Yard & Foundations
Deconstructing Industrial is a series that breaks down Industrial sites into its core components and asks - how should we look after them? This week - yards & foundations.
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Andrew Potter from Custom Crete

You may listen to this and think that we talked to Marc Ellis.

We had a great yarn about yards, flooring and some of the developments in the industry.

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MORE ABOUT CUSTOM CRETE

Yard & Foundation must-knows:

  1. Plan your yard for high traffic and turning zones. Pay attention to the state of these to ensure a long life and schedule in regular yard sweeps and hole fills.
  2. Concrete joints are used to compensate when concrete expands or shrinks with changes in temperature. These help to prevent cracks.
  3. Major developments in concrete and cement technology come in the form of reinforcing fibres and permeable concrete that helps drainage and water storage over large footprints.

OUR DISCUSSION

SPEAKERS: Georgie Fenwicke, Andrew Potter

Georgie Fenwicke  
00:00

Industrial zones are the powerhouse of cities.  

This series, Deconstructing Industrial is brought to you by Frankie - Industrious Property Software.  Over the next few weeks you'll hear from some of the best in the business as we break down Industrial sites to their core components.  

Today's discussion - flooring and yard foundations.  

We’re joined by Custom Crete's Andrew Potter.  

Concrete dates back to the Ancients and is still one of the most commonly used building products today.  

Before we dive into the conversation with Andrew a few things to note:

- Concrete shrinks as water as the water content dries out
- Over an annual period you should look at the cracks and potholes because repairing these early to get ahead of any major cracking can save you a lot of time and money in the long term. 
- Plan your yard and warehousing space for the vehicle traffic that you expect. So Andrew will take us through this but troublesome areas are usually turning circles for forklifts and trucks  An annual sweep forward shutdown is always a good idea and should be added to the maintenance schedule.

I'm joined today by Andrew Potter from Custom Crete to talk about yards and prefab flooring.

How did you get into the industry?

Andrew Potter  
01:14

I started my apprenticeship as a blocklayer for a company finish line blocks and bricks in we as small town, New Zealand. We actually had to do everything in and around the concrete industry. So I learnt how to pour floors and lay cobblestones and tiling. When I moved to Auckland, I found company needed a helping hand doing floors and foundations. Yeah.

Georgie Fenwicke  
01:50

So yards are busy places and need to be incredibly durable. How do you assess what type of products to use on warehousing and distribution sites

Andrew Potter  
02:00

Good question. We tend to head towards the concrete side of things. It's where it's probably your most durable surface. There's obviously a cost comparison with asphalt and hotmix. But if your yard is handling forklifts heavy trucks, containers - tou really do want to be thinking concrete for long term.

Georgie Fenwicke  
02:31

And by long term, what do you mean?

Andrew Potter  
02:34

Well, a well prepared concrete driveway might last you say 20 years, whereas very well prepared hotmix under the same service conditions might only last three or four.

Georgie Fenwicke  
02:49

And what sort of price differential in the day talking between the hot mix and concrete?

Andrew Potter  
02:57

It's not as much as you'd first think. It's always been an understanding for most people that hotmix is significantly cheaper than concrete but the fact is the prep work is the same or similar, the actual product itself by the time it's put down, it's only about $30 feet or two square metres difference between the two.  But when you're looking at the service life of three to five times, you know you get that money back very, very quickly.

Georgie Fenwicke  
03:33

So what should be done annually to look up to the yard

Andrew Potter  
03:39

Don't use it,  But I know that doesn't work for tenants or landlords, so keep them clean. On the yards, try not to roll, if you've got loose metal products, don't go punching them into the surface with forklifts and heavy containers and that sort of thing.  Use donnage for landing  heavy containers. Just the sort of stuff that you usually typically do if it was your own driveway at home, you know, keep them tidy.

Georgie Fenwicke  
04:20

Does that mean sort of some commercial sweeping and some washdowns?

