Construction solutions provider a.b.e. Construction Chemicals is seeing growing confidence in the use of specialised coatings in the South African construction industry, proving that the company’s commitment to high quality and durability in its product range continues to be a successful strategy for weathering challenging times.
“Owing to a lack of understanding of the technology used in specialised coatings, they initially had quite a negative reputation in the local construction industry, which preferred to continue using tried and tested traditional waterproofing products,” says a.b.e. COO Brett Larsen.
However, specialised coatings were added to a.b.e’s diverse range of products about two years ago, and they have gone from strength to strength in the market, he adds.
Larsen stresses that the supply of high-quality products has been the strength and backbone of a.b.e. since its opening in 1932, a strategy that has also contributed to the establishment of a trustworthy brand. However, he points out that, with the state of the South African economy and the associated unfavourable rand exchange rate, the affordability of high-quality products from Europe and the US in South Africa has been adversely impacted.
“The ability of a product to prove its worth in such conditions is, thus, imperative. “The specialised coating is a highly technological product and we have partnered with a very sound principal in the specialised coatings industry – German specialist in high- performance industrial adhesives and surface protection systems VIP Coating Solutions. Like a.b.e., VIP places high value on quality and, in addition, offers a strong base of technical knowledge, providing good product support.”
Product diversification – waterproofing, flooring, general construction, adhesives and sealants, and specialised coatings – has also contributed to a.b.e’s longevity, enabling it to supply a very wide range of products to retail and construction.
The company joined admixture producer the Chryso Group in 2010, enabling it to align its products with the international group to offer the South African construction industry a ‘one-stop shop’ that can meet all its needs, from concrete to specialised finishes. It is upgrading its facilities in Isipingo and Boksburg and also pursuing opportunities to further its reach into the African continent.
“With the volume increases we have experienced from year to year, it is crucial that we increase our capacity and continually look to improve the training of our employees. “We have also increased our focus on environment-friendly products and have worked to align our green products with international standards.”
The company offers basic adult education and job-specific training for the supervisory and operational fields, as well as training in the finance and sales divisions of the business. “We have made it a key priority to maintain our standards and stay fresh and relevant in the industry,” says Larsen.
Last year, a.b.e’s products were notably used in the final phase of the 11 Alice Lane Precinct, in Sandton; in concrete repair and protection products for several community projects in Malawi and two hospitals in Cape Town; in the protective coating for 16 wheat silos in Mauritius; in special sealing systems for the Savana City reservoir, in Sebokeng; and polyurea waterproofing for the new shark tank at the Cape Town Aquarium.