite easy to get sucked into ‘just in case’ scenarios needing greater capability. But unless those scenarios are possible, opting for bigger with more power could be quite disadvantageous. Dig depth Maximum dig depth refers to how far down the machine will power the boom and bucket; basically, how deep you can dig a hole or remove materials. A good tip is to use previous jobs to calculate the range of depth so as to identify the lowest and deepest depths and also know how often you dig that deep. Obtaining this information will insulate you from spending extra money on

an excavator with excess depth. Dig depth impacts on an excavator price because of the engine power and counterweight necessary to achieve it. For instance, in the case of crawler excavators, dig depth can range from 6 feet to 25 feet, resulting in every foot of added depth; equaling an increase in corresponding price by 8%. Dump height/bucket capacity Dump height is quite important, especially if you are going to be placing exhumed materials on a truck to be heaved away. You have to be sure the boom and bucket will empty the sides of the dump truck. If you are moving material around a jobsite, dump height is not that important. For instance, crawler excavators have heights that exceed 30 feet while compact excavators have a maximum dump height of 13 feet. Bucket capacity influences the amount of material that can be removed at any given time. For large excavation projects, time is of the essence. However, for more specific projects, a smaller bucket capacity allows for consistent operation. Bucket capacity does not have a huge influence on price as different types and sizes of buckets are available as accessories. May 2017

Size Jobsite location is a key factor to consider as you think about the size of excavator on sale. Important questions to ask yourself include: Do you operate in tight spaces with limited turning radius? Do you operate in wide open spaces? Can you move the excavator from one point to another? What terrain will you be operating on? Mini excavators are a great option for tight spaces and jobs that require less power. They are flexible and quite easy to transport as well. Larger excavators normally require larger trailers with a higher weight tolerance. Weight The weight of the excavator has no direct impact on the excavator price. However, weight does have two areas of consideration that include: Surface damage: weight of the excavator can be a factor as far as surface damage is a concern. For instance, if you do landscaping job mostly, minimizing damage is probably important. Therefore, the less the weight of the excavator, the less the damage

is likely to be experienced. In that case, even if a job takes longer due to more trips, a smaller machine is the better value for you. Operating weight: Completely different from equipment weight, operating weight is another way to describe the counterweight. For instance, an excavator that has an operating weight range of 4 tons basically means that the load at the end of the boom cannot go beyond 4 tons. The information plate of the excavator will indicate to you the minimum and maximum operating weight. It is important to note that the maximum operating weight is a complete bucket load with the boom and stick at its furthest extension. Attachments The compatibility of the excavator for sale with various attachments is very important because attachments can maximize the productivity of your excavator. Attachments substitute the bucket to perform other job functions, like posthole digging, breaking up concrete, backfilling or sorting materials.

May 2017

Swift coupling links that make it simple to switch attachments and universal hydraulic links enable operators to move smoothly from task to task, maximizing their time on site. Kevin Showley of Vac-tron Equipment advises that, you want to find a vacuum excavator that fits the size and needs of your job application. “Additionally, safety is key; vacuum excavation provides safe daylighting of utilities and peace of mind on the jobsite,” he adds. According to Martin M Ngai the Machines Sales Consultant at Regal Equipment Limited; a distributor of new Hyundai Excavators, excavators have now eliminated other machines like track loaders and wheel loaders.”With the recent acceptance of mini and medium sized excavators, Back Hoes machine are soon going to be eliminated from the market. Soon we will see more sophisticated excavators e.g. Electric Excavators, Amphibian excavators and long reach excavators to do very specialized job,” he adds.



Pipe-joining technology can help to address shortage of welders in South Africa

Barry van Jaarsveld - Victaulic’s Regional Manager for Africa


he South African economy is hampered by a tragic irony. The country suffers from extremely high levels of unemployment, yet many industries cannot find the workers it needs. A shortage of skills means most workers simply cannot do the jobs the economy needs them to do. The lack of skilled welders in the construction industry provides a perfect example. The demand for skilled welders in South Africa is much higher than the number of welders who are available and this often forces the industry to make use of foreigners. The shortage also continues to hamper large scale capital expansion projects like Eskom’s Medupi power station. The poor quality of specialised welding on Medupi’s boilers was one of the biggest causes in the delays in getting the station onto the national grid and increasing the cost of the project. Yet, despite the negative impact of the shortage of welders, local training to


produce skilled welders is lacking. Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges still only focus on equipping learners with basic welding skills. While skills development is crucial, these challenges should also encourage innovation in the nature of work the construction industry needs welders to do. If we cannot find the right person for the job, perhaps it is necessary to change the job. Boiler piping is very specialised and we need to use the best boiler makers to do those welding jobs, but new technology means that welders are not always needed to work on utility piping anymore. Victaulic trains workers in joining utility piping, which cuts out the need for welding through the use of joining pipes with bolted mechanical couplings. Welding has been one of the surest processes for securing pipes for many years, but it does have several drawbacks. Aside from requiring skilled and often highly paid technicians who are difficult to find and retain, welding is also time consuming. It requires several costly and time consuming quality control procedures. Then there is the issue of heat. The heat generated by welding can significantly reduce the strength of the metals being joined and damage critical surface coatings. In addition, welding dissimilar metals or pieces of varying sizes can be a challenge. Experienced welders also know that removing and reworking a weld can be problematic. Finally, welding is dangerous and dirty. Safety is critical on any construction site and when welding one spark can start a deadly fire. Equally important, spent rods and other remnants of the welding process must be handled properly to keep the work area and plant safe and clean. Mechanical pipe joining was born from the idea to replace flames and fumes

with a cleaner and safer alternative. Most demanding industries still hold the perception that pipe-coupling technology can be used only on a temporary basis, but this not the case. Victaulic offers a permanent, safe, and cost-effective alternative to using flanges or welding with no hot works required. The systems are accessible simply by removing two bolts from a coupling, making it easier to maintain efficient system performance. This reduces labour costs, pollution, energy usage, potential health and safety risks as well as drastically reducing the time necessary to install and maintain these connections. Further, the design allows for controlled pipe movement within the couplings while maintaining a positive seal and a self-restrained joint. The design allows for expansion, contraction and deflection generated by thermal changes, building or ground settlement and seismic activity. Additionally, since Victaulic couplings are designed to provide engineered movement at the joint, unlike welded, flanged or threaded joints, the couplings minimise noise and vibration transmission generated by pumps or other equipment to the piping system. The Victaulic system allows for training and up-skilling to the extent that these skills in local workers could eventually satisfy local demand and even be exported. When compared to the current era where we need to import skills, this is a significant upgrade. In an era when skills development and job creation remain of crucial importance to our economy, we need to start thinking innovatively and challenge old mind-sets if we want to succeed in genuine empowerment and job creation. Barry van Jaarsveld is Victaulic’s Regional Manager for Africa. Victaulic is the global manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining systems. May 2017