Andrew Potter  
04:24

Yeah, it certainly helps to keep that stuff for you. If you lay out in such a way that the forklifts don't have to do too much tight turning. It's a tight turning with heavy loads that really screw up the pavements, and wear the areas quite badly. So if you've got an area that's constantly, you've got a wear path with forklifts doing heavy turning on one spot, try and avoid it or think of ways to move them around.

Georgie Fenwicke  
05:03

So diving into the difference between asphalt and concrete. Do you want to take us through a recent project where you've kind of seen the two play out and probably the lifetime economics between the two?

Andrew Potter  
05:16

Yeah. Yeah, I struggled to see really use for asphalt. I've got to put my concrete places hat on there. But you have to look at the area that you're putting it and what the application is going to be on top of it.  If you're going to be using forklifts and going in and out turning around a lot of movements, it really does get warn pretty hard. It really packs up. You've only got a 20 or 30 mil layer of hotmix there that moves under the forklifts weight.  If you've got a straight line roadway, for example, that's probably the best use of the product. If you've not, haven't got machines and trucks screwing tightly around on it, that's where you will see some cost benefit. But there's, in my opinion is just not a big enough difference between the two to make it a viable solution in any shape or form.

Georgie Fenwicke  
06:27

Where have you seen that play out recently?

Andrew Potter  
06:30

We just did a project down on Punua road with quite a large industrial complex, that had a  roadway built right around the outside that we've just ripped up and replaced in concrete because the, although the idea of the roadway going around the building worked quite well, it didn't really have tracks or machines screwing up on it.  

The feeds out of each shed, from the forklift coming in and out, were really tearing up and soon as that tearing up happened outside the factories themselves with a shed in the loading areas themselves, it started to deteriorate into the roadways.

And as soon as you start to get water under it, it really does start to pick up. So as soon as you get a hole in hotmix or tarseal, you really need to get it patched or do something with it. Because that hole has been caused by reasonable by something and it'll just get worse, deteriorate a lot faster.

Georgie Fenwicke  
07:40

And so when you're patching, patching that type of area and sort of a busy yard, do you take out a, out a big, big block or do you kind of fill in the holes as you go?

Andrew Potter  
07:55

You'd take a look good at it. The area and then the areas around it. If you can do just a little patch you will, but generally speaking patching just leads to another patch and another patch unfortunately.

Georgie Fenwicke  
08:16

That is very interesting - are there any kind of products that have come out recently where you can put protective coatings on floors to ensure sort of the lifetime lasts of that longer?

Andrew Potter  
08:26

Yeah there is actually quite a bit of technology. There are improvements and things on surface hardness, epoxy coatings, that sort of thing. They do.

They are similarly they are still affected by the the use on top of them. It doesn't really matter how hard you get the surface. If it's getting pummelled, it'll still get chewed away.  

But they do very much harden the surface and make them nice and durable for the lighter uses, the likes of just driving forklifts around and racking and things like that.

They're great because it actually allows the forklift tires to sort of almost slide a little bit which takes a little bit of load off the surfaces. So yeah, some great products out there for hardening and restoration as well.Some of the some of the tools.

Georgie Fenwicke  
09:28
Cool. And final question for you, Andrew. And what are the latest developments in concrete products and technology?

Andrew Potter  
09:35

There's a lot. A lot more than people think. A couple of big sort of fields technological movement is fibre.  So, reinforcing fibre that can pour in the concrete. And another one, another couple actually - self compacting concrete which self vibrates itself. That's another really cool product that they use and columns and beams and stuff in commercial buildings.  And then another product out there in the market is really quite interesting for the likes of big commercial type paving and patio, paving, carports driveways, that sort of thing is no fines concrete or about permeable concrete.

Georgie Fenwicke  
10:30

Does that mean that it's breathable?

