SCI – Singapore Concrete Institute – Issue 1.2, 31 May 2009
As recently as 2008, Singapore was named as one of the top 10 cement importers in the world and construction continues to grow. In 2008, Singapore saw a record high of S$35.7 billion worth of construction contracts awarded. Although the global financial crisis had an impact on the construction industry in 2009, especially on private sector demand, there was still a considerable S$21 billion worth of contracts awarded.
With activity like that, it’s no wonder that ready mix concrete suppliers who can provide consistent quality concrete, on time and on budget are in great demand in Singapore. And, ready mixers who can offer additional time-saving or quality-improving features to the product they deliver are in even greater demand. Crystalline waterproofing is one of those value-added benefits.
Crystalline systems build the waterproofing directly into the concrete itself, transforming porous concrete into a permanent, waterproof barrier. When added to the concrete mix, crystalline chemicals react with the water to form millions of needle-like crystals. These crystals grow and fill the capillary pores and micro-cracks in the concrete. As time passes and stresses form new cracks, any incoming moisture causes the crystals to reactivate and grow until they block the incoming water – ensuring continuous waterproofing over many years.
Ready mixers who use crystalline waterproofing systems are able to offer contractors and developers a product that will save them time and money on their projects. Because the crystalline chemicals are integrated with the mix, there is no need to excavate a larger building footprint to accommodate external membrane application, no need to hire additional trades to apply the membrane and no need to build those additional steps into the construction schedule. Ready mixers with knowledge and experience in crystalline waterproofing systems can increase their profit because the concrete they pour will have a higher value than regular concrete.
Kryton International Inc. created the world’s first crystalline waterproofing admixture – Krystol Internal Membrane (KIM). Kryton’s CEO, Kari Yuers, says she’s seen continued demand for the product from Singapore and the Asia-Pacific marketplace.
“Using KIM opens up an entirely new revenue stream by giving ready mixers access to waterproofing dollars that would normally go to waterproofing applicators,” Yuers says. “As a result, we’re seeing strong interest and support for the product from the ready mix industry all over the world and particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Yuers says reliable customer support has been particularly valuable for Singapore builders who continue to work fast and to deadline. She adds that ready mixers dealing with specific challenges in the field can rely on Kryton’s on-site training, 24/7 online technical support and advanced concrete material laboratories around the world – making Kryton a valuable partner on their projects.
So, when the biggest mall in northeast Singapore was designed and ready to be built, Kryton’s KIM was chosen to ensur the concrete would be waterproof. Kryton’s distributor in the area, Lee Construction, provided the product.
When it opens in the fall of 2010, the new mall, named “nex,” will be almost double the size of an average suburban Singaporean mall. In addition to its more than 600,000 square feet of net lettable area, nex will also feature a “24-hour zone” of shops open day and night, more than 400 local and internationally branded specialty shops and food outlets, a huge new public library, a 10-screen Cineplex and 70,000 square feet of grocery stores. Connected to the mall will be a 16-bay bus interchange and MRT interchange where the North East Line and the Circle Line converge, turning nex into an integrated transportation hub for the entire region.
The enormous size of the project was a factor in choosing a ready mix team that could provide consistency. Due to the quantity of concrete required, Serangoon’s contractors needed an admixture that could be easily added to dozens of concrete ready mix trucks that would be delivering to the construction site daily. Using an external membrane waterproofing system would have been costly, time-consuming and without guarantee that the concrete was protected from the region’s moist climate. Inadequate waterproofing would lead to leaking and possible structural damage, resulting in difficult and expensive repair over the years. With the mega mall expecting to generate traffic of two million people annually, the quality of the waterproofing system was imperative.
KIM was used to waterproof the nex mall as well as the Serangoon bus interchange. Alliance Concrete Singapore, one of two ready mix producers for the project, were pleased with the results. “It is imperative that any products incorporated into our ready mix concrete must not compromise our reputation in terms of our services and quality to our esteemed clients…. Lee Construction has performed beyond our expectations in their timely schedule and support as well as your product performance,” Gary Leow, senior technical manager for Alliance Concrete Singapore wrote to Kryton following completion on the bus interchange work.
The mall’s architect, SAA Architect, was also determined to integrate substantial amounts of landscaped space and sustainable features to ensure the new building would become a “green lung” for the Serangoon community. Suburban development over the decades since independence has eaten up much of the green space that existed. SAA Architects conceptualized a “green necklace” along the exterior of the six-storey building as well as a roof garden, complete with a dog run.
But green space and roof gardens need watering to thrive, and that posed challenges to architects and engineers to find a fail-safe waterproof solution for concrete construction. And in Singapore’s climate, with its average rainfall of 2,370 millimetres per year, waterproofing for the wet season is critical to extend a building’s life. Again, Kryton’s product KIM was the answer.
For ready mixers and construction industry professionals such as Alliance Concrete and Lee Construction, KIM provided clear value. It comes in pails and can be added directly to ready mix trucks either on site or at the batching plant. The pails remove any guess work in the concrete mix, ensuring a quality product throughout the project.
It is estimated nex will cost the developer, Gold Ridge Pte, roughly S$1.3 billion. Still several months away from completion, the mega mall is already 90 per cent leased.