Early this week on Tuesday 14th April 2015 there was a presentation by French Architect Thierry Bogaert on High Strength Concrete and its advantages. This was at Athi River Mining Cement company’s new offices at Westwood Park, Ring road, near Westgate in Westlands, organised by Athi River Mining Company Managing Director Mr Pradeep Paunrana who had invited me for the event.
The usual cement available in the Kenyan market has an average strength of Class 32.5. Athi River Mining cement has a wide range of strengths available, including Class 32.5, 42.5 and 52.5 cement.
This class 42.5 and 52.5 strength cement which is much stronger than the usual class 32.5 found in hardware shops around the country has numerous advantages as listed below.
1. Saving on plinth area usable space due to low volume and foot print. With a stronger concrete mix, for the same support, the columns will be thinner hence suitable for internal spaces where thin columns are much appreciated e.g social halls, churches, lecture halls etc.
2. Savings on form work. Since the columns and beams will be much thinner for the same strength, the form-work needed to support the wet mix will have less surface area, ensuring a considerable savings towards construction costs.
3.Reduction of overall building self weight. With stronger cement used, the columns, beams and slabs can be thinner, hence lighter, meaning the overall building weight is reduced hence lower costs of construction achieved.
4. For open spaces eg halls, lecture rooms and churches, stronger cement can enable longer spans in between columns, freeing much needed space for increased visibility.
5. Strong cement allows for higher water permeability and minimal chances of cracking.
6. High strength cement enables very high rise tall structures to be constructed safely.
With the introduction of class 42.5 and 52.5 strength cement by Athi River Mining cement company, Kenya’s construction sector is set to change dynamically for the better as developers tap in to the added benefits for their projects.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.