How to judge your cement supplier’s performance

How to judge your cement supplier's performance

A supplier plays an important role in the success of your business. If they deliver their cement or services on time, it will help you stay on schedule with your own work. Whether your suppliers provide materials, labour, tools or services, their performance can heavily impact your own processes and deliverables.

Choosing the right supplier is an important decision to make, especially when it comes to cement and construction materials. Their abilities, quality of products and professional conduct can make or break your construction project. But how do you know whether your cement supplier is performing well? You need to be able to objectively evaluate their performance constantly.

This evaluation will help you to hold your cement suppliers to a high standard and ensure that you get the best service and support from them. Having clear lines of communication between your business and the supplier is essential for a successful partnership. 

By having a formalised system in place to evaluate supplier performance, you will be able to reduce risks, save money and increase efficiency. Here are some steps to take that will allow you to judge your supplier’s performance:

1) Establish your evaluation criteria

It is important to decide what characteristics you value in a supplier. These will form the basis of your evaluation criteria and help you to maintain a professional relationship with your supplier. Make them known to the supplier so that they can also work towards a successful partnership.

Your company’s needs and processes will form the basic outline for these characteristics, which may include the following:

  • Punctuality – Does your supplier deliver on time, every time? Even when factors beyond their control delay the delivery process, a good supplier will always communicate these delays and do their utmost to ensure that your project is not affected too badly. If your cement supplier is always late and offers no explanation, then your business will suffer.
  • Accuracy – Does your supplier provide the correct products or services with very few mistakes? Are there any flaws in their products that will affect the quality of your project? Your success often rests on the supplier’s accuracy, so keep this characteristic in mind.
  • Responsiveness – Does your supplier respond to your requests or concerns quickly? When you place an order or have a question to ask, are the lines of communication direct and easy to manage? Suppliers that are responsive will save you time, money and stress.
  • Flexibility – Delays can happen on your end, too. Does your supplier accommodate delays and adjust their schedule to fit yours? If your supplier is happy to push the date of delivery back by a few days, then they will be able to meet your needs and keep the partnership strong.
  • Quality control – Does your cement supplier evaluate the quality of their own products and consistently provide you with the best materials on the market? Do they take pride in their services? Are they offering good value for money? Quality does not only come from the actual cement supplied but also the value-added services offered by the supplier.

2) Categorise suppliers for evaluation

Once you have established your evaluation criteria, start to categorise your various suppliers depending on the importance of their performance to your project success. Some suppliers provide vital products, such as cement, that directly influence the project quality and schedule. Other suppliers provide less critical services.

By categorising your suppliers into primary and secondary lists, it will help you to determine the importance of their performance for your project success. It will also allow you to devote more time and energy to the evaluation of primary suppliers’ performance.

3) Choose employees to run the evaluation process

If you are unable to do the evaluation yourself, then make sure you select the right employees to do it for you. Those who work closest with the supplier should complete the performance evaluation. While many employees may not be able to see the full picture, it is important to choose someone that works with the materials or directly with the supplier themselves. This will lead to an accurate performance judgement.

4) Create a method for evaluation

Next, you will need to create a method for judging the performance of your suppliers. These techniques could include evaluation forms, surveys, data capturing and computer programmes. You could conduct a survey with your employees to rate the performance of the supplier, or you could create evaluation forms that objectively determine the performance based on key criteria.

Keep a list of any mistakes that the supplier makes, including miscommunication and delayed deliveries. Include on the list any product defects, poor quality materials or inefficient service. These will help you to create your method of evaluation and get a full understanding of the supplier’s performance.

5) Continue the partnership or terminate their services

Now you should be able to decide whether you are happy with the supplier’s performance or whether you think it best to use another business. If there are too many red flags, it is best for your project and employees to terminate the services of the supplier. However, if you are happy with their performance, it always helps to show appreciation and build on a good relationship.

It is always good to hold your suppliers to a high standard. This will be mutually beneficial to your project and their business. Try to help suppliers improve their services where they can by giving them feedback from your evaluation. These reports will give them the opportunity to improve their offerings and correct and issues.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

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LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

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At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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LafargeHolcim Group sees 2.2% growth in 2019

LafargeHolcim Group sees 2.2% growth in 2019

The global LafargeHolcim Group has had a strong start to 2019, seeing a 2.2% growth in the first quarter (Q1) net sales of cement as compared to Q1 2018. The group managed to sell a combined total of just under 4.1-billion Swiss Francs (~9.5-trillion TZS) of cement in the first three months of 2019.

