From ground level to the roof of a medium-rise apartment building, Echo’s hollow-core concrete flooring technology is helping to step up the pace of government programmes to build homes for the needy.
Since the earliest days of the first social housing projects built in Johannesburg in the late 1990s, Echo Group’s flooring systems have become a preferred solution in high-density housing.The group’s latest innovation is, literally, at ground level – a simple concrete foundation system developed specifically for single-storey housing. It’s a clever adaptation of the prestressed hollow-core concrete floor slabs that are more traditionally used in the construction of multi-storey commercial and residential buildings. The ground-beam system involves embedding separate cut-to-measure ‘slices’ of an Echo prestressed slab in the ground. The exposed raised edges of the concrete beams become the solid foundation on which the final floor slab is installed.
The system carries Agrément Certificate approval and has proved itself to be more stable than many other foundation systems used in affordable housing construction. At a pilot development in the Free State, houses built on Echo ground beams have proved to be sound and, over a number of years, none of them has developed wall cracks.In the construction of medium-rise residential buildings one of the key advantages of the hollow-core concrete slab system is that it obviates the time-consuming processes – such as propping and formwork – that are required for wet concrete work.
This advantage has been used to fast-track a number of landmark social housing developments in the Johannesburg inner city and Newtown, in the Alexandra Renewal Project and in Alexandra’s Far East Bank. Echo’s floor systems have also been used for housing developments in Orlando and Kliptown Square in Soweto, at Cosmo City, and in the huge Pennyville project near New Canada, where new housing was built for almost 3 000 formerly homeless Johannesburg families.Outside the metropolitan area, Echo floor slabs have been used in social housing developments in Krugersdorp, Randfontein, Witbank and Middleburg.