Holcim recommends building solutions for safer, faster construction amid COVID-19


Leading cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines, Inc. said innovative building solutions can help contractors keep workers safe and catch up to deadlines as construction activity picks up with the easing of restricted activities in COVID-19 quarantine areas.

Holcim Philippines Senior Vice President for Marketing and Innovation Ram Maganti said local builders should consider wider use of building solutions already available locally, and look at how other markets are deploying innovative materials and techniques to meet deadlines while having limited workers at sites in compliance with social distancing regulations.

“Construction does not have to take backseat while the search for a permanent solution to COVID-19 is ongoing. We can adapt new technologies and ways of working to address labor shortages and restrictions to large numbers of workers at job sites. Such innovations are already available for wider use in the Philippines,” Maganti said.

Road building for example can use one-day concrete instead of regular concrete which takes 14 days to mix, place, cure and attain the desired strength. One-day concrete enables roads to be built faster with considerably less labor as seen with Holcim Philippines’ SuperFastcrete (SFCrete), which has been successfully used in the past few years to repair sections of EDSA and C-5 in Metro Manila.

For brick-laying and plastering in buildings and homes, masons may use dry-mix mortar, a pre-packed mixture of cement, sand, and chemicals. With dry-mix mortars, fewer workers are needed to cut cement bags and mix materials on site. Holcim also offers such products.

Using more pre-cut and bent steel rebars that require less processing and easy to move and carry lightweight blocks can also help reduce manpower at construction sites.

Maganti said that Holcim Philippines can also draw from the LafargeHolcim Group’s expertise in building solutions to help partners in the local industry. Self-compacting concrete, one that distributes itself uniformly around a steel mesh without having to be vibrated, is another material that can be useful here particularly for foundations, he added.

Aside from building solutions, Maganti said the company is also ready and willing to share with partners its knowledge and expertise in keeping worksites safe for people. He noted that health and safety is a core value of Holcim Philippines and the company has a strong track record of managing risks at its sites to keep its people and partners free from harm.

“The construction industry has a critical role to play in revitalizing the economy and building the needed structures to make us more resilient against COVID-19 and other health challenges. Adapting to our current reality by embracing innovative solutions can help us proceed in building these structures safely,” Maganti said.

As part of efforts to revitalize the economy, the government allowed earlier this month more types of construction activities to proceed in areas under quarantine but contractors must follow strict health and safety guidelines for workers.