Concrete is the most used building material and, by mass, represents about half all man-made creations. So, engineers and technicians in the construction industry could gain a huge advantage over their peers and competitors by having a substantial practical and theoretical knowledge of concrete, says John Roxburgh, senior lecturer at The Concrete Institute’s School of Concrete Technology.
“Concrete is a magnificent material that provides shape, texture, aesthetics, strength and durability at the most competitive price. That is why it is used more than other materials. So, professionals in the construction industry inevitably have to work with concrete in some way.
“But all too often TCI sees I see a lack of preparation for such assignments – engineers who with more concrete education could have avoided much havoc on site. We see many jobs in which the engineer has produced excellent performance specification for the concrete but had been unable to spot the potential for problems within the proposed mix.
“Then we see floors that are badly delaminated because the engineers did not see the consequence of the mix design containing an air-entraining admixture, a 28-day strength that was too low because an extremely high extender content was not spotted in the mix design, or excessive shrinkage in the hardened concrete due to high water content in the mix design. All these problems could have been prevented if the construction professional knew what to look for when presented with the concrete mix design,” Roxburgh states.
He says a sound theoretical knowledge of concrete will enable construction practitioner to solve and prevent many problems – before it happens on-site. “They will be able to cater for the concrete’s plastic property requirements to meet the needs of the size, shape and type of structure while dealing with the external ambient conditions and internal thermal and curing requirements. They will be equipped to advise on placement techniques and other good concrete site practices. Also, their knowledge will go a long way to ensuring that the concrete’s strength, durability and surface finish specifications are met.
“The School of Concrete Technology offers numerous courses specifically for construction professionals – and it is time these are better utilised. The SCT20 ‘Concrete Practice’ course is good for on-site staff that need to deal with everyday concrete use on site. SCT30 ‘Concrete Technology’ is slightly more theoretical and serves to educate both site and office staff on more mix design and specification issues. SCT36 ‘Properties of Concrete for the Structural Designer and Constructor’ is a special one-day course ideal for those that have completed SCT30 course and want to concentrate more on the design and specification of concrete. SCT37 ‘Durability of Concrete’ is another one-day course that deals specifically with concrete durability issues. All provide knowledge that would not only eliminate site and durability problems but save money for all parties involved in a project – and the national economy,” Roxburgh contends.
More details on these courses and other more advanced training from the School of Concrete Technology planned for Midrand, Cape Town and Durban this year are contained in the SCT 2020 Education Programme which can be obtained by phoning 011 315 0300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.theconcreteinstitute.org.za.