Those working on civil engineering projects face a variety of challenges every day. One of the significant challenges they face is delivering a project both on time and within budget. Budgets can often be very tight on civil engineering projects. It is important for those working on them to understand this, plan accordingly, but still ensure the project’s quality and safety meet the highest possible standards.
Over the years, new techniques and products have been developed, allowing civil engineering projects to be completed quicker and for less money. One such product is a class of materials known as Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats or GCCMs. Concrete Canvas Ltd developed this unique product based on the work done by their two founders while at university in the early 2000s. Now producing GCCMs for use worldwide, Concrete Canvas has been able to help many civil engineering projects achieve their goals while also being more cost-effective than traditional concrete solutions such as poured or sprayed. So, what are the areas where money can be saved by using GCCMs compared to traditional concrete?
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Time spent on site
One of the costliest elements of a civil engineering project is the time spent on site. This covers both the cost of potential disruption to work, such as at a mining facility or for part of a rail network, along with the cost of labour. The key factor in controlling the costs in this area is how quickly can the project be completed. The sooner a project can finish, the lower the cost of labour and the disruption to the site can be removed, allowing business to continue.
With traditional concrete, the installation time can be slow due to several shortcomings with the concrete itself. Firstly, the concrete has to be mixed on-site, which takes time and then the spraying or pouring of the concrete can be inefficient, with excess concrete being wasted and unusable.
GCCMs have neither of these problems. Arriving on site as a ready to install roll, it requires no mixing and can be installed at a rate of 200m² per hour. This is up to ten times faster than traditional concrete. Furthermore, as GCCMs are cut to size on-site, there is no unusable excess wasted. GCCMs are also fully usable just 24 hours after hydration and installation, which allows the time taken for a project to be completed to be significantly reduced.
Organising the logistics around a civil engineering project can be difficult at times. There are often lots of different organisations working in partnership to finish a project, and coordinating them around each other requires a great deal of planning. When traditional concrete is used on a project, the complications come from organising the arrival of materials and mixing equipment and then working around the area while the concrete dries.
By using GCCMs, this process is significantly simplified. No specialist mixing machinery needs to be organised or brought to the site, therefore reducing costs. Also, because GCCMs can cover a greater distance than traditional concrete, for example a single pallet of Concrete Canvas can cover the same distance as two 6m³ mixing trucks, money can be saved here as well.
Some complex civil engineering projects require specially trained staff to work on them. When working in remote locations, this can cause problems finding staff who are trained to the required level. With GCCMs, because they are easy to install, requiring no specialist machinery or tools, projects where they are installed do not require staff to complete any specialist training. This can save on project costs because staff do not have to be sent on training courses or brought in from afield.
One of the main areas where civil engineering projects find money being spent in the long-term is with repairs to the existing installations. Traditional concrete is prone to cracking due to a variety of reasons. With GCCMs, because their design offers a reinforced concrete layer thanks to the flexible material they’re made from, they provide a really strong and durable concrete solution. Concrete Canvas has a life expectancy in excess of 120 years, and this allows projects to save money on repairs when compared to the life expectancy of traditional concrete, which is sometimes as low as 50 years.
Overall, by using GCCMs, there are several areas where money can be saved on civil engineering projects. The adaptability of this class of materials allows it to be used on projects worldwide and in some remote locations where traditional concrete may not be suitable. In the coming years, with the financial advantages offered by GCCMs, along with the other benefits, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the usage increase and become more common.