Zeerust domestic building

ECHO FLOORS’ newly launched operating section which is specially geared to the needs of the domestic home-building market has come to the rescue of an owner-builder who faced materials supply problems when he chose a remote rural site for his new home.

The site, 20km from Zeerust in NW Province, made the availability of raw materials and skilled labour a problem for owner Solomon Mothupi. But the immediate availability of Echo Floors reinforced precast concrete flooring panels presented a simple and cost-saving solution – helped along by the fact that Mr Mothupi also found a competent local brick-layer.

Use of the panels was motivated by the experience of engineer/project manager Nick Stolp of DNS Construction Engineers. And the fact that Echo Floors maintains a 30 000m² stock of panels in varying lengths meant that accommodating inevitable on-site changes was a great deal easier than would have been possible had a purpose-made slab been specified.

Careful preplanning and working together, with the professional team tweaking both the architectural and engineering designs, resulted in innovative combinations of reinforced precast floors, in-situ cast beams and steel beams cleverly incorporated into the depth of the slabs to conceal this method of support structure. A combination of screeds and structural topping was used, which proved both economically and structurally sound.

Building the roof slab was also far easier in precast than any other system, for in some areas the roof slab is 5m above the first floor slab, which would have made propping and formwork very difficult.

Innovation, cost effectiveness and speed of construction, as well as the efficient control of the site so far away from the project manager, made this project an undoubted success, according to Stolp.

“It was also a typical example of the versatility and flexibility of precast when used on a challenging and intricate architectural design,” says Echo projects director Danie Esterhuizen.