“We had a very strong start of the year and I am especially pleased to see our strong sales growth and an over-proportional increase in profitability. Our momentum is very positive and the Q1 2019 is the third consecutive quarter with Recurring EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) growing faster than Net Sales,” says the chief executive officer of the LafargeHolcim Group, Jan Jenisch.

“We have delivered on the promised strengthening of our balance sheet and we are on track to accelerate the execution of our Strategy 2022 – ‘Building for Growth’. Our momentum in the past three quarters, a solid global market demand and the ambitions of our teams give us great confidence for reaching our targets for the full year,” he explains.

Strong momentum for LafargeHolcim Group in 2019

LafargeHolcim branches in all regions of the world are showing positive signs of growth and consistency. The markets in Africa have started to stabilise overall and the turnaround plans in several of these countries are starting to deliver visible results. One of the challenges that branches in Africa face is the fluctuation of supply and demand for cement, which impacts the prices.

Branches in Europe have delivered the strongest results so far in 2019, followed by North America and South America. The Asia Pacific region also continues its strong momentum due to the high demand for cement in countries such as India, the Philippines and Australia. All-in-all, 2019 has been successful for LafargeHolcim so far and this upward trend is expected to continue for the next three quarters.

Outlook for 2019

The positive momentum seen in Q1 2019 is expected to continue for the remainder of the year. The LafargeHolcim Group expects challenging but stabilised market conditions in Africa and the Middle East. They also expect to see continued growth in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, as well as softer but stabilised demand for cement products in South America.

Based on these trends and the successful execution of Strategy 2022, the targets for 2019 appear to be attainable. The group is expecting a Net Sales growth of three to five percent with a Recurring EBITDA growth of four to five percent. LafargeHolcim expects to continue its cash conversions through money-saving initiatives and more profitable margins. 

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

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LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

Latest Africa Construction Cost Guide published

Latest Africa Construction Cost Guide published

The latest Africa Property and Construction Cost Guide has been released by AECOM, an American multinational engineering firm, in partnership with the Bureau of Economic Research at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. The 2019/2020 guide outlines the current state of Africa’s construction industry and aims to facilitate the correct transformational changes.

“Our goal is to unlock the transformational change and innovation required to move the industry forward. In each of the 30 editions, we’ve shared our knowledge of Africa’s economy and construction sector, contributing to the wider discussion on how to unlock investment opportunities across Africa,” says AECOM Africa business line director Dean Narainsamy.

Building cost rates section is popular

The most popular section of the Africa Property and Construction Cost Guide is always the building cost rates. “Ranging from commercial and retail developments to industrial and healthcare facilities, we share our insight into the inclusive building costs rates per metre squared, allowing our clients to quickly estimate the building cost of potential assets and ultimately its return on investment,” explains Narainsamy.

The building cost rates section is based on extensive research completed by the Bureau of Economic Research. Bureau of Economic Research. This section of the Cost Guide is a measure of the percentage change in average building costs, based on an analysis of the rates in accepted tenders supplied by quantity surveyors. This information can be used to reduce uncertainties around the evaluation of construction contracts and compare prices of tenders.

Financing infrastructure is key in Africa

The Cost Guide also reveals that there is a need to finance infrastructure in Africa. A number of countries have already started to do this in order to maintain economic growth. The job creation that comes with financing construction is an important contributor to this growth. By financing infrastructure, particularly for power, water and transportation services, Africa can ease the burden on these facilities that are already under immense pressure.

Africa’s combined gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to reach three to four percent in the 2019/2020 financial year. Some individual countries are expected to grow their GDP as much as eight percent. This will benefit the construction industry as new facilities, ports and infrastructure will need to be built in order to maintain economic growth. The steady growth of the construction sector is already evident in East Africa.