Thermablock Lightweight Cement Blocks


hermablock blocks are very versatile, the basic Solid block have grooves that lock perfectly for the workability to be easier. The conduit block allows a horizontal reinforcement of the wall where the edge block creates the ability to reinforce the walls with the rods tying them to the horizontal structure of ceiling. Thermablock range, the hollow block is the double continuous cylindrical cavity (9cm diameter) which crosses the wall vertically at 20cm intervals. As a result cavities can be filled with pre-determined distances with iron bars and concrete of various distances. These blocks eliminate the need to build pillars. They also allow the desired mechanical resistance, heat and sound insulation properties to be set depending on the filling material being used. The application of Thermablock in external load bearing walls and internal dividing walls. The 40 x20x20 cm block like the conduit blocks for internal walls, are provided if required with ducts for data and electric cables. The vertical cylindrical cavity and the horizontal means that the entire structure can be tied together without the need of pillars. Can add metal bars and filled with concrete to make it a strong structure for the support. The Versatility of Thermablock with the 5 basic types of blocks you can build architraves, reinforcements, windows sills, columns for anti-seismic rebar and partitions. Benefits include high versatility, easy placing, properties of heat and sound insulation and a low production cost. Other features of Thermablock is their high environmental compatibility and energy saving both during production and later, during use of the building.


Light weight, easy to handle (less handling costs) less manpower for loading and offloading


Fire resistance – Blocks melting point is very high to normal building blocks


Cheaper transport cost as more pieces per lorry load

10. Fewer joints due to size of blocks 11. Uniform compressive strength for all blocks 12. Any kind of finishes can be achieved – 10-15mm plaster thickness required 13. Easy to cut, sawn, drill and chase for conduits/services 14. Faster construction – More output by man hours 15. Suitable for internal or external walls

®weight blocks are: Thermablock light • Fire and Water resistant. • Great saving on structural loading (steel) • Less plaster thickness required only 10-15mm thick • Easy to cut, drill and chase for conduits • High thermal & sound insulation

Thermablock range of block Thermablock range in particular is a very versatile range of blocks. Their sound and thermal technical performance is good and it is widely used in African and European markets due to its light weight and compressive strength of the block. Due to the light weight of the block as it weighs about 87% less than standard concrete blocks or walls. Sufficient reduction in weight leads to sufficient economy on buildings, basements floors and walls making it lighter and much for durable and easier to lay than standard concrete block. Lightweight Cement Blocks advantages: 1. Extremely light weight compared to concrete blocks, stones or bricks. 2. Thermal insulation – Temperature control within walls 3. Sound insulation – Sound proof to external sounds from outside noise 4. Comparable compressive strength of natural stones 5. Great saving on structural loading (reinforced steel) 6. Durable and long lasting, non-moisture absorbent and air permeable May 2017


Safdeck on Countryhouses attic

SIFA Towers, Kilimani, Nairobi. An early Kenyan adopter of SAFDECK

Malplast Panorama

EPIC Centre Nyali

MRM RE-WRITES THE MULTI-STOREY STORY! “The greatest human quest is immortality…Monuments last much longer than words. Civilizations are remembered by buildings. There’s nothing greater than Architecture!” – Philip Johnson (1906 – 2005), an American modernist architect. Mankind has sought to conquer height in buildings since Mesopotamia’s Ziggurats in 4000BC to today’s Burj Khalifa that projects almost a kilometre skyward. The modern skyscraper, consisting at least 20 stories, only appeared in the late 19th Century as a result of advances in construction methods utilizing Steel, Reinforced Concrete and their composites and driven by a steep demand for housing & commercial space due to rapid urbanization and risen realestate prices. The industry turned to the only material that could meet the demand for speed, guarantee high strength and structural efficiency, Wrought Iron and Steel soon after. From the industrializing cities of America & Europe before a rapid spread to Asia through Japan, the age of the skyscraper was upon the earth. Today, up to 90% of high-rise buildings utilize steel or steel-composite framed construction due to its inherent qualities and attendant benefits thus:• Steel frames are a lot faster to erect compared to in-situ cast reinforced concrete frames; leading to shorter deployment of capital and earlier returns for the developers. • Due to a high strength to weight ratio, steel allows for large column-free spans and lighter-weight construction; yeilding more usable space and foundation cost savings. 18

Steel-framed construction is better suited to withstand lateral loads from quakes or wind. • Steel frame elements are precisionfabricated in a factory before sitedeployment, enabling better quality control and significantly reducing site time & activity and the related disruptions. • Steel frames usually incoporate beam-web hollows (castellations), convinient for routing services and hence reducing floor-to-floor heights without sacrificing headroom. • Building alterations subsequent to construction are relatively easy to accommodate with Steel. Kenya’s 100-year or so multistorey buildings history has largely utilized reinforced concrete; dictated by limitations of availabile materials & the nation’s level of construction technology. Until Mabati Rolling Mills Ltd (MRM) entered the scene! While some multi-storey steel buildings utilizing appropriated mateirals have existed a bit longer, MRM introduced a potential game changer in 2011. SAFDECK, the region’s first dedicated steel-deck profile for use in Multi-Storey Steel Buildings (MSSBs) was launched. Influencing change in an engineering culture deeply rooted in reinforced concrete for MSSBs was no mean feat. MRM invested in engagement with