Andrew Potter  
10:33

It absorbs water. So because we've got big site coverages and things like that a lot of commercial properties are starting to have to go down the lines of retention tanks and holding their roof runoff water before they go into the public system.  So permeable concrete, you can use your driveway and the hardfill, underneath that is water storage so you don't need tank so much you can run the water into the concrete, which will then disperse either into the ground or we can retain it in voids under the concrete for retention into the public system. So, that's a really some really cool product that's out in the market at the moment that's developing along. Yeah, that's a really interesting product.

Georgie Fenwicke  
11:38

I've seen it done in roads, but I didn't realise that it was also the driveways and for yards and that sort of thing as well.

Andrew Potter  
11:44

Yeah, we haven't, we've just poured a yard with it that's actually gonna be handling concrete block pallets. So, we'd like to see how that performs over time. It's going to be , it's been in a pretty tough environment, dealing with heavy forklifts moving heavy pellets of blocks, day in day out.  So we should have a pretty good idea of the next 12 months what the serviceability platforms like. If it performs like we're all hoping it does, it should be quite an interesting product for yards in the next 12 to how ever long. Try and avoid some of these tanks, the tanks take up a lot of room on sites. If we can avoid them poking into the ground. It'd be great.

Georgie Fenwicke  
12:41

Yeah. And just for the benefit of the audience. The reason why you'd want to do that is that obviously with the surface area for industrial sites, you collect a lot of rainwater over the over the size of the site. And that goes into the, can overflow the storm drainage systems of a city quite quickly.

Andrew Potter
13:01

Yeah. So you're seeing around the, the newer commercial subdivisions, big ponding and retention tanks and things like that reservoir type things before they run into the native to the civil branch system. So anything that you can do to retain water on site for a period of time if great, yeah.

Georgie Fenwicke  
13:26
And then potentially look to use it for potentially sort of the exterior wash of the building, and all of that sort of thing?

Andrew Potter  
13:33

Yeah, I guess the way permeable concrete works, that wouldn't work with that sort of product. Yes, that would work with the drainage tanks

Georgie Fenwicke  
13:41

And the reinforcing fibre. That sounds fascinating is that fibreglass or what do you mean by reinforcing fibres?

Andrew Potter  
13:48

There are lots of different fibres. There's steel fibre which a lot of people know about, it's been around for quite a while. But there's a lot of different fibres coming into the market, some poly for different doing different jobs.  Polyester fibres were used for concrete curing, they absorb quite a bit of water and they release that through the curing phase so you don't have so much problem with cracking.  

There's Dyneema fibres (https://www.dsm.com/dyneema/en_GB/our-products/dyneema-fiber.html) that are really great for strength in shear capacities in concrete, but they don't rust like the steel ones do.

So they're great for the external usage, where they might get wet. Steel fibres have a tendency to go, you can see them after the concrete's finished - they will go a little bit rusty every now and then. So that's where the Dyneema fibres work really well. So fibre has come a long way in the last few years and it's got a long way to go.

Georgie Fenwicke  
14:53

Fantastic. And in the this is sort of a bit of a follow on question, but in terms of the concrete manufacturing process, it uses a lot of energy and it releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere. Have you heard of any kind of developments in that space?

Andrew Potter  
15:10
Green concrete?

Georgie Fenwicke  
15:11

Yeah. Is there such a thing?  Well, yes and no, there was a product - there are products called Green concrete they use a lot of recycled content for. So, crushing old or recycled concrete, waste concrete and using that aggregate back in the mixes.

Andrew Potter  
15:34

All of the plants are recycling a lot of water from their wash water and that sort of things because they need to so yes, there is a Green concrete.

Georgie Fenwicke  
15:45

While the lifetime may be long, care and attention should be taken to look after and maintain the yard and flooring.  
In short, concrete looks after you if you look after it, annual flooring sweeps and inspections should be added to your maintenance schedule.  We'd like to thank Andrew Potter from Custom Crete.  

This series is Deconstructing Industrial - a series that breaks down building components so that you know what to do to look after them. Thanks for listening!

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