The Cost Guide gives a positive outlook on Africa’s construction sector. It concludes that with a stable increase in infrastructure projects, the opportunities for investment and better service delivery will also rise in 2019 and beyond. Updating its facilities and buildings will make Africa a more attractive prospect for multinational businesses and conglomerates looking to invest.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

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LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

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At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

Second Best Practice Sharing Session a success

Mike Fisher at second Best Practice Sharing Session

South African cement expert Mike Fisher shared his knowledge with industry stakeholders

Mike Fisher, a South African cement expert, recently visited LafargeHolcim Tanzania’s Building Materials Centre to share his valuable insights and knowledge with cement industry stakeholders. Fisher is the Group Regional Support Head for the Roads Solutions Team at LafargeHolcim South Africa. 

The purpose of Fisher’s visit was to engage with industry stakeholders about the many uses of cement, concrete and soil-stabilisation in road construction. The engineers and contractors that attended the sessions agreed that this knowledge-sharing practice is highly useful. Fisher was the guest presenter for the second Best Practice Sharing Session, held at the end of June 2019. 

These sessions also presented a unique opportunity for networking between attendees. Over 60 people applied to attend Fisher’s talks and learn about the applications of cement for construction and soil-stabilisation in roads. Attendees stated that the sessions were interesting, helping and motivating. They were also pleased to have learned about Tembo cement products through the course of the sessions.

LafargeHolcim will host more Best Practice Sharing Sessions in the future. There is a need to share knowledge and create networking opportunities in the construction sector. This will benefit the Tanzanian economy and lead to the formation of strategic partnerships between cement manufacturers, contractors and the government.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

Cement expert visits two Tanzanian universities

Mike Fisher speaking to students at one of two universities

Mike Fisher recently shared his knowledge with engineering students

A South African cement expert, Mike Fisher, recently visited two local universities alongside LafargeHolcim Tanzania. He was invited by LafargeHolcim to share his valuable insights and knowledge with cement industry stakeholders and students in the construction sector. Fisher is the Group Regional Support Head for the Roads Solutions Team at LafargeHolcim South Africa. 

Fisher visited the universities in order to give a talk on the uses of cement, concrete and soil-stabilisation in road construction. These students are the future engineers and contractors of Tanzania, so this type of experience-based knowledge is highly useful. Fisher and Lafargeholcim Tanzania visited Ardhi University and the University of Dar es Salaam.

Around 200 students and five lecturers attended Fisher’s lecture at Ardhi University. They all showed a clear interest in his topic and were eager to learn about the various uses of cement products for road construction. It was also an opportunity to make the students aware of LafargeHolcim products, such as Tembo cement.

Fisher then visited the University of Dar es Salaam, where over 50 students and their lecturers attended his knowledge-sharing session. At the end of the presentation, the students requested that more talks take place at the university with similar experts and insights. Both universities have developed closer relationships with LafargeHolcim Tanzania and future sessions will be welcomed by the institutions.

LafargeHolcim will host more Best Practice Sharing Sessions in the future. There is a need to share knowledge and create networking opportunities in the construction sector. This will benefit the Tanzanian economy and lead to the formation of strategic partnerships between cement manufacturers, contractors and the government.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to improve productivity on a construction site

Building contractor productivity on site

Construction projects often fall behind schedule because of unforeseen issues. Site managers can minimise these delays by improving the efficiency and productivity of their teams. If contractors are able to work faster, then any delays will be reduced.

Whether a project encounters bad weather or absentee workers, the build needs to run as close to the original schedule as possible. Here are a few ways in which productivity can be improved on a construction site.

Clear communication is key

Without proper communication and direct lines of address, a project will fall behind schedule. Communication is key if the project is to run smoothly and on time. Contractors need to communicate with suppliers, architects, electricians, plumbers and their teams. 

Any changes to the schedule need to be communicated and regular meetings need to be held in order to distribute updates. When the lines of communication are clear and everyone knows what they need to be doing and when they need to be doing it, then projects become more productive.

Listen to feedback

Communication and feedback go hand-in-hand. Open lines of communication present an opportunity for feedback from team members. It is important to listen to one another and hear the opinions of those working on the project. Sometimes employees will be able to speed up a project if their concerns are addressed and they feel as if they are being listened to.

If they are worried about meeting deadlines or if their tools are not working properly, listen to their feedback and act accordingly. Have daily meetings with team members in order to address issues and increase productivity on-site.

Safety and training are vital

One of the biggest delayers of construction projects is job site injuries. Productivity is also affected when the team’s capacity is reduced due to injury and absent employees. Ensure that your team knows the safety rules and is properly trained in handling tools, equipment and building materials.

