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   The weathering characteristics of GRC are as good as any precast material. Unlike traditional reinforced cement, GRC uses alkali resistant (AR) glass fibres throughout the matrix to provide reinforcement so is not at risk of corrosion and does not require further maintenance.

   The GRC can be enhance for greater protection and durability, with a wide range of specialised products available that offer additional resistance to impact, weather, graffiti and water.

Benefits of GRC - Apex
Strong and Lightweight

   Typically manufactured to a skin thickness of 12mm, GRC can be cast in thinner sections and can be up to 75% lighter than similar pieces of traditional precast concrete.

   The reduced weight of panels makes them easier and cheaper to handle with reduced transportation costs, Generally, more GRC panels can be shipped in a single load than traditional precast.

   GRC is a high impact strength material with a strength-to-weight ratio superior to most other materials. The glass fibre has a tensile strength 3 to 4 times greater than the equivalent steel fibre. GRC has high compressive and tensile strengths.

   GRC panels reduce loadings on foundations and perimeter columns which can lead to significant savings in superstructure and foundations if designed in from concept.


   GRC offers unrivalled creativity with the ability to accurately reproduce any small or large design, including historic ornaments, ornate patterns and complex shapes.

   The material can be finished in a wide variety of textures and colours, giving designers greater control over the surface detail and quality of finish.

   GRC is generally cast in thin skin sections which consume less raw materials and energy during manufacture. Consequently, the reduced weight and thickness of GRC panels can provide significantly lower environmental impacts during transportation to site and during installation.

   Over a month ago

The Duties and Responsibilities of a Building Contractor

A building contractor is someone with a wide range of duties and responsibilities when it comes to the construction of residences or businesses. This individual has a job that entails hard work and thorough review of many processes which accompany the building of structures. Many of the building contractor’s job duties and responsibilities will be discussed in the paragraphs which follow.

What Is a Building Contractor?

A building contractor is an individual who engages in the planning, developing and coordinating of activities which coincide with the building of structures. The building contractor is the individual who oversees the construction and ensures that all necessary measures are taken to result in the completed finished product.
What Are the General Responsibilities of a Building Contractor?

The general responsibilities of a building contractor entail the individual planning and carrying through any and all pertinent activities relating to the construction of a dwelling, building or other structure. The building contractor carries out his/her duties by supervising employees, planning how the project will be carried out and completing the project in a manner which coincides with all laws, rules and regulations which may be in existence and correlate with construction.
What Are the Specific Duties of a Building Contractor?

There are many duties which a building contractor must complete on a daily basis in order to ensure that the construction project is completed in a timely and correct manner. The first duty of the building contractor is to implement a plan in which to carry out the construction project. This extends anywhere from hiring workers to developing a step-by-step timeline that the project will follow from start to finish.

In addition to implementing the construction plan, the building contractor is responsible for hiring, supervising and, at times, firing employees who work on the specific project with the contractor. Along those same lines of supervising the employees, the building contractor must also take care of payroll with regard to the workers and engage in payroll functions or hire someone to do so for the contractor.

The building contractor is also responsible for obtaining materials for the project. Since construction projects cannot be completed without the necessary building materials, it is up to the contractor to acquire goods to build the structures. This involves various forms of correspondence with necessary material suppliers.

Another specific duty of the building contractor is to acquire all necessary licenses and permits from relevant entities so that the building project can begin. These range anywhere from building licenses to zoning permits and there are many regulations that relate to these documents which each building contractor must follow in order to engage in construction.

The building contractor must also do his/her research regarding relevant regulations and laws akin to the construction process. There are many laws which state when, where and how a building contractor and his crew should build in certain areas. These must be recognized and followed by building contractors in order to complete the project in a law-abiding manner.

Budget issues are another item which relate to the duties of a building contractor. The building contractor must establish a budget for the construction project and follow that budget as closely as possible. This will allow the building contractor to obtain supplies, hire workers and finish the construction in a cost-efficient manner. Instituting and following budgets is a serious matter which building contractors should be concerned with as they ensure that the project will be completed as was envisioned in the beginning.

Throughout the construction process, the building contractor is also responsible for reviewing the progress and implementing any changes along the way. The building contractor needs to follow the specific building project closely and make changes when he/she deems it necessary to do so.

Lastly, the building contractor is the individual who deals with all emergencies and surprises which relate to the project and occur on-site and sometimes off-site as well. This individual is the one which many parties go to should they need assistance with an emergency issue that has just arisen.
What Traits Make a Good Building Contractor?

