October 29, 2018
PENETRON ADMIX Secures Water for Fire-Fighting in South Africa
The opening of the Paarl Junction mixed-use development in Paarl, Western Cape in South Africa, features massive concrete water storage tanks to ensure fire-fighting capabilities in a region suffering from a long-standing drought. PENETRON ADMIX was specified – over a previously selected competitor’s waterproofing product – as the optimal solution for the concrete water tanks.
A city of around 200,000 people in the Western Cape province, Paarl is the third-oldest town in South Africa and located approximately 60 km northwest of Cape Town. It is famous for having one of the world's largest granite outcrops. Paarl’s new development, the Paarl Junction in the Courtrai district, is virtually a whole new economic area, comprised of everything from offices to industry and commercial companies.
A crucial part of the project is the network of water storage tanks, necessary for fire-fighting capabilities, due to the region’s aridity. The drought in the Western Cape that began in 2015 has resulted in a severe water shortage across the region, in particular, for the city of Cape Town and other urban centers. Despite the recent rain and snowfall this winter (July/August in South Africa), extremely stringent water conservation measures are still in effect. This makes a comprehensive water storage system a crucial element of any new development – like the Paarl Junction.
Enough Water for Fire-Fighting
“In emergency fire-fighting scenarios, the demand for water can quickly exceed the supply available from the local water system,” explains Clive Leader, Managing Director of Penetron South Africa. “This is especially true for suburban or rural areas served by boreholes with limited or slow delivery capability and sub-optimal or malfunctioning municipal supply systems. Water tanks are an ideal solution for this type of supply bottleneck.”
The new Paarl Junction development features around 19,000 m2 (209,000 square feet) of office space, 6,800 m2 (74,800 square feet) for manufacturing and over 9,200 m2 (101,200 square feet) of retail space for shops, service facilities and restaurants located at the ground level.
PENETRON ADMIX-treated concrete, supplied by Lafarge Concrete, was used for the base element and the side walls of the large water storage tank. The tank walls – at 5.4 m (18 feet) high – were cast in one lift with no construction joints. At that height, the vibration within the concrete pre-cast became a challenge. Exeo, the project contractor, installed external vibrators/compactors in the bottom 3 m (10 feet) of the form-work, while the remaining 2.4 m (8 feet) at the top were compacted with standard poker vibrators. This helped the concrete from getting stuck to the lower parts of the cast.
An Efficient and Economic Admixture
“Originally, a competitive waterproofing solution was specified by Exeo, the contractor, who had always used this product,” adds Clive Leader. “Fortunately, the Penetron technical team was able to show the contractor how PENETRON ADMIX would be the optimal choice for the Paarl Junction project. In the end, the project engineer at BSM Baker Consulting specified PENETRON ADMIX.”
As the world’s most efficient and economic permeability-reducing concrete admixture, as defined by American Concrete Institute (ACI) tests, PENETRON ADMIX is unaffected by climatic conditions and provides a self-healing capability to the concrete matrix.
“As an integral part of the concrete, PENETRON ADMIX lasts for the complete life cycle of the concrete,” says Clive Leader.