Concrete versatility suits development of human settlements

Concrete has the versatility to suit diverse applications in building sustainable human settlements.“Concrete is the material with the proven track record to provide tried and tested – as well as innovative – solutions for sustainable housing,” says Adele de Lange, technical marketing consultant: human settlements at the Cement & Concrete Institute (C&CI).

“Over the centuries, concrete has evolved into a building material with wide ranging applications, each making a contribution in the construction industry,” she says.

De Lange suggests that a holistic design approach towards sustainable human settlements requires that the necessary infrastructure systems are put in place first. Concrete roads – whether cast in-situ or using precast paving block systems – built in conjunction with concrete retaining walls and kerbing, provide a labour-intensive solution that promotes job creation in the unskilled labour market. Concrete’s durable qualities provide a low-maintenance cost-effective solution that will contribute to sustaining service delivery in the long run. Concrete infrastructure products also include precast concrete pipes, security fencing, and lighting and telephone poles.

“Once a sustainable infrastructure is in place, it is important to ensure that houses and other buildings are constructed also to be sustainable. Once again, concrete offers a range of products suitable for various applications. In-situ concrete floors promote labour intensive applications; precast concrete flooring systems ensure uninterrupted construction programmes on fast-track projects; building walls with concrete bricks and blocks promotes job creation and skills transfer; concrete sills, lintels, window and door frames ensure durability; and colourful concrete roof tiles provide a low-maintenance and durable roof finish.”

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