CONCRETE, DID YOU KNOW?

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Waterproof and fire resistant?

Reinforced concrete is the only building material that is extremely resistant to water and fire. Concrete is fire proof meaning that is cant burn, can’t be set alight and it does not release toxins when in contact with flames. It can be used to shield yourself/something from fire has it has a slow heat transfer rate.

The use of special concrete mixes and membranes can make concrete practically water resistant. Which makes concrete the perfect building material to use for underground structures e.g. basements.

Concrete roads?

Concrete used for roads initially costs more but in the long run requires less maintenance and last longer. South Africa has the expertise and technology to design, construct and maintain concrete roads on par with the rest of the world.

Concrete and cement?

Concrete is made up of 60-65% aggregates (sand, gravel & crushed stone), 15-20% water and only 10-15% cement. Making cement an ingredient of concrete. Portland cement, a term most people know is not a brand but rather a generic term for a type of cement used in almost all concrete. The cement and water harden and bind the aggregates into a rocklike mass. Interesting fact: this process continues for years as the concrete gets older it hardens making it stranger as it gets older.

Concrete as a high end finish?

Concrete is a strong new trend for 2019 in interior design, not just in SA but all over the world. Concrete is being used as exposed, polished or epoxied, allowing your building material to form part of your décor. Some are using concrete as a “Feature wall”, leaving the casted concrete exposed or raw creating character.

World’s largest concrete structure?

The Three Gorges Hydroelectric Dam in China consists of 16 million cubic meters of concrete and 463 000 metric tons of steel! It took 40000 workers and over 12 years to construct it with 1.3 million people having to be relocated.

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Curb Appeal

Do you have the curb appeal? There are different characteristics of driveways that will appeal to different people, it can be the cost effectiveness, visual appeal or that it has a long lifespan. You must be the one to decide what driveway will fit your style. Have a look at the various types of driveways.

The Gravel look

Installation costs are low, there are maintenance requirements involved. It is quick to install and gives you a customized look to complete your house style.

The concréte look

It is versatile, durable, cost effective and low maintenance. Your style can be portrayed in the concréte look; it can be simple and traditional or made elaborately with different colors and textures, you can decide what design suits your style and personality.

Colour concrete

Stamped

 

Exposed aggregated

 

Exposed aggregated concrete like what we did at a house we built in Blaauberg. We love this look! Check out the link: https://www.facebook.com/kwalimarkconstruction/videos

The pavers look

There is a wide range of design choices available. This can be a more expensive choice. It is low long-term maintenance and can last for more than 20 years.

 

The Shell Look

A beautiful driveway option will be the crushed shell. This comes in three varieties namely clam, oyster and scallop. They can also come in different colours, ranging from off-white, to brown or grey. This is an eco-friendly option and it provides excellent draining.

The Asphalt Look

Asphalt driveways are popular in The U.S. climate as colour retains the heat and that can help to melt snow quickly. It requires regular maintenance and they recommend that you seal the paving every three to five years.

The Pervious Concrete Look

This concrete has little to almost no sand in the mix; this allows the water to run through the surface. This gives you a rustic, textured look and feel which is environmentally friendly.

 

The Basalt Paver Tiles Look

This is an igneous rock that makes up most of the earth’s oceanic crust. This is hard, durable and dense; it’s a natural stone paver that looks beautiful in driveways and patios.  It comes in a grey-to-black colour which is suitable for modern architecture.

 

The Brick Look

This is truly an elegant choice because there is a wide range of rich colours and patterns you can choose from. If it is installed properly the maintenance costs will be low and this can last a lifetime.

Whether it is bricks, concrete or shells that suits your style and budget there is a perfect driveway for you. When looking at options look at the installation costs as well as the maintenance costs involved. In South Africa the most popular driveway is the brick driveway because you can choose your colour and design that is perfect for you, but don’t forget about the aggregated concrete look that is making its way in. It looks beautiful and will complement your home and architectural style.

 

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Swimming Pool Options

There are a few different types of swimming Pools available to South Africans. These are fiberglass Pools, granite Pools, concrete Pools.