Before starting a project, make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency. Ensure that every worker is trained and up-to-date with their knowledge. The more trained an employee is, the more skilled they are and the faster they will be able to work.

Set realistic targets

One of the best ways to improve on-site performance is to set achievable targets. A site manager should set realistic daily, weekly and monthly goals for their teams to work towards. If contractors can meet their targets, they will feel motivated and willing to push onwards.

Managers can devise plans that will help their teams reach their goals. Write down what steps need to be taken to improve productivity and stick to a plan. Note any tools and equipment that will be needed so that you can have them on-hand and ready. Also, consider any logistical issues that may hinder your goals and make sure that they are planned properly.

Keep an eye on your inventory

Another frustrating cause of delays is running out of building materials and supplies. Check your inventory once a week and order any materials or supplies that are running low. Get your employees to report any shortages as soon as they notice it. This will give you more time to contact suppliers and order new materials if needed.

It is also important to double-check your inventory and compare it to the original plan. If your supplies are running out faster than you initially thought, it can delay the project down the line.

Delegate tasks

As a team leader, it is important to know each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Delegate tasks to certain individuals that you know are competent. They will be able to handle the tasks quickly and professionally.

Giving employees a sense of responsibility can also help them to become more productive. Keep an eye on their performance and pull them off the task if they are not doing so well. There should be a good link between the management and the team, so delegating tasks is a good way to bridge the gap and give them a sense of pride in their work.

Reward team members that perform well

One of the easiest ways to encourage employees to work hard is to reward those that perform well. Offer incentives to employees that reach their goals on time – whether it is free lunch or a month-end bonus, rewards are well-received on construction sites. By offering rewards, you show your team that you are paying attention to their work and that productivity is rewarded.

Work with the right suppliers

This is an important step to note. Suppliers can make or break your project schedule. Ensure that you work with the right suppliers who are able to meet your delivery deadlines and align with your targets. Suppliers can easily boost productivity if they deliver materials on time.

LafargeHolcim Tanzania can offer safe delivery of cement, along with a number of value-added services. We ensure that our deliveries arrive on time and that our partners can rest assured of their deadlines being met.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

10 benefits of concrete over other building materials

Contractor using building materials

When it comes to building materials, contractors always consider the costs, strength, sustainability, durability and safety of the various materials. Concrete is a fantastic all-rounder, which is why it is one of the most common building materials.

Steel may be strong, but it is expensive and prone to rust. Wood may be very cheap, but it is not very durable. Concrete is the perfect balance between all these factors. It is strong, affordable, safe and durable. It does not rust or rot and it can be made into any shape or size.

Concrete has many advantages over other building materials, which is why you should consider using it for your next building project. Here are 10 benefits of using concrete over other building materials:

1. Low maintenance

Concrete is a low-maintenance material. Once poured and set, it requires little effort to keep it in top shape. It does not need to be painted with protective coats or treated with chemicals. Concrete holds its shape and its integrity for decades without any necessary intervention. This cuts down on repair and maintenance costs in the long run.

2. Highly durable

Concrete is designed to last for many years – even centuries. Concrete has a lifespan that is two to three times longer than other building materials. It can withstand wear and tear better than wood or steel. Concrete’s durability means that it is a once-off investment when building – it will not need to be replaced again.

3. Can be made into any shape and size

Because concrete is essentially a liquid before it sets, it can be moulded into any shape or size. Architects love working with concrete as it allows them greater flexibility with their designs. It is perfectly suited to large-scale projects or small-scale home builds. Concrete can even be stamped and moulded to resemble wood and bricks.

4. Not affected by rust or rot

Unlike wood and steel, concrete does not rot or rust. Moisture in the air and heavy rains can cause wood to weaken as it slowly rots. Similarly, excess moisture can cause steel to rust, especially in coastal areas. Concrete is unaffected by these problems, which is why it is highly durable.

5. Energy-efficient

Concrete is a good insulator, which means that it can keep buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This means that concrete is more energy efficient as it reduces the need for heaters and air-conditioning units. It can cut electricity bills and save the building owners money. Concrete is energy-efficient in another way; it takes less energy to manufacture concrete than it does to produce steel (three times less, in fact).