developers & professionals and leveraged the unwavering support of its engineeringcum-fabrication partners to rewrite this story. From the first modest factory-cumoffice MSSB project in 2012, we have not looked back. 5 years and dozens of magnificient structures of varrying size & geopraphical spread later, MRM is confident that SAFDECK and Steel-framing is the future in Kenya’s high-rise construction. The range of applications have grown too; from simple mezzanines in warehouses, commercialcum-office blocks, high-rise apartments, multi-storey car-parking and lately even low-rise country houses! MRM is proud to once again trail-blaze the local industries adoption of modern technology. To re-tell old stories and compose new ones amongst stakeholders of how buidlings, tall buildings, are to be conceived and deployed using the Steel language.Standing at the crest of this watershed moment and peering into a bright future, the collective MRM team is happy to paraphrase Architect Johnson’s 1960’s sentiments; there is indeed nothing, no, not one thing greater than SAFDECK-inspired Architecture! Long, may these monuments stand! Great, may this civilization reign! Long may the monuments stand. Great may this civilization reign! May 2017


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May 2017


and fan out until L-shapes can be identified within the pattern.

Flooring ideas for Africa It is important to consider the costs, benefits and shortcomings of the flooring ideas you have in mind before you commit.


here are a lot of flooring ideas out there and most incorporate a variety of styles, colors and textures. When it comes to putting or replacing your floor, it is important to consider the costs, benefits and shortcomings of the flooring ideas you have in mind before you commit. Here is a list of the most popular flooring tends for Africa, their advantages and disadvantages, and the particular rooms they are best suited for. Tiles There is a wide variety of tiles available in the African market; glazed ceramic tiles are very durable, resistant to scratches and also water resistant. Tiles come in a variety of sizes and materials, such as marble, porcelain, travertine, slate, and granite. Additionally, they are fairly easy to clean, and stains are not much of a concern. However, tiles can be very loud to walk on because of echoes. They can also be cold, and their heating systems are very expensive. They can be difficult to repair in case of cracking. Since tiles are resistant to water, they are perfect for bathrooms or kitchens. They may also be convenient in a dining area where food and drinks tend to be spilled frequently. According to Mr. James Kiio of

Liberty Ceramics Limited, an upswing in constructions activities owing to the increasing urbanization is boosting the demand for tiles, significantly across our country Kenya; thus leading to substantial thrust in tiles business, i.e. the demand for tiles remains high. Mr. Kiio further explains that, the demand has led to the emergence of different trends that are significant to the thrust of the tile market in Africa. These trends include: • Evolution Accept no imitation, the ceramic tiles found in the Evolution tile collection are a picture of sophistication and give reference to early craft style design themes. This natural tile range enjoys flexibility in a range of popular sizes and traditional thickness while benefiting from a comprehensive collection of special pieces including step treads, skirting, bullnose and mosaics. • Tangle The never-ending patterns found in Blueprint Ceramics Tangle tile range create graphic perimeters that test the human eyes limits! Originally evolved from an old geometric construction housed with a square border, the lines of Tangle join at their mid points

May 2017

• Creative This creative project stemmed from the various structural elements and primordial themes of a natural stone product, named ‘creative’. Taking a stone which looks at home in a Nordic lake Blueprint has reimagined its natural yet simple features. Formulated and characterized by a mixture of size and grains it is available in Natural, Structured, Graffio and Mixed textures. Aimed at architects and professional designers it benefits from a large range of differing cuts and tones supplied in a variety of size formats. The Creative Tile collection can enhance your design with a natural yet striking finish which is sure to attract attention. Carpet Carpets not only possess a soft feeling, but also give a soft look to a room. They are quiet to walk on and prevent echoing. It is quite simple and quick to install a carpet, and they can also go over uneven subfloors. However, although advancements in fiber technology have enabled carpets to be more stain-resistant, they are still prone to stains. Regardless of how frequent they are vacuumed, they still may contain hidden dirt. Occasional steam-cleaning is needed to keep the carpet fresh; plus they are not good for people with allergies. Carpets are best suited for low traffic rooms, like bedrooms, to minimize the trapped dirt that gets. They also give bedrooms a cozier look and feel. Hardwoods The price of the hardwood will depend on the type of hardwood you go for; engineered wood will cost you a little less. Hardwoods have a presentable appearance plus a great resale value. They are quite easy to clean and maintain and normally only require vacuuming. However, cost is the largest drawback when it comes to hardwood. Like tile, hardwoods are also loud to walk on. They are not suitable in high-traffic areas and they can also be ruined by stagnating water. The living room is the best place to put hardwoods. It is not a high-traffic area such as a foyer, plus they bring out a good stylish look. 21


Mr. Paul-Lucas Benoit Lambert the Director at Decomagna Limited explains that, essentially engineered wood consists of a block-board wood core and the decorative wood layer on top. The wood layer in our case is 2.5 to 4.5 mm thick. “The wood comes in different finishes, smooth or sanded and with a pre-applied stain or varnish,” he adds. “In case of severe damages to the surface (some dropped an axe for example); it can be sanded but bear in mind all textures will disappear. Also any pre-applied finishes will be gone. As it is genuine wood, you can of course reapply the stain/varnish or engineered wood polish,” he asserts. Laminate Laminate does not easily scratch, in case it does, a little vegetable oil rubbed on the scratch is enough to get it right out. It can also look like real wood or tile, and it can even be rather difficult to tell if it is real or not. Like hardwoods, laminate is also simple to clean. It is even possible to make your own cheap and natural house cleaners. It is also great for pets because they can neither scratch nor stain it. However, stagnating water will ruin laminate flooring. If the laminate does get ruined, unlike hardwoods, they cannot be refinished. Laminate is a great flooring idea for high traffic areas like a foyer or any room that welcomes a lot of activity because of its durable nature. It is highly recommended to avoid putting it in a kitchen, bathroom, or a