Fiberglass Pools

This type of pool is easy and less hassle in the way that it is manufactured and then installed as a shell. Meaning that there is no long building or installation process, saving you money and time. These Pools are also designed in such a way that it fits in with the condition of the soil you have. They are flexible which means they are less likely to crack. Although these Pools are the easiest to install you can not personalize them with regards to shape and colour as much as other types of Pools.

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Granite pools

If you are looking for a pool where you can add your own style or you want your pool to fit in with your homes style then granite is the way to go. These Pools allow you to add your own touch by putting in mosaic tiles, adding your own colour or your own shape.  This process takes a bit longer as there are more stages in creating the pool. First you did out your shape and size, steel bars are put in place, concrete gets sprayed on and then left to set. The next step is to add your tiles and finishes.

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Concrete Pools

Concrete Pools are great for creating your own shape and size pool. Thus if you have a unique spot where you want your pool put no standard pool will fit then concrete Pools is your thing. Not only does a concrete pool allow you to customize the shape and size it also allows you to add your own features e.g. rock features and fountains.

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Besides making the choice of the type of pool you want there is also the choice of the style of pool. You get beach style Pools which incorporates the beach into your pool. These Pools are fun and functional. They normally have a beach slope entrance instead of steps which allows easy access for the whole family from young to old and even the family pets.

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The next style is a spa style pool. These Pools are normally for those how would use a pool to relax and unwind instead of swimming. They normally have jets in which help with relaxation, massage or soothing in the water. They are normally heated or can be set on a temperature for the water making it the perfect pool for all year round.

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The last style pool is the infinity pool or edge pool. Normally seen on high up hotels, these Pools replicate the swimming pool where the water doesn’t seem to stop but rather flows over the edge. If you have a spot where you want to show off your views or want a pool on your roof then this pool is for you.

 

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Cupboard creations

Cupboards can be a design aspect where you create a feature wall with creative cupboards or you can go for something a little more simple like a build in cupboards that creates usable space for TV units and books. You can be very creative with your style of design, anything is possible.

 

Dividing the room

You can make use of a cupboard to create separate spaces in your home. It will still have the open feel to your home but creating more intimate spaces.

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Make use of Small spaces.

You can use cupboards to create more areas within your room. If you have high ceilings you can design a cupboard that can act as a cupboard and living space on top. You can make use of the Small space you have, this will also give the room a bigger feel as you are turning one area into multiple spaces.

Hidden gems

Cupboards does not always have to be traditional. There are various ways in which you can make use of cupboard space.

  1. Floating shelves

This can create a centerpiece on a wall, it gives you storage space without using the space on the floor. You can match the shelves with your decor and personal style.

 

  1. Cupboard in your stairs

This is a great way to make use of space, putting a cupboard in your stairs gives you more packing area and it takes up less space than putting in an additional cupboard.

  1. Space under your bed

Storing under your bed gives you additional storage space. This can be ideal for bedding and spare blankets.

In children’s rooms this will be perfect for toys or storing board games.

You can build drawers as part of the base of the bed.

  1. Turn cupboard space into your desk

How about hiding your office? Why not pack it away? It is a great way to utilize your space, make use of a cupboard to turn it into your office at home. This is a great way to save space for other things in the home.

Something spacious

If you have the space, why not turn it into your own boutique. A walk-in closet, every girls dream.

You can make use of a combination of drawers and shelves for storage. Why not put in pull-out shoe drawers, special pants rails and detachable rails to make it extra special.

 

Try something daring: Open Closet

An open closet can be a strong decor statement, that is if you can keep it tidy. This is perfect to show off your gorgeous shoes and manjifiek outfits.

 

 

 

There are so many cupboard options to choose from, whether you want to make a statement or need extra storage space there is a perfect style combination for you. Have fun with your choices!

 

 

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Windows Glam

Even though we look at them every single day, windows are usually not given much thought. It is regarded as purely functional aspects of a home, providing houses with security, ventilation, and natural light. Windows can show off a home’s personality and a homeowner’s style as well as any other decor feature.

In South Africa, we have the choice of aluminium, wood and uPVC windows. Each one has pros and cons that one should consider when making a choice for either renovating or building your home.

