Precast Concrete Accounts for 30 Percent of UAE's Concrete Construction Market

MAPEI introduces specially developed admixtures that enhance key attributes of precast concrete as building material of choice

MAPEI, the leading global manufacturer of adhesives, sealants and chemical products for buildings, has announced that it has recently introduced a new range of specially developed precast concrete admixtures in light of the growing demand for precast concrete, which now accounts for up to 30 per cent of the UAE concrete construction market. Precast concrete, which has a growing acceptance in the region, is around 10 per cent cheaper to manufacture compared to other alternatives, while it can be produced much faster, helping contractors effectively meet deadlines, quality requirements or fast track construction timelines.

MAPEI revealed that the advantages of using admixtures in producing precast concrete have been reaffirmed in recent trials that used MAPEI's Dynamon Admixture System. This tests determined that Dynamon helped precast concrete reduce permeability and water absorption, improve the workability and finishing of fresh concrete, reduce bleeding and segregation of fresh concrete, improve the long-term strength gain, reduce alkali-aggregate reactivity, reduce overall energy consumption per unit of concrete, and minimise the carbon footprint of the structure.

"Precast concrete is driving creativity in the real estate sector as architects now have greater leverage to develop intricate designs that can easily be produced off-site. Moreover, with the development and introduction of innovative precast concrete admixtures, contractors and developers are now able to further optimise the benefits of using precast concrete, particularly in terms of energy and utility costs," said Ahmad J.E'wida, Concrete Admixture Market Manager, MAPEI.

The specialised precast concrete admixtures that have been introduced by MAPEI include Dynamon PCE range and in particular, Mapefluid N500, which are now extensively used in the construction industry. The Dynamon range is used to improve strength and ensure that components remain lightweight in tandem with Mapeplast LA. This combination can be utilised virtually anywhere where normal weight precast concrete is used, including floors, walls, and exterior finishing. These admixtures are also perfect to produce lightweight precast concrete that are used for many non-structural applications, including countertops, curbs, gutters, balconies, and decks. It is particularly useful in controlled batching and enclosed factory fabrication, under controlled conditions that exceed PCI's Plant Certification requirements.

Precast concrete that are manufactured using Mapeplast LA and Dynamon are distinguished in the industry for being durable, resistant to the elements, and their unique ability to offer a cost-effective solution to many architectural applications. Mapefluid N500, on the other hand, helps achieve consistent results for precast concrete. It is particularly useful in controlled batching and enclosed factory fabrication, under controlled conditions that exceed PCI's Plant Certification requirements.

In the production of GFRC panels, MAPEI has also pointed out studies showing that Dynamon PC1100 and Mapeplast LA help reduce the weight and maximize the size of the GFRC panels, mainly because of the high early compressive strength achieved by Dynamon PC1100. This has ultimately helped reduce the total cost of the building foundation, footing, beams and columns.

Precast concrete systems are gaining popularity in constructions sites because of their low maintenance cost, and much greater resistance to wear and tear, severe weather, rot, insects and fire. Moreover, precast concrete structures are 100 per cent recyclable, while precast concrete components also help lower interior lighting costs because of their reflectance qualities. Being a made-to-order building material, precast concrete also ensures that there is less on-site construction waste while helping improve quality control. Factoring all its green attributes, precast concrete can help building owners reach as many as 21 of the 26 points needed to achieve minimum LEED certification or contribute to Estidama Pearl rating.

The majority of precast concrete are used in housing projects, including low-rising residential buildings, labour accommodations and hostels because most of these projects have repetitive designs or structures, which makes it more practical to pre-fabricate certain components in the factory. Commercial buildings such as office facilities and shopping malls comprise the second biggest market for precast concrete, benefiting from its flexibility to create and implement unique designs for modern malls and other iconic structures.

About Mapei
Founded in Milan in 1937, Mapei is today the world leader in the production of adhesives and complementary products for the installation of all types of floor and wall coverings. The company is also specialized in other chemical products for building: from water-proofing to special mortars, from admixtures for concrete to products for the restoration of ancient buildings.

Mapei Group's production may be summarized as follows: sales in 2010 were 1.9 billion euros and the total number of Mapei Group employees is 7500.

The Group now counts 68 subsidiaries with 58 production facilities in operation in the 5 continents in 27 countries.

Mapei's UAE subsidiary is Innovative Building Solutions LLC (IBS-Mapei). As part of its long-term commitment to the Middle East, the company commenced production in February 2009, at its 40,000 sq.m state-of-the-art facility at Dubai Investments Park.

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