laundry room since laminate should not get wet. According to Mr. Lambert, Kenya and East Africa has a very big market for laminate products, with growing interest in the up-market manufacturers. “We cater for all markets and keep very competitive prices in order to push the industry and demonstrate what true quality products mean,” he adds. He further explains that, the difference between good quality and poor quality laminates is unimaginable, and people are starting to notice. “There is a big demand for laminates but less for engineered wood due to the high price. Also, top brands in laminates source their wood from renewable sources and have no impact on the ecosystem, whereas engineered wood still depends on actual wood from specific region. Currently the price of engineered wood is rising due to more and more shortages,” he affirms. Decomagna Limited supplies high end laminate, engineered wood and vinyl flooring in Kenya and East Africa. Vinyl Like carpet, vinyl is quiet and easy on your feet. It is inexpensive compared to some of the other flooring types. However, although vinyl has evolved so much and can be made to look like tile or wood, it still does not look as great as the real thing. Vinyl dents and tears easily, plus it is slightly challenging to clean them. Vinyl is great for a laundry room

as it can shield a lot of the sound from your laundry machines. It could also work well in bathrooms and the kitchen because of the warmth it adds. Epoxy Epoxy flooring systems are resin based industrial flooring systems which provides unique features. They are very hygienic due to their seamless feature, durable, easy to clean and easy to apply hence reduced downtime. As well they provide exceptional abrasion and chemical resistance features. According to a representative of Stentor Enterprises Limited, currently the market is aware of the epoxy product since they started five years ago. Mainly, it is applied in the industrial and manufacturing sectors which have really appreciated this product. “We are trying to introduce the product in commercial and domestic sector which still uses the traditional concrete protection (tiles, carpets, terrazzo etc),” he adds. “Epoxy floors provide essential compliance with GMP requirements which entails minimum common sense sanitary and processing requirements applicable to all food processing establishments. Many food industries have implemented the GMP certification scheme for food processing as the foundation upon which they have developed and implemented other quality and food safety management systems, including HACCP, ISO 22000, SQF and ISO 9001,” he affirms.


Laminated flooring / Enginered wood / vinyl floors / decorative panels / Clic-Wall / Antitermite construction boards / shelvings 0728 787 432 0733 604 604


May 2017


Affordable. Sustainable. Raw material efficient. Do you have building projects that should deliver high-quality, sustainable and affordable housing with great outlooks? If yes, precast concrete offers a smart solution. It is a cost-efficient way to build any type of buildings safely, with less raw materials and long building lifetime. Elematic offers everything you’ll need to start a precast concrete factory, from concept design to lifetime support and beyond. And always the best match to the needs of your project.

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Meet us at Totally Concrete Expo South Africa, Stand No. 125 Elematic

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May 2017

4/12/2017 11:09:00 AM



Along with the fitted kitchens come quality tiling, sinks, appliances and cabinets to complete the look.

Having a Modern Kitchen


modern kitchen is no longer simply a utility where one prepares food, it instead speaks of elegant taste, convenience and space for one to not only cook but also entertain. Along with the fitted kitchens come quality tiling, sinks, appliances and cabinets to complete the look. The kitchen is one if not the most important room in any home. It is truly the heart of the home, everyone wants a beautiful, functional place where the family can gather and enjoy one another’s company. Kitchens have become places where an array of activities takes place apart from the traditional cooking. The society has also evolved to a point where man is more attracted to things that will assure them of comfort, tranquility, efficiency, affordability and also style. In Africa today, a housing boom has fueled the demand for home furniture and fittings and kitchens are no exception to the trend. Across the continent as the middle income group has expanded, it has brought with it demand for better quality in both housing and house fixtures heralding the introduction of fitted kitchens. From South Africa to Nigeria and Kenya developers have been putting up well


appointed housing estates literally overnight with home prices topping US$1million which can attest to the changing tastes of today’s homebuyers. Gone are the kitchens of days past when all that was required was a stove, pantry, fridge and sink. The discerning homemaker today as well as commercial kitchen operator wants style, quality and convenience all wrapped into one. Fitted kitchens address these demands and they have become more the norm rather than the exception. In case you are thinking revamp, functional space is key. You should go for a design that works well for you. Consider carefully where to place various appliances such as the refrigerator, cooker and microwave. The design you settle for should give you enough room to cook, eat and entertain. A good kitchen design should also give you enough storage space for your pans, utensil and other small appliances. Your kitchen space should also look appealing to your guests and you can simply achieve this by employing clever use of colors which will go a long way in creating a favorable ambience. You should also consider the cost. Always go for a design that will fit your

budget. Engaging a professional kitchen designer if you can find one will help you achieve your desired design which is within you budget. There are many kitchens layouts which can accommodate any available space. So if you have a small space you need not worry as even a small space can have spacious storage with a nice flow. For instance for small spaces, always think vertical designs and L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen with a large center island for larger layouts. To achieve a design that will see you have enough room to store all your utensils and other small appliances, maximize space by using every square inch of space available. The kitchen, from time immemorial, has been considered the heart of the home. It is from there that food the most essential need of life is prepared. This is the reason adequate attention needs to be placed on fittings used in the kitchen. We need to look beyond beautiful kitchen furnishings that are ephemeral and focus on durable furnishings that will give the cookroom the endearing effect. May 2017


Sheffield Steel Systems Ltd Advanced Engineering Solutions


heffield Steel Systems is a leading supplier of various types of refrigerators, commercial kitchen, laundry equipment, and HVAC (Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning) in the East African region. Their expertise includes: consulting, design, manufacturing, and installation. According to Lydia Were, the Customer Relations and Marketing Manager, the Director Dr. Suresh Kanotra came from humble beginnings as a service provider to operators in the hospitality industry in Kenya. Since its inception in 2003 the company can look back on a successful story of growth and product development in the Eastern Africa region. “There was a huge service gap at that time; the need for kitchen and restaurant solutions was served primarily by imported equipment that was not made for local conditions, with an added issue of unavailability of local service and spares. In that case, Dr. Kanotra was encouraged to provide customized solutions in this market,” clarifies Ms. Were. “We are in this venture to provide a complete solution that offers our customers value for their money but also ease of operation and the best quality,” she adds. Extensive experience, passion coupled with comprehending challenges has precipitated the company to grow tremendously. The firm has collaborated with world renowned equipment manufacturers which include: Rational for combi ovens, Rancilio for coffee machines, SDX for banquet trolleys, Sammic for dynamic food preparation machines, DGD for refrigeration; where they import some of their products. Above all, Sheffield Steel Systems works closely with the manufacturers for instance they have various technical teams that have been trained by the factory for savvy after sales services. As a result, the company confidently stands behind their promise to provide clients with advanced engineering solution. Sheffield Steel Systems competes on: technology, comprehending clients’ needs and after sales. Once they are on board with 26

