Shortage of Bagged Cement
June 3, 2021
Construction Specialists, Interior Design, Renovation, Refurbishments, Extensions & Conversions
Cement producer Hanson has issued a warning about the current shortage of this versatile building material. It has said that the demand for bagged cement is unlikely to be met, and that in addition there is a shortage of packaging materials. The Construction Leadership Council predicted in March that the situation would get worse before any improvement was seen. This is the latest in an ongoing lack of building materials such as steel, timber, plastics, pitched roofing, paints, coatings etc. The council says it believes there will be no let up for at least six months.
According to Andrew Simpson, director at Hanson Packed Products, the company has been forced to implement a cement allocation in May 2021. Unfortunately this couldn’t be maintained, and they have had to reduce the allocation.
New Alternative to Cement
On a more positive note, there are alternatives to cement being developed, one which uses recycled asbestos. Recent tests have proved successful, involving the recycling of products containing asbestos. A company called Thermal Recycling has created a material called Calmag, made from cement roof sheets containing chrysotile asbestos. When heat treated, the physical and chemical composition of asbestos changes and transforms into an asbestos free material. The product is crushed and provides an aggregate which can be used to build roads. Calmag is comprised of calcium, magnesium, and aluminium, and has been thoroughly tested for strength, load bearing capability and water permeability. This is also a very green way of dealing with asbestos, as around 60% usually ends up in landfill.
New Piling Technique
It isn’t just new materials that can help alleviate the cement shortage. A new piling technique has been developed by specialist Cementation Skanska, working for Skanska Costain Strabag joint venture (SCS JV) in London. It is currently being utilised on the HS2 project and involves sucking out excess concrete while still wet using a vacuum excavator. Perfect for larger scale projects, the process is performed while the concrete is still wet so can save 60,000 working hours on one site. It also improves site safety, as there are no pieces of hard, breaking concrete flying around. Also the excess concrete is not wasted but reused in other construction work.