Solving Africa’s construction problems through waterproofing membranes

Solving Africa's construction problems through waterproofing membranes
Priten Gohil, Director Africa PVC Industries Ltd, Mombasa

A waterproofing membrane is a thin layer of water-tight material that is laid over a surface. This layer is continuous and does not allow water to pass through it. For example, on a flat terrace, a waterproofing membrane could be laid above the structural slab and below the finish tiles. This will ensure that water does not seep into the structural slab.

The tiles and membrane must be laid over a filler material that is sloped to ensure that water flows into sumps and drains. Any water that remains as puddles over the tiles is likely to seep into the slab over time, so puddles are to be avoided at all costs.
Ideally, a waterproofing membrane should be strong, flexible, tear-resistant and elastic so that it can stretch to cover cracks and also move with the building.

If the membrane is to be exposed to the sun, then it should be UV stable. The membrane should be flexible enough to take any shape it is laid over, and be capable of turning up and over walls and other construction features.

Established 17th February, 2013, Africa PVC Industries Ltd primarily focuses on becoming a leading manufacturer and supplier of:
– PVC Tarpaulin/Vinyl
– PVC Leather Cloth
– PVC Flooring
– PVC Films
– PVC Banner Flex
Africa PVC Industries is strategically located in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, to serve the regional as well as international markets. Due to their intense focus on quality, their products are exported to Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Egypt, Madagascar, South Africa, Vietnam, Middle East and USA.

They are committed to reinvesting in their capacity and innovation to further serve their markets in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Construction Review conducted an exclusive interview with Africa PVC Industries Ltd MD’s on challenges facing Africa’s waterproofing membrane market and what could be done to address the challenges.

1. How does Africa PVC see the African waterproofing membrane market?

As of this moment the African waterproofing membrane market is ripe for disruption because it is dominated by bituminous membranes for several years and liquid membranes recently. What we offer is a synthetic PVC-P homogeneous membrane which is loosely applied, has a lower carbon footprint, fully recyclable, tried and tested in the developed world for the past sixty years and it is easy and quick to install while providing unmatched waterproofing characteristics.

2.Why should Africa embrace waterproofing membranes?

With the rise in population in African cities in the past few years, a lot of buildings are now including basements which are currently facing issues because of poor waterproofing and poor application.

PVC-P membranes are designed to solve these problems proven to last sometimes more than thirty years especially for underground structures. It’s worthwhile to note that rectifying bad waterproofing jobs post-construction can be a very expensive task. Water is a slow poison for concrete, hence waterproofing membranes provide the best solution to prevent water getting in contact with concrete.

3. What are the challenges in the African market in terms of application?

The first challenge we experience is the need to raise awareness to architects and engineers of the existence and availability of our PVC-P waterproofing membranes. Second challenge would be providing quality training on the correct installations of our membrane

4. What do you think can be done to overcome these challenges?

The steps that we are taking include:
• Regular training sessions for applicators with our qualified experts.
• Making available hot air wielding machine to be used for installation of our PVC-P membrane.
• Providing on-site support to our applicators
• Raising awareness among the engineers and architects of Kenya through meetings and exhibitions

5. What should Africa look forward to in terms of technological advancements from Africa PVC Industries Ltd?

After providing waterproofing membrane for underground structures, the next target is providing membranes for flat roofs including self-adhesive roofing membrane

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