the project they provide all the information, drawings, instructions that are required for the correct and timely finish of the project. “Customers get the feel of what will come out,” explains Ms. Were. For instance, they have introduced the world’s best latest technological cooking solutions that have led to efficiency and savings, most notably is Rational Self cooking centre. “Designs are initiated with drawings after understanding clients’ need and careful conceptualizing with our design team; a client’s dream project is created on our computerized software (auto CAD),” she intensifies. In other words, all pivotal workers have been trained to understand and work from drawings. The company guarantees two years warranty on moving parts and gas. Furthermore, they offer annual maintenance contracts as agreed with clients; they go a step further to train their clients on how to make best use of the technologically advanced equipment; this attests the confidence they have in their workmanship. The long-term dedication and commitment they have shown to their clients has enabled them to significantly increase and of course maintain their customer base each year from institution facilities, private, government and commercial clients such as Java house, Art Caffe, Café Pap in Uganda, Bourbon in Rwanda, White Rose hotel in Zanzibar, United nations Headquarters in Gigiri Nairobi, Aga Khan Hospital Nairobi, Nairobi hospital among others. The firm secures business since the solutions offered are unique in space planning, innovative, presentable and cost effective. Over the years Sheffield Steel Systems has been part of many success stories of its different customers having introduced many new concepts for the entrepreneurs willing to try out new concepts. Sheffield is the trusted kitchen solutions provider with wide range of concepts and products for different market segments and sizes. Unlike before when they were regional, today, Sheffield is looking at Africa as a total market. In that case, the company has

opened a factory that manufactures PUF cold room panels suitable for the Africa market. “We are producing cold room locally, “says Ms. Were. Besides, they have ventured into the field of air conditioning where they fabricate, design, install, test and service air conditioners “We have earned a premier reputation by tailoring HVAC solutions specifically to each customer’s needs,” she adds. All in all they offer complete laundry solutions to meet clients’ need; in that case the firm not only design a laundry’s layout and workflow, but also provide suggestions for equipment mix and programming to meet clients’ operation’s specific production and labor requirement. This has facilitated the company to be awarded by the European Business Academy who has recognized them as the Best Enterprise .This recognition is based on investment attraction, high technology and modern management methods. Sheffield Steel Systems has positioned itself as one stop shop for all advanced engineering solutions and equipment. The company is ISO 9001:2008 certified and was recently awarded a Certificate of Achievement for number 19 in the Top 100 – Mid- Sized companies in Kenya for in 2016. Besides, it is the only company in its industry whose quality management systems are audited by bureau VERITAS for ISO 9001:2008; this prompted it to become a super brand in the year 2017. Looking ahead, the firm is focused on accelerating the execution of its growth strategy while continuing to build on the strength of its brand. This will be achieved by providing their clients with the best and most innovative solutions and in bringing positive change to the surrounding community With this unique journey, the best of Sheffield Africa is yet to come. The company’s concept based showroom, factory and main offices are located in Nairobi, Old Mombasa road, near Syokimau Railway Station; in Kampala, Uganda and Kigali Rwanda. May 2017


COMMERCIAL LAUNDRY MACHINES A WORLD OF ENDLESS AND LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES Sheffield Steel Systems is one of Africa’s leading suppliers of quality of commercial laundry equipment. We have been supplying, installing and servicing laundry equipment for over 10 years .We have a hard-earned reputation for our comprehensive range of energy efficient washers, dryers and ironers which offer best value, the highest wash quality and laundry efficiency.Our 24/7 Service opera-

tion provides a same day/next day response for all our of commercial laundry equipment.Our customers include hospitals,

care and nursing homes, hotels, leisure centers, schools, colleges, universities, manufacturers, resorts, lodges, beauty spas, launderettes, dry cleaners, holiday parks, hairdressers and beauty therapists and many more.

WASHER EXTRACTORS We have a range of washer extractors that are technologically advanced, have intuitive programming and are user friendly .They can be used for any time of business from self-service launderettes to commercial hospitals.

TUMBLE DRYERS Our dryers are ranked as the most technologically advanced on the market. With unique features like the stainless steel drum, reverse rotation, variable –frequency drive, double axial-radial system,the savings are immediate


Compact machines for every business We have a wide range of innovative ironing and folding machines designed to offer the best performance and productivity, proving to be the perfect ironing solution for any kind of business

Facility Solutions



Wiring Systems Refurbishment of older wiring systems




Exclusive Distributor of Wire Ropes

Tel: (256) 414 504 405 / (256) 753 636 329

ne of the first types of wiring incorporated insulated spacers supporting conductors, in the early stages these were often bare conductors. This was a relatively easy type of installation not ideally suited for homes because electric shock was a great risk. Often when carrying out refurbishment or repairs on an existing building, older wiring systems are sometimes encountered by electricians. For the new generation of electrical installers this can be the first time they have encountered an older wiring system in working operation. It is quite difficult to explain the nature of a wiring system when there is little or no practical information available. An older wiring system does not necessarily mean the installation is unsafe.