Although each and every building contractor is a little bit different from others, there are certain positive traits which comprise a good building contractor. The first trait which all building contractors should possess is decisiveness. Due to the fact that important decisions need to be made on a daily basis, it is best to have a building contractor that knows what he/she wants and acts on it.

Another good trait for building contractors to have is experience. Although experience may not be necessary in all circumstances, it does aid the building contractor in getting the job done in a quick and efficient manner. This is simply a beneficial trait but not necessary in all cases as everyone has to start somewhere and not every building contractor will have years of experience behind them.

Building contractors should also be good leaders. There are many individuals who are counting on the building contractor to show them the way and this is why good leadership skills are a beneficial trait for building contractors to have. If the employees and supply companies know exactly what is needed of them, they will do a better job in the long run due to this guidance.

Lastly, building contractors should be individuals who can resolve issues in a quick and speedy fashion. Since a delay in one portion of the construction project can hold up the entire process, it is important that the building contractor knows how to resolve issues which may arise during the construction process.

A building contractor who knows how to troubleshoot will see beneficial results in the end.

Building contractors are individuals with demanding and multi-faceted duties and responsibilities. Those building contractors who are determined, steadfast and seek quick resolutions are ones who may prosper greatly in their occupation. In order to be the best building contractor one can be, acquired experience and decisiveness may be helpful qualities for an individual of this type to possess.

   Over a month ago

With today’s design-oriented goals of sustainability and energy efficiency, the proper use of insulation is becoming more important than ever. There are many different ways to insulate a building, and there are dozens of insulation assemblies in existence. This particular article focuses on two insulation types that are popular in a variety of installations for the entire building envelope: EPS and XPS.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is a closed-cell insulation that’s manufactured by “expanding” a polystyrene polymer; the appearance is typically a white foam plastic insulation material (the likes of which can be found as merchandise packaging). Extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam is a rigid insulation that’s also formed with polystyrene polymer, but manufactured using an extrusion process, and is often manufactured with a distinctive color to identify product brand.

While EPS and XPS are two different products, they do have some similar characteristics and fall under the same manufacturing standard: ASTM C578 Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation.
Pros and Cons of EPS and XPS


Recyclable products that assist with LEED points.
Won’t support mold or mildew growth.
Long-term, stable R-value.
Can be placed below grade.
Can be utilized for inverted assemblies (over membrane).


Exposure to sun will deteriorate the product.
Solvents/solvent-based materials cause irreversible damage.
Elevated temperatures (above 250 degrees F.) will “melt” polystyrene.
Incompatible with certain thermoplastics, polystyrene insulations are known to draw plasticizers out of thermoplastic membranes, causing permanent degradation.
Polystyrene is flammable, requiring proper placement in any assembly.

This particular specification covers the different types and physical properties of cellular polystyrene intended for use as thermal insulation.

Polystyrene insulation materials that fall under ASTM C578 fall into several different classifications: Type I through Type XII (with the exception of Type III, which is no longer available). The different classifications relate directly to physical characteristics of each type – most notably, the density, compressive resistance, and R-value. The range in densities and compressive strengths allows for specific uses on different parts of a building.

Polystyrene insulation is manufactured in a variety of board sizes – usually a minimum of 1-inch thick. Tapered units are also manufactured for use in roofing assemblies where the insulation is used to create slope for positive drainage. One of the more common uses in roofing is the ballasted single-ply roof assembly, where a roof membrane is placed over the insulation and ballasted with rock, concrete pavers, or other material.

Polystyrene insulations can be used in asphalt built-up roofing systems; however, provisions must be made to protect the insulation from heat (i.e. hot bitumen or torch) and solvent-based products (i.e. adhesives). In addition, certain thermoplastic roof membranes require a separation layer between the layer of insulation and the membrane.

EPS and XPS are resistant to moisture; however, XPS is more common for below-grade waterproofing and roof systems where insulation is placed over the roof membrane (IRMA, or inverted roof membrane assembly). The IRMA concept is also utilized for insulating building walls, where polystyrene insulation is placed over a barrier membrane, with the siding or cladding system installed over the insulation layer.

The use of EPS and XPS insulation in building construction offers great flexibility, compatibility, and thermal efficiency for use at all areas of a building envelope. Picking between the two will depend on particular use; choosing the appropriate type is critical for proper insulation performance.

   Over a month ago