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Cement Poured Walls

What makes you feel safe inside your home or your office building? Is it the security screens, the deadbolts on the doors or just knowing that the walls aren’t going to come crashing down on you? Now imagine that you are inside a mine shaft; what would make you feel safe inside there? Smart money says it wouldn’t be sandy walls!

Many jobs in construction in the mining industry deal with cement and cement poured walls. Cement or poured walls are not only used in the residential and commercial industries but also in the mining industry. While smaller shafts are usually lined with timber supports, larger shafts are often lined with cement. Our bricklaying article states most structures are built from blocks of concrete and held together by mortar. The logistics and time involved in bricklaying make it an extremely inappropriate and ineffective technique to be used inside a mine shaft. Therefore, cement poured walls and insulating concrete formwork (ICF) is employed.

Cement poured walls have been used in basement construction since the early 1950’s in America and are now becoming an economical choice for low-cost housing and a sustainable choice for building eco-homes. More construction companies are employing this new technique as it reduces the work load from months to days.

What is ICF?

Insulating concrete formwork (ICF) is a hollow lightweight block made out of various materials like foam, plastic foam beads (polystyrene), wood fibre and cement. These blocks interlock without the use of mortar and provide a formwork system into which cement is poured. The forms are usually left in place to provide extra insulation.

Grinder Machine.Org states “In conventional poured-in-place construction, a crew erects forms of plywood, steel, or aluminium that make a mould in the shape of the desired walls. After placing rebar to reinforce the wall, the crew pours concrete inside the cavity. Once the concrete hardens, the crew strips the forms to leave the reinforced concrete walls.”

Construction technology has experienced great advancements. With the ICFs becoming more environmentally friendly and easier to use than the traditional forms, cement poured walls are easier to erect as well as being more cost effective.

Benefits of cement poured walls

  • Poured cement walls are considered to be stronger and provide a drier foundation. Some construction companies will reinforce the walls with steel bars making them withstand even severe weather conditions.
  • It is suggested that savings of up to 40% in energy costs can be achieved when compared to traditional construction techniques.
  • The cement can be poured in all weather conditions as the ICFs used provide insulation to the cement allowing it enough time to cure.
  • Serious cracking is limited due to this ideal curing condition.
  • Most ICFs are left-in-place which provide insulation and act as a sound barrier.
  • ICFs can be cut into any shape allowing unique designs to be shaped.
  • Most ICFs are made out of recyclable materials, are hypoallergenic and inert thus being environmentally friendly.

Summary

Cement poured walls are fast becoming an economical and eco-friendly way of building low-cost homes as well as being used to line mine shafts in the mining industry. Insulated concrete formwork is used to create safe forms into which the cement is poured. These forms have the added benefit of using recyclable materials and providing extra insulation and function as a sound barrier.

Master Builders Australia

Visit Master Builders Australia to find ICF builders, training centres and more information if this is a career path that appeals to you. If you are a builder, visit our jobs employment page to find the latest postings for construction mining jobs.

Visit our Construction Sectors page for more information on all the sectors needed to support the resource industry.
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