Lead-sheathed Lead-sheathed cables were another type utilized, which consisted of tinned copper conductors with rubber insulation, often having a cloth covering, then an outer lead sheath. This proved to be a popular type, due to the ease and speed of the installation methods. The fixing methods were bottle- style clips which were prefixed along the route and then the lead- sheathed cable was laid along the route and the clips used to secure the cable in place. The lead sheath formed the circuit protective conductor and it was essential that this was maintained to ensure that the sheath could not become live. At each termination there was a clamp system that secured the lead sheath to a metal box. This type of cable offered an element of mechanical protection but the rubber insulation was liable to deterioration over a period of time, often due to excessive heat or overloading at the terminations of accessories. If lead-sheathed cable is found within an installation, it can be inspected and tested to determine the condition of the lead sheath and the rubber insulated conductors, but it is advisable to leave it undisturbed until such time as the wiring system can be replaced. Wooden trunking Vulcanized India rubber insulated cloth covered conductors encapsulated in a wooden- style trunking system, which had normally two grooves for the conductors to be located. This was a time- consuming process where usually carpenters were used to complete the system for the early electricians. The rubber insulation was liable to cracking over a period of time, often due to excessive May 2017

We manufacture and supply a wide range of cables addressing the most diverse applications in both the energy and telecom sectors in Kenya and Africa. Being a reliable and quality certiďŹ ed Electrical and Solar provider, we are authorized distributors for Schneider Electric and GE Lighting.

We go an extra mile to deliver more. Guaranteed quality

+254 703 030 000 / 500


heat or overloading at the terminations of accessories and there was the inherent fire risk associated with the wooden system. Should this type of system be encountered, the only course of action would be replacement, although a detailed description including photographs and the retention of the system for display purposes would be greatly appreciated. Tough rubber sheath Another popular type was, rubber insulated, tough rubber sheath cable (TRS) which was easily recognized by the black coloring, similar to the modern PVC cable. This once again proved popular because the flexible nature of the cable assisted the speed of the installation. However, the mechanical protection for this cable was almost nonexistent. Also, the rubber was liable to deterioration depending on whether it was being subjected to overloading and/or high ambient temperatures. This cable type was also susceptible to damage from exposure to direct sunlight. The resultant deterioration often led to the loss of the insulating properties where the rubber became dry and inflexible, normally resulting in cracking of the sheath and inner core. When the TRS cable is discovered, it can be inspected and tested to determine the condition but it is advisable to leave undisturbed until such time as the TRS wiring system can be replaced. Polyvinyl chloride The introduction of polyvinyl chloride as a means of insulation revolutionized the electrical wiring industry by providing an insulation product with a long lifespan


originally expected to be approximately 25 years but is now still undetermined. The initial PVC cables were installed utilizing imperial- sized conductors, 1/.044, 3/.029, 7/.029 and 19/.044 for those who remember them, and it can be difficult to determine their cross sectional area. The introduction of low smoke and fume (LSF) cable to the PVC cable market removed the danger from fire hazards associated with electrical installation fires. When old wiring systems are encountered, it is extremely important to determine the type of system you are dealing with. Failure to be aware of the dangers can lead to an increased risk of electric shock or the risk of fire to the building. Mr. Gregory Raffaele, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at EMSI insists that, temperature resistance, flexibility, new fiber optic and mechanical resistance are important factors to consider when repairing old wiring systems. “But besides all the existing approvals or standards, a contractors and their client should always consider the practical requirements which do not always fall within existing standards,” he adds. “The cable industry is a very traditional industry and trends vary on the applications and products. Chinese competition has been a challenge which has forced some manufacturers to increase their efficiencies and reduce their costs, but has also raised new concerns due to quality issues,” reiterates Mr. Raffaele. Mr. A. V. Shah the General Manager at Coast Cables Limited (CCL) advises that, customers must always look for the best quality when it comes to cables it will power

their homes, businesses and livelihood for decades. “They must do their research and purchase original cables from officially appointed distributors. Cheap counterfeit cables can be attractive to consumers until it leads to high costs when they are forced to replace their wiring due to shorts or being under-powered,” he adds. Coast






manufacturer of house and underground cables; plus they import intensely technical and specialized cables from reputable cable manufacturers globally. “We have noticed CCL counterfeit cables countrywide and urge consumers to avoid these by knowing who to purchase original cables from. Eyeballing our cables, one can notice that CCL cables are differentiated from counterfeit by our skin coating technology whereby our original cables are coated with a white PVC on the inside layer and colored on the outside layer,” affirms Mr. Shah. The Administration Manager at Metsec Cables Limited Mr. Davis Ndonye, a local manufacturer of Power Transmission and Distribution Cables; insists that, KEBS needs to be stricter in ensuring compliance by imported cables. Customer awareness should be heightened to counter counterfeit and substandard products. “Competition is high to entry of new manufacturers and imports while consumer awareness is low to medium. Consumers should go for products with extensive variety and sizes, countrywide availability high quality, ISO Certification and Environmental Certification,” he adds. “Metsec cables embody all these quality,” he asserts.

May 2017

Apex Steel: a hunger for ‘firsts’ Uganda’s most reputable supplier of quality Generators, construction and industrial Equipment. In addition to a highly professional after sale services.


Factory: Tel: Email: Website:

1457, Banda, Kireka, Off Jinja Road P. O. Box 22631, Kampala - Uganda (256) 414 504 405 / (256) 753 636 329


May 2017

The new KEBS regulation that was implemented effective 1st April 2017 prohibits the manufacture and sale of twisted bars in Kenya for building construction. This quite simply means that square twisted steel which was not scientifically correct will no longer be available in hardware shops within Kenya. Deformed Bars also known as Ribbed Bars are now making their way to hardware shops all over Kenya. However the critical aspect is that even in deformed bars, one must be careful to ensure the steel being purchased is within the KEBS allowable tolerance limits. APEX STEEL is the only company in the region that manufacturers Deformed Bars – BS: 4449 – 2005; GRADE 500+ that conforms to ISO 6935-2 since the past decade. It has many ‘firsts’ to its credit. It’s the first company to get the KEBS certification and subsequently the ‘Diamond Mark’ of Quality. It took the leadership in selling its steel by weight than ‘number of pieces’ just so that the customer was paying for what they got in the steel as there are ‘allowable tolerances’ as approved by KEBS. Apex Steel demonstrated its confidence in the quality of the steel it manufactured and went on to brand its steel since 2006. Every one meter of the rod bears its name APEX TMX; it also indicated the Grade and the diameter on this rod. Apex Steel’s appetite to engage in continuous improvement of its product and processes led it to become the first company to have its manufacturing processes ‘LEED’ certified; making it the only steel that qualifies for ‘Green Buildings’. Apex Steel is also the first company to have a ‘state-of-theart’ in-house testing facility to test the manufacture of steel with regular and consistent testing of the manufactured steel. As a consequence of these credits, APEX TMX is considered ‘EAST AFRICA’s Choice’ and this earned it the prestigious status of being recognized as a ‘SUPERBRAND’ for four consecutive years in a row. For the benefit of end users, the table below illustrates the sizes of steel and it’s standard weights as per the global standards of BS: 4449 – 2005 for Grade 500+ steel that is KEBS certified as specified below. All steel manufactured by Apex Steel conforms to the length and weight of KEBS norms, consistently. Apex TMX is also the only manufacturer within the region who manufacturers D 40mm. Hence for multi storied projects with deep running basements; high rise buildings and complex structures; Dams and Infrastructure projects; Structural Engineers have the flexibility to design it with D 40mm. A few years ago; Apex Steel introduced ‘Cut and Bend’ services and several projects now are subscribing to this arrangement. ‘Cut and Bend’ steel – cut and bent as per the Bar Bending Schedule (BBS) ensures minimum or no wastage and not only reduces cost but fastens the project and customized and precise steel is delivered to site. Recently it has scored yet another first to introduce Bartech Couplers which is an efficient alternative to the ‘overlap’ for projects. Apex Steel continues to be the leader in bringing innovation and pioneer the availability of world class manufacturing locally. 31