6. Fireproof

Due to its low conductivity levels, concrete is actually fireproof. This has many obvious advantages, but most importantly is the safety of building occupants. Wood is highly flammable and steel can melt in intense fires, which makes them inferior building materials to concrete. When a building burns, often the walls, floors and concrete foundations are the only things left standing. This makes repairs cheaper and quicker.

7. Not affected by wind or water

Concrete is more resistant to high winds and flooding than wood, for example. This means that in extreme weather conditions, such as storms and cyclones, concrete is a safer building material than steel or wood. Concrete is highly resistant to other effects of wind and flooding, such as rust and rot.

8. Minimal waste

Concrete is a building material that can be used with minimal waste. It can be produced in exact amounts so that no excess goes to waste. It is also reusable and recyclable. Once the concrete has served its purpose, it can be broken down into rubble and reused for other building projects.

9. Reflectivity

Unlike metal and glass, concrete does not reflect light. This can have safety advantages for road users and pilots. In addition, its neutral grey colour means that it does not absorb solar radiation like darker materials, such as steel and asphalt. This means that concrete has the right balance between reflectivity and absorption of light and heat.

10. Concrete is quieter

Concrete has been proven to reduce noise. It makes buildings quieter for residents. Steel, glass and wood can transfer noise from the outside world into the interior of a building. Concrete has a higher soundproofing capability than other building materials.

These are the ten main advantages of concrete over other building materials. Concrete is a popular choice for architects and contractors for the reasons stated above. LafargeHolcim Tanzania produces a variety of cement products that have different applications for concrete.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

Risks of digging trenches near buildings

Excavator digging trenches near building

Contractors should be extremely careful when excavating trenches near buildings. There are many risks that come with digging trenches and they are increased in the vicinity of structures. Proper planning and care need to be taken before any soil is removed from nearby buildings.

The two main problems that occur when contractors dig trenches near structures are soil relaxation and lowering groundwater. When soil is removed, it can make the surrounding earth unstable as there is now less support. This can cause building foundations to crack or, in extreme cases, cause entire buildings to fall over. 

Trenches can also become a pool for groundwater. They can fill with water as it moves from the surrounding soil into the trench. This can dry out the nearby soil, making it crumbly and weak. Proper planning and execution of trenches will prevent these problems from occurring.

Soil relaxation due to trenches

When a trench or pit is excavated near a building, the soil can sometimes shear at an angle and fall into the hole. This can expose building foundations and even cause structures to lean over. Contractors need to ensure that they install proper supports along the walls of the trench to prevent soil relaxation.

These supports can be horizontal steel bars attached to vertical steel sheets on both of the trench walls. As a general rule, soil relaxation occurs at a 30-degree angle from the base of a building’s foundations. This means that for every two metres you move away from the building, the soil relaxation will drop one metre lower down.

Any trench excavated near a building will need to be adequately supported if the soil relaxation line occurs in the wall of the trench. For example, if you dig a trench four metres away from a building, the soil relaxation will be two metres below the surface. If the trench is less than two metres deep, it will not affect the building. If the trench is two or more metres deep, supports will be needed.

This ratio can be affected by the type of soil. If the soil is sandy or fine, then the ratio increases; for every three metres away from a building, the soil relaxation line drops by one metre.

Groundwater lowering due to excavation

Groundwater has a tendency to move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. That means water will move to areas where there is none; trenches, for example. In areas where the soil is saturated with water, trenches often fill up slowly as the surrounding groundwater seeps into the hole.

This lowers the water concentration in the soil surrounding the trench. In turn, the effective stresses in the soil are increased as a result of less water. The soil becomes drier and more brittle, sith weakens the support for building foundations.

The problem of lowering groundwater is greater in sandy soils or fine clay-like earth where the particles are small. Contractors need to take into account the water concentration in the soil and plan their trench excavations adequately. Failure to do so could weaken nearby buildings and cause them to crack and crumble.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to strengthen existing concrete walls

Strengthen existing concrete walls

Sometimes old concrete walls need to be reinforced and strengthened to keep the structural integrity of a building. Walls should also be strengthened if you’re planning on adding more weight to the roof, either by building an upstairs extension or changing the roofing material. Some contractors even advise reinforcing walls in areas that are affected by high winds and ground tremors.

