Huge hollow-core slab project

Thousands of hollow-core concrete floor slabs are being manufactured by Echo Prestress for one of the largest projects in its 30-year history – the new Parktown Village student residence complex for Johannesburg’s Wits University.


Located next to the Park Lane Hospital, the student complex is made up of a group of 14 separate three-storey buildings, which will eventually house 1200 students. It is due for completion in August, and main contractor Tri-Star Construction says building is well on track.


Speed of building was critically important to meet a pressing shortage of student accommodation at the university, Echo Prestress was told when it was awarded the contract last year to supply the flooring.


“That was a key reason for the architects and builders opting for Echo’s hollow-core concrete slab flooring solution,” says MD Monique Eggebeen. “From the very start-date, meeting construction deadlines has been crucial and we are manufacturing and delivering slabs just as quickly as the contractor can build.’’


A total of almost 17 000m² of Echo slabs in three thicknesses – 120mm, 150mm and 200mm – are being used in the construction of the accommodation complex.


Aiming higher


“Parktown Village is an ideal example of the kind of structure for which the hollow-core slab system is designed, and where a fast-track solution is required,” Ms Eggebeen says.


In South Africa, Echo floor panels are commonly used in buildings up to three storeys in height – typically high-density housing – but she believes there’s a strong case for using them in buildings up to eight storeys, as is commonly found in Europe.


Echo’s ISO 9001-accredited hollow-core system is equally suited for multi-storey commercial and industrial buildings, says Echo Prestress technical director Daniel Petrov. “The slab is quick to manufacture, quick to erect, and is much lighter than conventional in-situ, solid concrete foundations and installations.”


He adds: “It’s not just a matter of manufacturing slabs. In the Parktown Village project – as in many others in the past – in addition to manufacturing and installing the slabs, our technical and professional service has involved co-ordinating design reviews and providing project management support where required.”

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