I have been more than interested in training others in the production of Visual Concrete Remedial works for quite some time. Having clearly identified the advantages this has to large-scale long-term projects, I am finally getting to see the fruit of this planning...
GreyMatter has been contracted on a significant project in Central London with a major UK Engineering Contractor. We are Managing, Training, Overseeing and Delivering key visual elements of this project using site operatives (with no previous experience) in producing visual concrete repair work.
The key to the success of this project has been, and will continue to be, driving a ‘no risk strategy’ to all remedial works on visual elements. Removing risk is our job which means keeping a tight reign on quality ensuring smooth handover. It is fundamental to close the circle from Management to Delivery with all the controlled remedial works being squeezed inside. Nothing that is offered up for inspection to the Client will bypas...
The bid to list Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar, East London has failed. Calls for it’s immediate demolition have been made by Jim Fitzpatrick, the local MP for Poplar and Limehouse. This follows the non recommendation of Listed Status by Historic England.
I am certainly no expert when it comes to conservation or preservation of influential Architecture, really I am not. So this news encouraged me to delve a bit deeper beyond my sketchy superficial knowledge to attempt to form my own opinion. I set aside one day of my life to make Robin Hood Gardens part of it. You can only do as much as you can do. I hope you can find the time to do the same. I know very little about this and the information here is to the best of my knowledge. The links at the end will help you form your own starting point.
My brief research has unfolded the following envelope of stuff:
Robin Hood Gardens was designed by Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972. Their international reputation is well respecte...
GreyMatter concrete is London based and currently seeking a trainee to work alongside our small specialist team to develop the necessary skills in producing high quality visual concrete repairs.
The role will involve working alongside the director Jonathan Reid on both domestic and commercial projects primarily in the UK. Those interested in this position should seek more information on our company, clients and work by visiting www.greymatterconcrete.co.uk.
Visual concrete repair trainee
This role initially focusses on training with the view to moving towards independent assessment and undertaking of visual concrete repair as a full time employee. Complete training is provided so no previous experience is necessary. There is no requirement for the successful candidate to have concreting experience or previous concrete repair experience. The successful candidate will however be expected to be keen to learn, enthusiast...
Oh that delicious chocolate bar with the light and airy honeycomb centre…Although I never liked it at all I have a lasting memory of my Grandmother syphoning boxes of the stuff from the working men’s club for me to ‘enjoy’.
Fast forward to today and the airy honeycomb centre is reserved for cast concrete walls and contractors scratching their heads for a solution. I’m writing this blog because recently there has been a spate of Honeycombing problems that have been compounded by carrying out knee jerk reaction repairs. In panic mode swathes of decent concrete surfaces have been lost in refacing walls and columns. Blowholes obliterated, joint and board lines lost and surface flatness and tone compromised! In effect the concrete has been lost to a bag and a half of full cream fairing coats.
However…Honeycombing might look and taste awful but it’s no big deal to fix so in the wise words of the Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny: “take it easy.”
This blog is dedicated to my good friend and concrete colleague Elaine Toogood. She recently inspired me to ‘get off my horse and write my blog.’ This came about through a discussion on sandpaper of all things.
"80 grit? 120 grit or indeed True Grit?" That was the question.
Of course we weren’t discussing the thespian talents of John Wayne or even listening to Glen Campbell... because the usual focus was on Visual Concrete of course. The subject in Elaine's holster was if sandpaper was a good idea to use for cleaning concrete surfaces…
We never got round to having that shoot out before, during or even after Eco Build. So in the spirit of sharing and, as John Wayne once said, “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.” here's what I think:
Ok, so if you want to find your True Grit for dry or wet cleaning concrete then Diamonds are a concrete’s best friend. Flexible Nickel encrusted Diamond hand...
Curing polished concrete floors has been and continues to be a topic with illusive answers and continual questions. Thus far I have not encountered what I would call a perfect system when considering the potential ramifications of aesthetic quality that curing systems have on a floor. For industrial purposes the consensus of opinion seems to be fairly agreed but I am yet to be convinced about popular curing methods for the high end domestic flooring market. However, it is well worthy of discussion and if any proven solution arises in the future I will blog it. Also, if anyone else has a system to recommend please get in touch.
What is curing and why cure a floor?
Curing concrete is the process by which newly placed concrete is kept moist so it can keep gaining strength. For industrial flooring this is especially important in terms of increasing surface wearing capability and reducing overall maintenance costs. For the domestic scenario wearing capacity becomes less important and the ae...
On rare occasions we are asked to extend the dimensions of concrete either because the initial setting out was incorrect or because the piece just didn't fit into the space properly. Growing concrete is a great remedial work to undertake because it resolves big issues fairly simply. The repairs also look impressive which is a bonus.
The key to any good repair is respecting the plane of the existing material, getting a seamless flush finish and good texture match. Any hint of disparity here will drag the eye into disbelieving discourse with the brain and the repair will fail…. no matter how good the colour match is.
Columns, walls, window reveals can all be cultivated in this way. In this case precast treads were given the ‘gardening treatment’ to get a neat inserted finish into a stone lime washed wall. There were 17 treads in all with plenty of other post finishing to add to the mix. All good fun…
Ok… before anyone accuses me of being reckless and advising to ditch a visual concrete specification, this blog entry is about an interesting outside the box conversation I had with an architect last week.
The project in question is an under construction passive house in Hackney with a fair faced concrete basement structure. Whilst there may be some remedial works to undertake the concrete in general looked rather good. Whilst discussing the process of procurement the architect described the difficulty in sourcing a reasonably priced contractor who could offer the exacting finish they required. This became increasingly frustrating and so the architect rather radically chucked the spec in the bin. The specification was subsequently replaced by a simple ‘do the best job possible please’ instruction which, in all honesty, didn’t give a worse result than a lot of tightly specified works that I see.
Although essentially risky, the architect managed to get more or less what was required thro...
Precast concrete that is generally blemish free raises the stakes considerably when it comes to delivering a top class repair. The same could be said for self compacting in situ concrete.
Whilst as with any remedial work the key starting point is flush, true and texture appropriate filling, colour matching such good original work up’s the anti to dizzy heights. Achieving a close colour match in terms of tone is not an issue per se. It is the successful diffusing of minute tonal variation to convince the eye to believe.
If the concrete is pre cast or site batched in steel shuttering then this adds a significant advantage as the surface quality of steel formed concrete tends to have a nice balance of light reflectivity. Not too shiny and not too dull.
The images here are the before and after of construction damage on a pre cast column for BP. It is irrelevant to the repair process but it is probably a PFA blended mix. The blotchy marks have come from differential curing not the casting p...