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FloorSem 2012 Seminar

Concrete Floors Exposed at the ‘ultimate concrete flooring seminar’!

The latest seminar road show – FloorSem 2012 - organised by the Concrete Society saw 450 delegates around the country learning the latest thinking and technology in the designing, planning and construction of industrial concrete floors on the ground.

In association with the Cement and Concrete Institute, the Society ran a very successful series of seminars Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Featuring 2 overseas, and 6 local speakers, many issues relating to the successful laying of concrete floors were addressed. Proceedings were commenced with an overview of the Concrete Society by the Chief Executive Officer, who handed over the seminar to the Chairman for the day, Peter Cullinan from BKS in Durban and Bryan Perrie, of the Cement and Concrete Institute in the remainder of the centres.

The programme included a keynote address by Kevin Dare, Managing Director of Face Consultants, UK, who gave delegates a comprehensive ‘journey of compromises’ when installing industrial concrete floors.

Having summarised basic floor construction techniques around the world, he also covered structural design; detail design; construction methods including long strip, laser screed jointed, laser screed Jointless and post-tensioned. The latter were compared in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

Les Greening, from LGA Fortuna Logistics Consultants, presented views from materials handlers, focusing on the impact of floor tolerance and construction on efficient distribution centre operations. A fascinating insight into the world of handling warehouse stock on a massive scale using the very latest in materials handling equipment and the considerations which are necessary when designing and installing high tolerance floors.

A consultant’s point of view was presented by engineer Bertus Broekhuizen of Otec cc Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers. All aspects of designing and laying industrial concrete floors were covered in terms of clients’ and engineers’ expectations, relating to suitability, serviceability and durability.

Martin Kerrigan, Projects Director of Twintec South Africa, presented a ‘practical approach to ‘jointless’ floor construction’.  His presentation advised delegates of the drivers behind floor slab design; understanding slab joints – induced and formed and understanding the materials used.  He reviewed typical maintenance & operational requirements and described cconstruction methodology using a typical case study.

A presentation on Jointless Post Tensioned Slab on Grade was given by Peter Norton of Concrete Laser Flooring (CLF) and Francois le Roux of Nyeleti Consulting. Peter began by citing several definitions of a floor, including one by B C Crisp, Australian engineer: “... the floor is the most important part of the building. All activities occur on or near the floor and the remainder of the structure is simply a means of protecting the floor and workforce from the environment.”

A brief look over the past 30 years revealed many changes taking place in industrial flooring, particularly in the warehouses: increase in fast moving consumer goods; larger warehouses and higher racking; more efficient distribution methods; faster forklifts and round the clock operation.

Peter continued by posing the question: “why do we need to reduce the number of joints. In short, the reason put forward was the many problems that jointed floors presented, and the fact that they cause a large number of problems and failures.

So, he concluded, post-tensioned jointless floors are the future and will enable the industry to provide the owner with a world class surface facility offering long life and low maintenance.

Francois le Roux then described in some details the process, by which post tensioned floors were constructed, the benefits of such floors and the applications to which they are suited.

A case study was also exhibited featuring a project for BMW SA.

The seminar then turned to a very different approach to the contractor’s point of view. Ian Buchanan of Royal Floors pulled no punches when he described the many challenges that face the contractor when installing an industrial concrete floor. These ranged from poor specification and quality of sub-base material to iinsufficient attention paid to concrete mix design and inappropriate level and flatness specifications.

“There is a far greater likelihood”, he said, “of a successful outcome when there is interaction between the engineer and a specialist flooring contractor before construction commences, or better still, even before enquiry documents are issued”.

Next was a presentation from George Evans, Concrete Technologist with the Cement and Concrete Institute. A very detailed look at the materials proportions and handling for producing good, durable concrete was featured. Aspects included:

  • Mix Design - Aggregates, Cement.
  • Concrete plastic properties - Mobility, Bleeding.
  • Placing - Method, Rate, Location, Sequence.
  • Consolidation - Effectiveness.
  • Protection and Curing - Method, Duration.
  • Concrete hardened properties - Dimensional stability, Durability.


The last presentation of the day focused on applied finishes and sealing of concrete floors given by Wynand Louw of W Louw and Associates. The various types of coatings that are available were outlined.

The features and benefits of each coating type were presented, together with typical application areas in which they would be suitable for use. Key criteria that need to be checked before embarking upon a resinous based application were highlighted and included:

  • Brief and Expectations
  • Intended use of floor
  • History of previous spillage on floor
  • Surface preparation
  • Correct choice of joints and sealants
  • Maintenance and guarantee


Question times were lively and interesting and certainly had delegates thinking deeply about all the issues that were discussed.

In his closing addresses, Chief Executive Officer, John Sheath, thanked Bryan Perrie for his excellent chairmanship, Hanlie Turner from the C&CI for her valuable input on the organising committee, the exhibitors and sponsors for their generous support, and the delegates for their attendance.

A special mention and thanks were made to CSSA Head Office staff Natasja Pols and Jeanine Steenkamp who had organised the entire week to provide a very successful event.



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