Wood Window Aluminium Window uPVC Window
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Wood windows are aesthetically pleasing. They can be customized to various sizes and styles. The wood requires regular maintenance and is more expensive than aluminium windows. Aluminium windows provide maximum glass with its slim frame. They are durable and easy to maintain. The long lasting colour (4 colors available provides a high-end finish. uPVC Windows are relatively new to SA. They offer excellent insulation qualities. uPVC is more expensive than wood and aluminium but they do have a cost effective range.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of replacing your windows there are many other small changes you can make to “dress up” your windows. Window treatments allow you to “add Colour” and texture adding to the design of the room.

Curtains

Although these are used mainly to create privacy and keeping light out there are many ways in which you use them to create or give character. A Curtain should have pleats and folds in so make sure your curtains have a lot of “extra” fabric in the means of width. If you have the perfect colour or pattern curtains don’t forget about the thing keeping them up. The rods are just as important as the curtain, make sure you have the right proportion between window, curtain and rod.

For Problematic windows use materials that completely cover the window, so that the casual observer believes the window to be larger than it actually is.

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Glass tinted frosted

For those who don’t want to have the fuss of curtains in their bathroom, for instance, using films to frost your window is a unique technique. There are many affordable films for frosting your window in Rooms that need privacy and light. A trend we see is to not frost the whole window in cases where there is more than one panel of a window or only frosting half of a large window. Another trend is decorative or functional films where it is adding to the look or functionality of the room.

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Shutters

Shutters are not only functional but stylish as well. They let in natural light while adding to the Rooms design instead of looking like a window treatment. Not only are they used inside but also add to your house from the outside. Shutters can be useful when un-usually shaped windows need to be closed. Window shutters come in different styles, colors or martial depending on the look you are doing for.

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Window Box’s

A wonderful way to add a bit of garden glamour to your home. It doesn’t matter what style or size window you have a box by your window will make a visual impact. You can fill it with anything from flowers, herbs or even vegetables e.g. tomatoes. Do take note that the box can become heavy with the soil, flowers and material used to make the box, so the support needs to be strong.

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Attractive ways to make your windows safe

Worried about safety but don’t want to use ugly old-fashioned burglar bars here are some ideas:
Clear Guard screens offer stainless steel mesh for your security as well as an elegant solution.

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Aluminium Roller Shutters have a streamlined look and look good from inside and out.

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Cottage Burglar bars are ordinary burglar bars that create a cottage pane effect.

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Light up your home

If you are thinking about a makeover for your house try updating your light instead. Lighting is crucial in any home, have you thought that each room needs a different type of lighting as each room gets different light at different times of the day! Here are a few tips and inspiration:

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Play with Coloured lighting – colour effects your mood so use it to your advantage. Change the lighting colour of a room, you get bright colours such as blue and purple as well as different shades of White. Use colour to enhances the “feeling” you want to create.

Staircases – having a series of individual lights hanging at different heights will allow a link to be formed from one floor to another. This style of light can be seen anywhere on the stair or landings.

Note: Staircases should always be lit well as to prevent someone from missing a step.

DIY lights – if you want to change up your lighting with out spending big bucks, why not be creative!

A work of art – if you have the money splurge on a unique one of a kind light/Chandelier.

 

Focus piece – got the space create a focus decorative piece in one of your rooms by selecting a unique light or chandelier, this will also help with separating areas.

If you don’t want to go through a bid of construction of call in an electrician to change up your home’s light just change the shade. Select a shade that has cut out pattern that creates a design on the walls of the room or replace the standard shade for something new and exciting.

 

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TIPS FOR USING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

PPE is not used to control the hazard but to limit the exposure to the harmful effects of the hazard. Each industry has its own tasks and hazard and will require different types of PPE. With this said PPE should only be used as a last line of defense and only select the necessary PPE for each specific task.

 

When requiring PPE, keep the following in mind:

  1. Know how PPE must protect you

 

Each item of PPE is designed to protect a specific body part. As a rule on our sites, all workers must wear a hard hat, safety shoes, overalls and a reflective bib or jacket. These are the basic requirements, and specific jobs call for extra protection. Understand your instructions and the job ahead will make it easier to select the necessary PPE.

