Following a series of tests, evaluations and inspections, Doka Gulf received its certificate of technical approval from the Dubai Central Laboratory Department for its product Concremote, a device that measures the concrete temperature and strength development in real time enabling improved management of forming and cast-in-place concreting operations. Perhaps, in order to give a clearer idea about the importance of either regulatory or commercial approval, it is best to go back to the beginning and understand the process of creating a product such as Concremote.
In the case of Concremote, its role as a device is an important one. Based on the maturity method, Concremote is an alternative to early age laboratory and field cured test specimens, providing an accurate in-situ measurement of the compressive strength of concrete, optimising concrete mix design and informing when to commence deshuttering of formwork. In optimising the mix design a contractor avoids using unnecessary raw materials while the accurate, real-time data alerts project stakeholders to execute post-tensioning operations and formwork stripping without sacrificing safety in a timely manner.
As anyone who works in industrial research and development will tell you, creating new products or services that combine the balance of tomorrow’s technology for today’s market which doesn’t require an inordinate amount of investment is a tricky business. Even if you meet this much sought after trinity there’s no guarantee it will be picked up by its intended target audience, at least not straight away. History is full of examples of commercial ideas that took their time to become commonplace, including but not limited to personal computers, radio and the light bulb, so why is there such a lag for industrial sectors such as construction to use or integrate technology which offers a clear list of proven advantages and why is technical approval such an important step?
Arguably the greatest currency, particularly amongst professionals in the construction market is trust. Unless a product or service is tried and tested, it is a slow process, no matter how credible the company, for a consultant or contractor to be the first to implement a product that hasn’t been either approved by a regulatory body, or been given the appropriate time ‘in market’ to iron out any potential issues.
As a process, the maturity method, as described under ASTM C1074, is a practice that “can be used to estimate the in-place strength of concrete to allow the start of critical construction activities such as: (1) removal of formwork and reshoring; (2) post-tensioning of tendons; (3) termination of cold weather protection; and (4) opening of roadways to traffic. This practice can be used to estimate strength of laboratory specimens cured under non-standard temperature conditions.
Based on the equation proposed by Svante Arrhenius in 1889, the maturity method has become a reliable and trusted method of estimating the strength of concrete in construction. In using this tried and tested formula through the traditional method of testing field-cured samples during the initial week following pouring, while in situ specimens can be removed and tested in a lab, consultants and contractors know that while they may lose time in waiting longer than necessary to commence the next construction activity, this is a considerably better outcome than acting prematurely and suffering durability and performance issues, or in the worse case scenario a risk to the building’s structural integrity.
As an industry that relies absolutely on measurement and accuracy, perhaps it is time to start trusting the diligent and proven research and efforts made from the construction industry’s most credible R&D departments, particularly products that are accredited by agencies such as ASTM, DIN, British Standard and Eurocode.
Concremote’s endorsement from Dubai Central Laboratory Department signifies more than just the approval of a single device, but the technical replacement of an out-dated process, which is symptomatic of the stagnation suffered by the construction sector over the past forty years. In accepting proven technology, as technically approved by institutions such as the DCL, the construction industry has the potential to enter a new era of technical integration that will yield significant improvements, not just how efficiently we build, but how we consume our global resources.