With the dramatic escalation in urbanisation, efficient storm water management is an increasing challenge to reduce the risk of flash flooding and sustain natural water cycles. Adding to their market-leading track record for introducing cutting-edge technology concretes to the local construction industry, Lafarge Readymix has launched Hydromedia™, a new fast draining concrete pavement solution in South Africa.
The advanced drainage technology in Hydromedia™ has been developed by the international Lafarge group, world leader in building materials. While this unique product outperforms traditional permeable pavements, it also minimises the cost and long-term maintenance for local authorities and developers of storm water management infrastructure.
"Hydromedia™ represents a significant technological advance in addressing important environmental issues associated with residential developments," comments Lafarge's Neville Wearne, National Marketing Manager for Readymix. "This porous pavement concrete is instrumental in recharging groundwater while reducing storm water runoff and can form part of a cost-effective Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS). It also allows more efficient land use by eliminating the need for retention ponds, catchment basins and other storm water management devices. In addition, the product acts as a filter mitigating contamination of groundwater by surface pollutants."
"Water is a scarce resource in South Africa and requires very careful management, planning and protection: this includes our precious ground water which is often forgotten. In urban areas, permeable paving is an important type of sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS). GBCSA welcomes and values innovative design SUDS solutions that protect and conserve our environment," says Manfred Braune, Technical Executive of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
The key to the unique properties of HydromediaTM is Lafarge's breakthrough in paste technology to create a no-fines concrete that uses sufficient paste to coat and bind the aggregate particles together, forming a system of highly permeable, interconnected voids that drain freely and quickly. The mix is particularly fluid in application but highly robust and resilient after placing and curing. It results in a much simpler application, improving not only the workability of the concrete mix but also its consistency. The rheological properties that have been achieved strike a balance between fluidity and viscosity, producing short-term flexibility and long-term strength.
"We are proud to have adapted this world-class technology for the benefit of South Africa's construction industry," Wearne adds. "We work closely with all players in the construction chain in order to channel our unparalleled technical strength at innovation into improving construction processes," he concluded. In the case of HydromediaTM this means that, in addition to its superior permeability performance of 150-1000 litres/min/m², the product has high fluidity making it easy to place as well as staying workable for up to ninety minutes. The final finish is durable, smoother and, together with being available in a range of integral colours, is aesthetically more appealing than other permeable pavements.