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  1. Know when to use PPE

Each industry has its own hazards. These hazards must firstly be analyzed, see if it can be eliminated, substituted or controlled. The last resort must be PPE. Task specific training must be done regularly to ensure that all employees know what PPE to use when. Training on how to use PPE items is just as important! Work the training into informal weekly Toolbox Talks.

Control measures

  1. Know what PPE to purchase

When acquiring PPE, make sure that the required items meet the hazards of the workplace. Some fabrics are designed to protect employees when working with chemicals, but wouldn’t be effective against fire. Safety glasses will protect employees doing chisel work, but will not protect employees doing flame cutting. Equally as important, pay attention to the manufacturer’s ratings and test results!

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  1. Know when to replace PPE

As with any equipment, PPE can be worn out or damaged. Some PPE actually do have “expiry dates” – hardhats for instance must not be used for longer than 5 years. Clean and check all PPE regularly for any dents, cracks of tears and replace immediately if necessary. We make use of a PPE Issue Register to make sure all employees receive the required PPE, and any damaged PPE must be handed in before new PPE is issued.

 

PPE will not prevent any incidents from happening, but will protect you when it does. Be alert and always follow good working practices!

 

 

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Personal Protective Equipment

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As per the regulations, PPE can be defined as all equipment that is required to be worn by a person at work to protect him against one or more risks that are harmful to his health or safety.

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It is the contractors responsibility to identify hazards and to make an attempt to remove the hazards and then only must the workers exposure to the hazards be protected with personal protective equipment.

Personal protective equipment must be supplied by the contractors. It must be worn at work wherever there are risks to a person’s health or safety that can’t be controlled in other ways.

Remember:

  • PPE must be assessed before use to ensure it is suitable for the task at hand.
  • PPE must be maintained and stored properly.
  • PPE must be provided with instructions on how to use it safely.
  • PPE must be used correctly by employees.

According to regulation 2(7) of the General Safety Regulations, an employer shall not require or permit any employee to work unless such an employee uses the required safety equipment that is provided.

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PPE must be worn on site by all employees as it will protect and limit employees exposure to hazards. The employees must be aware of the limitations of the safety equipment that is provided.

All construction sites must be declared a hard hat and foot protection zones. If thesafety-vest-signs employees do not adhere, they must be escorted off site. All employees must wear high visibility clothing on site in order to stand out. The footwear must be appropriate for the type of job they are doing eg. If they are doing cement work the proper footwear will be gumboots.

Personal Protective Equipment for different tasks:

Goggles:

  • Jack & kango hammers
  • Angle and bench grindersgf
  • Electric drills
  • Overhead and chisel work
  • Explosive power tools
  • Concrete vibrators and pokers

Face shields / Welding helmets

  • Brazing work
  • Flame cutting
  • Glass welding torches
  • Arc welding

Hearing protection; muffs and ear plugs

  • Jack and kango hammers
  • Angle grinder
  • Explosive power tools
  • Noise generated from wood / aluminum working machines
  • Saws, planers & routers

Protective gloves

  • Handling cement, bricks, steel or chemicals
  • Welding equipment
  • Hammers and chisels
  • Jack or kango hammers

Suitable respirators

  • Dry cement
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Angle grinders
  • Spray painters working in dry dusty areas

Fall arrest equipment

  • Working in or on unguarded or elevated positions
  • Erecting scaffold
  • Rigging work
  • Lift shaft work
  • Edge work & ring beam edge work.

 

Choosing the correct PPE

  • PPE must be appropriate for the risks that are involved.
  • It must be able to prevent or adequately control the risk involved.
  • Can it be adjusted to fit correctly
  • If more than one item of PPE is worn make sure they are compatible.

Training

  • Employees must be aware of why PPE is needed.
  • Employees must know when it must be used, repaired or replaced.
  • Employees must be trained on how to use the PPE that is provided.
  • Additional safety signs can be used as a reminder for employees to wear their PPE.

 

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Personal Protective Equipment must be maintained and properly stored after use. It must also be kept clean and in good repair. Employees must use the PPE that is provided for them as it is there to help keep them safe and it is their responsibility to care for  it.

