Another “green” milestone for property developer and its supply chain

Plastic waste that would otherwise end up on a landfill site is being used in building blocks for the construction of affordable houses in Breaking New Ground developments.

Notably, some of this plastic waste was collected at a rugby match hosted by the South African Rugby Union. Plastic waste generated from the first ever Rugby World Cup Sevens in Africa at Cape Town Stadium will also be recycled in this way. To mark this milestone, members of the South African national male and female rugby sevens teams helped to construct a house with this alternative building system in a pilot project in Cape Town, with a modified Benex building block. They were supported on site by two of Tjeka Training Matters’ skilled and experienced bricklayers and training facilitators.

The house was a further ‘green’ building and sustainable living trial project by Garden Cities NPC (RF), the Western Cape’s oldest residential development company. The company is also taking its clients and supply chain partners along with it on this journey to significantly reduce the environmental impact of the property development and construction industries. This includes architects, engineers, contractors and suppliers of products and services.

Among these companies is Tjeka Training Matters, a leading construction training provider, which is leasing its state-of-the-art construction training and trade-testing facility from Garden Cities. The company also provides free construction training for Garden Cities’ and PDC’s sub-contractors and workers as part of the lease agreement.

Tjeka Training Matters is very proud of the fact that its training and trade test centre was built using a very thermally efficient building block system as part of Garden Cities’ focus on “green building”. Less energy and water are also used to manufacture them compared to traditional bricks and blocks. Moreover, they are up to 60% lighter than conventional construction materials and thus require less energy to transport to site. Gawie Burger, Regional Manager of Tjeka Training Matters therefore enthusiastically agreed to participate in Garden Cities’ latest ‘green’ building pilot project.

The Center for Regenerative Design & Collaboration (CRDC) creates appreciating value from the world’s plastic waste by converting it into RESIN8, an eco-aggregate that improves concrete products. This includes all types of plastic waste even plastic waste that normally cannot be recycled or is too contaminated to be recycled and would, inevitably, end up in landfill or the environment. The innovative process is water-less and involves extruding the mixed plastics with mineral additives. During the heat extrusion phase, the pre-treated mixture melts and becomes a completely inert construction material. The bulk RESIN8 is then granulated into the size, shape and gradation required by standard concrete mix designs. The rough and open-cell structure of RESIN8, combined with mineral additives, enhances both the mechanical and chemical adhesion with the cement paste.

Only a negligible amount of waste is generated when building with these blocks. This is recycled again, so none of the building material ever ends up on a landfill site. Moreover, RESIN8 can be used to replace up to 20% of natural aggregate in concrete mixes, potentially further reducing a house’s embedded energy. This is over-and-above the role that this initiative plays in diverting waste from landfill sites.

“One of our longer-term objectives is to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill on all of our projects. This is in line with the aspirations of municipalities in the Western Cape where landfill sites are being depleted at an alarming rate. To encourage the separation of recyclable and non-recyclable waste at source, dual bin systems have been built into the kitchen layouts of our residential units. This latest R&D initiative supports our drive, as well as other measures that we have implemented to reduce the carbon and water footprint, as well as embodied energy of our houses,” said Renier Smith, Garden Cities’ Group Manager: Engineering and Planning.

Concrete products made with a percentage of RESIN8 test within the required SABS specifications and has also been extensively tested by Garden Cities. The property developer is also considering other innovative uses for this technology, such as for building retaining walls. It has already used RESIN8 to manufacture some road kerbs for use in its Northridge Coastal Estate development. Part of a further phase of Garden Cities’ flagship Cape West Coast suburb, Sunningdale, it is the first development in Africa to receive a Four-Star Sustainable Precinct Certification. The company received 46,3 points out of the 48,3 targeted for this development.

The Tjeka Training Matters’ representatives were deployed to the construction site to assist the rugby players. “We were very proud to be approached by Renier and his team for assistance. Garden Cities is challenging its suppliers to follow its example,” said Gawie Burger.

“The company is constantly pushing the envelope, establishing the benchmark in ‘green’ building and sustainable living. Following the company’s example is not only the right thing for Tjeka Training Matters to do. As a leading construction training provider, we also need to keep pace with the latest innovation in terms of building methods, materials, tools and equipment to ensure that we are always delivering the skills needed to help construct green buildings that have minimal – if any – impact on the environment,” he said.