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The beginning of the concrete era and beyond.

The word concrete comes from the Latin word “concretus”, meaning compact or condense.

Concrete, where would we be without it in today’s wonderful world of commercial construction? It is the bread and butter of a Commercial Builder and one of the costliest components to a commercial building. Every day we are surrounded by it, drive on it

Now, we won’t “blog bore” you with a full history lesson about concrete but there are some interesting facts regarding its beginnings.

Did you know?

The word concrete comes from the Latin word “concretus”, meaning compact or condense.

The makings of concrete.

According to research it has been found that the actual conception of a very basic type of concrete was discovered in 12,000,000 BC when the reaction between oil shale and limestone combusted to create a natural deposit of cement compounds. This was in Israel.

Moving through to 3000 BC, Egyptians used the discovery of lime and mortar, as a binding agent, during the construction of the Pyramids and the Chinese, in the north of China, were using a form of cement when building the Great Wall.

It wasn’t until around 200 BC, where concrete was used a little differently, when the Romans discovered its usefulness. The Romans had pioneered a new technique, by stacking stones of varying sizes and hand filling in between them with a mortar mix. The Pantheon and the Colosseum were all built with this method and are still standing today. A true testament to the Romans and their high level of building accomplishments.

The facade of the Pantheon. This building still stands today.

The Pantheon has the largest un-reinforced concrete dome ever built and animal fat, milk and blood were all used in the admixtures.

Portland Cement

The history lesson is being continued for a brief moment as a major game changer had been developed in 1824 by an Englishman named Joseph Aspdin. Portland cement, as it were named, was invented by burning finely ground chalk and clay in a kiln until the carbon dioxide was removed. Whilst cement is not a building product on its own, once cement powder is mixed with water and other materials like sand, limestone, gravel, it forms what we know today as concrete.

 Did you know?

The Hoover Dam needed more than 3,000,000 m2 of concrete during its construction

Modern Day Concrete

Concrete has evolved so much from its beginnings to now. A lot has been done and new innovative ideas created to make concrete a reliable and highly used building material.

Concrete can be reinforced, pigments can be added for colour, recycled, chemical mixtures added for speeding up or slowing down the hardening process. In the commercial building sector, all these innovations are used with great result. It is one of the most durable building materials, it gives excellent fire resistance and once concrete is laid and cures can be around for thousands of years to come. Concrete is very energy efficient and has great heating and cooling capacity by being able to store and release energy. It would have to be one of the greatest building materials ever founded.

Concrete has also made quite a fashionable comeback. Table tops, exposed floors, ceilings, kitchen benches and interiors walls are all being designed and created in concrete. From the polished to the raw and exposed aggregates, all have been used amongst commercial and residential builds. It gives a very urban and rustic feel with a modern twist.

Buildcom Construction’s commercial showroom project. Concrete tilt panel walls a concrete sealed floor makes for a well-executed and attractive commercial buildings.                                              

Another Buildcom Construction project where concrete panels are being lifted to create the warehouse/ office walls.

Did you know?

The first reinforced concrete home was built in the 1870’s and was named Ward’s Castle after William Ward, an engineer, whose aim was to make the building fireproof due to his wife’s fear of fire.