Proper planning is critical to the durability of any new structure as it provides the foundations of a structure, whether it consists of one or 20 storeys.

Forestalling piling project failure During the planning stage of a project, developers have to gather accurate geotechnical information to ensure that they approach piling tasks, as and when they are are needed, appropriately. Moreover, the piling operators they engage should have requisite expertise.


hen piling failure occurs in a construction project, the initial response amongst the parties involved is to establish whether or not

on the ensuing quality of the piling work - the selection criteria employed for the bid during the tendering stage and the accuracy of the geotechnical information used.

the piling operator is culpable. Of course, in some cases, the piling operator may be at fault. But what could also be


overlooked is the developer (client's) role.

In these times when project implementation costs won’t

Price over operator competency

just stop escalating, there is a high temptation, amongst


The developer’s oversight

developers to use price, as the main - if not the only - in

There are two areas where the developers' oversight during

determining the winning bid for a piling contract during

the planning stages of a project may have a strong bearing

tender adjudication. Sadly, the competency of the winning May 2017

bid is deliberately disregarded. Nico Maas, Chairperson and Founder of Gauteng Piling, a company considered as one of the South Africa’s leading piling specialists, laments the practice, amongst some contractors of entrusting inexperienced operators, who cut costs to secure business. He draws attention to the harmful consequences which could result from this malpractice. “Proper planning is critical to the durability of any new structure as it provides the foundations of a structure, whether it consists of one or 20 storeys. Shortcuts or awarding a contract purely on the lowest price, could be dangerous to say the least,” Maas asserts. 2. Inaccurate and insufficient information Sometimes a poor piling job could be due to inaccurate and insufficient information which is furnished to piling operators which developers convey to tenderers, states Maas. When incorrect geotechnical information is not supplied, the project might be delayed. Maas says there are situations where, in the course of working, the main contractor discovers that piling is required. Hence, in order to accommodate the change, the operational schedule is revised. “Furthermore, unforeseen rock formations might result in the costs of the piling project exceeding the budget. For

instance, where there are enormous boulders underground, not even the most experienced operator can keep to time schedules.” Underscoring this point further, Maas acknowledges that most of the very rare cases of failures that Gauteng Piling has encountered in the twenty one years of the company’s existence, have been down to unexpected ground conditions. What makes matters worse these day is that, sometimes the overly cost-conscious client or contractor might loath spending extra money to establish what lies beneath the surfaced the site on which they are planning to build. However, this negligence come back to haunt them when least expected. Sticking to basics Indeed all told here is no need to overstress the significance of developers gathering accurate geotechnical information about a site and engaging piling operators with the right wherewithal to manage the intricacies of a demanding project. As hard-earned funds are poured into a project, every step of a project, from inception to commissioning, has to be tended meticulously, not least piling tasks.



BAUER Maschinen Group is the world market leader in specialist foundation engineering equipment and in equipment for exploration, development and exploitation of natural resources. BAUER Maschinen GmbH BAUER-Strasse 1 86529 Schrobenhausen, Germany

May 2017



Building a university with Hydraform blocks

T 34

he cost of building material is skyrocketing with developers forced to come up with innovative solutions. Lukenya University is being built

of construction. Lukenya University is leading the way in

using soil blocks. Demand for education has seen

has embraced green building techniques in its quest to

unprecedented increase in the number of students seeking

align itself to nature.

this front. Nestled in Makueni County near the Athi River and with a total of over 400 students, Lukenya University

university education. However the number of universities

The school has been constructed using hydraform

available cannot match the number of students leaving

blocks in a bid to reduce construction cost. The

secondary schools each year. The cost of expanding

Hydraform Interlocking Soil Block (hydraform block) is

existing universities or even building new ones continue

an interlocking earth block used in many African countries

to be exorbitantly high.

for construction purposes. The hydraform block is made

But an emerging method of using low cost building

from soil cement which is a mixture of soil, cement and

material could be the best way of addressing the high cost

water, and is hydraulically compressed to form a high May 2017

quality interlocking soil block. Soil from the building site can be used to manufacture building blocks. The Hydraform compressed earth block is very popular due to the cost savings that are involved during the construction process as only around 30% of the structure requires mortar between the blocks. While various materials for affordable housing exist, Hydraform blocks have proved to be much cheaper and readily available.