You can strengthen concrete walls in a variety of ways and by using different materials. The four most common methods include concrete jacketing, concrete replacement, retrofitting steel and by using fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates. These methods are outlined below.

Concrete jacketing to strengthen walls

This traditional method of reinforcing walls involves adding a new layer of concrete to the existing wall in order to make it thicker and stronger. It is probably the most commonly used method. Additional steel rebar is placed between the new concrete and the existing wall for added strength. Contractors will make a grid of horizontal and vertical rebar which is then anchored to the existing wall. 

Concrete replacement

If a concrete wall is badly cracked or damaged, it may need to be replaced with a new batch. First, all loose concrete from the old wall needs to be scraped away and removed. Only structurally-sound concrete should be left behind. Any steel rebar needs to be checked and straightened if necessary.

Once the preparation work is done, wooden formwork can be assembled and erected. Fresh concrete can then be poured into the formwork and left to dry. After 24 hours, remove the formwork and allow the concrete wall to cure.

Retrofitting steel reinforcements

Existing concrete walls can be strengthened by retrofitting steel materials. This method does add a bit of weight to the walls but it can also be done with minimal disruption to anyone living or working inside the building. There are two types of steel materials that can be used with this method; steel plates and steel bracing.

Retrofitting with steel plates involves erecting flat sections of steel along the length of a wall. The steel increases the strength and stiffness of a wall, reinforcing it from the outside like a set of armour. The use of steel bracings is a lighter alternative to steel plates as it forms a steel skeleton along the wall. It performs the same function as steel plates, but the braces leave parts of the wall exposed. This is better for walls that don’t need so much reinforcement.

Fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates

This method is similar to steel reinforcement but it uses lightweight FRP laminates. FRP is strong and does not rust (unlike steel). Its light weight means that it is also easier to handle and install than steel. Like steel, the FRP laminates come in sheet form or rod form so it can be applied to a wall in the same ways as mentioned above.

These methods of making walls stronger have their advantages and disadvantages. They can all be used to repair damaged walls or to increase their load-bearing capabilities. Strengthening walls can allow contractors to build on top of walls and extend houses with extra floors.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

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LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

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At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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How to salt finish a concrete floor

Salt finish concrete floors

A salt finish is a method of texturing a concrete floor for added grip and a different look. It works by sprinkling coarse rock salts on the surface of wet concrete and embedding them with a roller. Once the concrete dries and hardens, the salt crystals are then washed away with water to leave subtle dimples on the surface of the concrete.

Salt finishing gives a concrete surface added skid resistance and can also add a decorative appearance to floors and pavements. There are a few different ways to salt finish a concrete floor, but all of them require proper planning and execution in order to achieve the desired results.

The quality of the concrete and the salts will determine the finish achieved. The type of cement used will directly affect the performance and durability of the concrete surface, so we recommend using Tembo FastaPlus. Whether you want to salt finish a concrete floor or a driveway, you need to make sure that the ground is prepared and the concrete is poured properly before adding the salt crystals.

Prepare the floor for a salt finish

Once you have poured the concrete for the floor, pavement or driveway, take special care in the finishing process. Don’t overwork the surface as this can cause the concrete to shed moisture too quickly. Smooth the concrete surface and remove any excess concrete or water with a wooden float. This will give the surface of the concrete a fine and glossy finish.

Once the surface is smooth, leave the concrete to dry for a little bit. To test the concrete’s readiness for salting, press a finger onto the surface. If your finger can make a 5mm dent in the surface without leaving and concrete residue on your finger, then it is dry enough for the salt application.

Scatter the rock salt crystals over the concrete surface – the salt crystals should be between 3mm and 8mm in diameter. Try to evenly distribute the salt, using about 3kg of salt per 10 square metres. Press the salt into the concrete surface using a light roller or a trowel. The salt crystals should have half their diameter sticking out above the concrete surface. 

Remove the salt crystals

Leave the concrete to dry for 24 hours and then remove the salt with a broom and a hose pipe. The salt will dissolve when sprayed with water as salt is a soluble mineral. There is not enough water in concrete to completely dissolve the salt, that is why a hosepipe is needed.

When the salt is dissolved, it leaves small depressions in the concrete surface. These dimples give the surface extra grip and texture. It is advisable to apply a concrete sealer to the finished surface to give it a glossy look and to protect the new floor from wear and tear.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges. 

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.