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5 Ways to secure your home

The goal is to make your home a less attractive target. Keep the following in mind:

  1. Keep your yard neat and trimmed

This ties in with point 1 from our last post – do not give the burglar any place to hide. Trim bushes neatly and keep them short. Also trim trees, especially branches that can give access to first floor windows or doors. Leaving the big municipal bin in your front yard is another hiding place or it can be used to gain access to a balcony or a high level window. Lock away any tools or equipment (hammers, ladders) that can be used to break a window or help them gain access to your home.

       2. Close and lock all windows, doors and safety gates

This point does seem obvious, but there is a lot of people still leaving their homes open all hours of the day. Rather be safe than sorry and lock those security gates, at least. And this includes the windows and doors on the first floor. As mentioned above, it is really easy to gain access.

Never leave your keys in the lock, as the burglar only needs a screwdriver to take of the handle from the outside. He can then easily turn the key with pliers and he is in!

3. Do not show off

Do not make yourself a target by showing the entire world all your expensive possessions. Unfortunately the reality is that burglars watch our neighborhoods very carefully. They will see your brand new car if you do not park it in the garage. Someone will notice the box of your new 60inch TV on the curb next to the bin. Rather cut it up into smaller pieces and put it inside the bin. At night close all blinds and curtains so that no potential burglar can see what you have.

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     4. Dogs

No, it is not necessary to get two vicious Rottweilers. As long as a dog is barking, it is a guard dog. Dogs are capable of noticing frequencies about twice that of a normal human and can distinguish sounds roughly four times that of humans.But I would suggest keeping them inside as far as possible. This way they can wake you up easier with their barking. This can also eliminate the possibility of burglars hurting or even poisoning your dog to get access to your yard.

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     6. Burglar bars and safety gates

For most South Africans this is pretty standard. These days there are a lot of different products on the market, and we can’t cover them all. Recently we did notice the popularity of the Security Shutters. These are almost impenetrable, without your home feeling like a prison. These shutters can be installed at windows and door. They open up to let light through, or the entire system can fold open, which is very useful at sliding doors or patio openings.

 

 

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5 Ways to secure your home (Electrical)

  1. External lighting & Timers

The idea is to give the burglar no place to hide.  Install good lighting near all entry points and place them on timers to automatically switch on as it gets dark. This way the lights will go on or off even when you are not home. Another option is having motion sensor floodlights. This will automatically give away a possible burglar’s position and maybe even give him a fright! Remember to regularly check the light bulbs and always replace burned-out bulbs as soon as possible.

1 Flood light2. Alarm systems

An alarm system is probably the go-to solution for most people. And in most cases it is connected to an Armed Response Service – which is a good idea as they can check on your house when you are not able to do so! But having the specific Security Company’s notice board (Protected by ADT for instance) on your wall or in your window can make you a target. These notice boards tell the burglar exactly what alarm system is installed, and makes it easy for them to find info on how to disable it. Rather get a generic sign.

3. Electric Fence

Trying to keep possible burglars away from your house is probably the best place to start! Having a good quality and properly installed electric fence is of utmost importance. If you are planning to have it installed or already have, keep in mind that by law the installer must be registered to do so, and must supply you with an electric fence system certificate of compliance. (http://sans10400.co.za/new-electric-fence-law/)

But the best and most expensive system will be useless without proper maintenance! Regularly check that the fence is powered on and in good condition. Also ensure that you have a back-up battery in case of possible load shedding. Always respond should the alarm go off – there is usually a reason it was triggered!

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4. Electrical access gates & intercoms

Once again this is to try and keep people at a distance. Audio and visual intercoms allow you to communicate with the outside world without letting strangers in your yard or near your house.

Install self-closures on pedestrian gates and set automated gates and doors to close after a pre-set time. This will ensure that these security gates are always closed.

5. Wireless Outdoor Electronic Beam Fence

The popularity of this system has grown tremendously in the past few years. This fence comes in a variety of brands that range in height, range and number of beams.  It can be installed indoors or outdoors, and makes for good perimeter security. The fence connects with infrared beams and should two adjacent beams be broken the main alarm is triggered.

 

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