May 2017

“Hydraform Interlocking Blocks save on mortar and plaster cost, you don’t use mortar to bond it together, and it has tongue and groove joints that form an interlocking masonry wall. When it comes to plaster you also save since the interlocking wall doesn’t have big holes that need to be covered with mortar when plastering,” says Sylvia Kasanga director at Sycum Solutions the architectural firm being the design of Lukenya University. “Another facet is the excellent thermal properties of the blocks. Makueni is a hot area and we needed building material that could embrace the weather changes of the area,” she adds. Also with Hydraform Blocks there is no cutting of trees as in the case of burnt bricks thus environment friendly. Additionally, you also have an option of not plastering, because the wall looks beautiful even without plaster on it. And due to the interlocking nature of the stabilized soil block, unskilled labour can be utilized in construction thereby empowering rural communities and creating jobs. And this is what Lukenya University has done to the Community surrounding it. Young people have benefitted immensely by being trained on how to make and use the hydraform blocks. “This University has been a blessing to the community here. Apart from bringing the university education closer to the people, the project has also been a source



of employment,” she says. Established in 2015, the university is set to be developed in phases. “The Lukenya university project is an ongoing one. Construction will be done in phases depending on the number of students that we receive annually,” Sylvia explains. “If things go as planned, in six or seven years to come, Lukenya will be a fully fledge university with several class rooms and office blocks,” she adds. “In the final stages of construction, Lukenya University will have a big modern library, a graduation square, an amphitheatre and a media centre among others. With these developments we will be at a position to host over 6000 students,” she says. In the bid to go entirely green, Lukenya University is looking to harness sunlight in the area to produce electricity. In this regard they are in talks with an international solar company to install solar panels that will be used as source of power. While the design plan has fully embraced the use of soil blocks, this was not the initial construction material. As Sylvia says, the first building material for the university was stones. However, the move was not sustainable and posed several challenges. Main among them is the lack of quarries in Kibwezi. Then there was the issue of road infrastructure in the area. Sylvia says when construction of the institution started there were literally no roads in the area. Another issue was the lack of artisans in the area, which in turn led to the importation of workers from other places to Kibwezi. But one thing that stands out is the affordability of soil blocks compared to other construction material. According to Sylvia, the soil blocks were chosen after extensive study of other available material. “In my own opinion, nothing can beat the soil blocks in terms of cost and thermal properties,” she asserts. Lukenya University has one hydraform that is used to make about 1000 blocks a day. The introduction of Hydraform machines in Kenya is a government initiative aimed at helping Kenyans builds affordable housing in a country that is experiencing housing shortage. Under this initiative, one or two hydraform machines were given to each county across the country. However, the initiative is being used in rural areas while in urban areas it is rare to see such a machine at work. The issue of affordable housing in Kenya continues to be a contentious issue. With many such houses going for over Ksh1m, questions are being raised on how affordable they are especially considering that majority of Kenyans earn less than Ksh30, 000 a month. 36

May 2017


CONTROLS GROUP Manufacturer of quality construction material testing equipment


ontrols group is a world leader in the design, manufacture and supply of materials testing equipment. Since the foundation of the company in 1968 Controls have achieved an international reputation in this field and we have expanded the operation so successfully that we now have seven regional international offices and over 100 distributors around the world. The company has focused not only on the research, development and manufacture of new testing equipment but also on the level of service provided by its sales organization. During this period Controls has established a wide network of customers in virtually every export market and so our experience in international requirements is second to none. During the last 50 years we have delivered more than 15,000 laboratories worldwide. In the field of research and education we have installed modern sophisticated laboratories to Ministries, Universities, Polytechnics and Vocational Centers. Controls Group In East Africa Agoma Group Ltd has been tasked to represent Control Group in the East Africa market. The group specializes in the distribution of quality construction materials testing equipment which are used in the civil engineering and the general construction industry in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania & Rwanda). As





competitive market, they believe they have the knowledge and experience to give their clients an edge. They are familiar with the pressures of both the retail and large industrial markets. Projects With quality products in hand and a





customers by providing the best possible support services, Agoma Group has been able to maintain a steady rate of success in winning over an ever increasing number of clients. Clients’ Rapport With training support from Controls Group (Manufacturer), Agoma Group a local company, Agoma Group competes on quality, price and timely delivery time. They pride themselves with the quality of their equipment, which is supplied with a manufacturer’s warranty and a certificate of conformity ensuring that test performance and specification is achieved and that it complies with all requirements. All of their equipment is provided with manuals, training, installation, after sales service and technical support catering for all of their customer’s needs. Agoma Group focus on meeting the needs of small and medium sized

ltd has Expert Support and Professional Services, which offer a full installation, maintenance, and delivery at no cost. The firm provides calibration service to their clients too. Agoma Group offer training on the equipment before commissioning it. Besides, shipping and ordering of equipment is done by the company which has empowered them to secure this competitive market. The products are very convenient considering that tests can be done in-house other than at Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

Our clients and projects generally originate from the following:




Dams and Hydraulic Schemes Roads Bridges and Tunnels Airports, Seaports and Harbors Railways and Underground Networks Irrigation Schemes Sewerage and Water Schemes Industrial and Housing Complex Thermal and Nuclear Power Stations Local Authorities/Administration

Piling Companies Precast Concrete Companies Road Contractors Ready mix Concrete Companies Civil Engineering Companies Aggregate Quarries/Producers Central Materials Laboratorie Asphalt Producers Private Labs

Site Investigation Companies Ministries Cement Plants U.N Agencies Agricultural Institutes Colleges/Polytechnics & Universities Consultants Electricity Companies Geologists Industrial Laboratories May 2017


Agoma Group...........................................39

Kens Metal Industries..............................20

Apex Steel..................................................1

Kimco Builders........................................35

Bauer Maschinen.....................................33


Décor Magna............................................22

Kridha Limited.........................................13

Ecosave Africa.........................................11

Mabati Rolling Mills................................19



Fabrication Systems Ltd ....................28/31

Metsec cables Ltd....................................29

Fit Tight Fastners.....................................13

Nabico Enterprise.....................................20

Fluid Systems Engineering......................36

Prime Steel............................................ IBC


Ryce East Africa......................................20


Shapa Consulting Ltd...............................36



Ideal Works..............................................23


Kanku kenya Ltd......................................12

Terrain Plant Ltd......................................31

Kenbro Industries Ltd..............................17

Vactron Equipment ...............................15

To advertise with us: Send Email to or contact your nearest agency for more information.

Need more information on any of the above advertisers?

+254723643635 yvonne.andiva1

Email Us.

We will be happy to help!

May 2017


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