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Becoming Better with

Concrete Block Paving

pavingexpert

com
Tony McCormack

South Africa ~ August 2016


Durban ~ Port Elizabeth ~ Cape Town~ Johannesburg

Part 1 Introduction
Pavingexpert.com Becoming Better With Paving Introduction South Africa August 2016

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Slide 1

Becoming Better with


Concrete Block Paving

pavingexpert

com
Tony McCormack

Welcome to this one day presentation brought to you by pavingexpert.com


and the South African Concrete Manufacturers Association.

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Slide 2

Safety First at this site

Site Safety Briefing

Fire Alarm Exit Muster

Conveniences

No smoking

Phones off

Insert details of site safety policy and any statutory requirements

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Slide 3

Outline for the day


1 Intro:
The market in Britain, Europe, North America.
Contractors and organisations

2 - Laying methodology I:
Preparation, tools, skills required
Materials and sub-bases

3 - Laying methodology II:


Laying course, block laying, cutting, jointing

4 - Alternative pavings:
flags, rigid construction, heavy duty construction for highways,
specialist applications such as speed control,
NOx elimination, decorative finishes.

Todays event will be split into four parts, with breaks between each part.

This first part introduces the presenter and his background in the installation
industry, along with experience in the training of installers in Britain, Ireland
and Europe. It also considers the market for concrete block paving (CBPs) in
Britain, Europe and North America in terms of volumes sold. It moves on to
look at the qualifications and training that are available in those countries,
and how contractors can organise themselves into effective trade groups.

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Slide 4

Who do you think you are?


AJ McCormack Paving

Founded 1957

First large scale laying of


CBPs in N. England 1981

Developed UK NVQs
and Apprenticeship
programme for modular
paving industry
Advises manufacturers
and installers
throughout Europe,
North America and
Australia/NZ

Todays presenter is Tony McCormack, the son in AJ McCormack & Son, a


streetmasonry and paving company founded by his late father (also Tony) in
1957 and active in the contracting business until the retirement of Tony Snr in
February 1999. Tony Jnr had been permanently injured in an accident in
January 1997 and could not actively work within the business any longer. He
subsequently developed the company into a specialist paving consultancy
based around his own website, pavingexpert.com.

The paving business was lead installation contractor in one of the first large-
scale installations of CBPs in northern England beginning in 1981 and
continued to play a key role in major CBP projects throughout the 1980s and
1990s.

Tony Jnr was primarily responsible for developing and writing the Modern
Apprenticeship Programme for modular paving on behalf of the British
Construction Industry Training Board. He was also responsible for creating
one of the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) used to teach modular
paving on-site.

Nowadays, he works throughout the world acting as an advisor and


consultant to manufacturers, installers, training organisations, architects,
designers and public bodies concerned with the development of a better and
safer paving industry.

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Slide 5

The UK Market

Manufacturing 13.3m m in 2015


Down from peak of 21m m in 2006
Germany (biggest European market) 40m m
USA/Canada ~ 5m m .and growing fast!

This graph, based on data provided by Interpave in the UK, shows how CBP
sales initially declined following the banking crash of 2007 but are now
beginning to recover.

The biggest European market for CBPs remains Germany, which manufactures
most of its paving but also imports significant quantities from neighbouring
countries where labour costs are lower, notably Poland.

The USA and Canada act as a single market and were late in adopting CBPs,
which they refer to as Interlocking Concrete Paving (ICP), but are now
installing around 5 million square metres per year and this figure is expected
to grow quite quickly.

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Slide 6

Paving Contractors in Britain

Low skills, no training, poor Low skills levels but some basic
H&S, poor welfare, cash training, good site behaviour,
economy H&S training, in-work benefits

1+2 gangs 1+4/5 gangs

Mostly hand-lay Hand and machine lay

Paving Professionals Well organised & professionally


Landscapers managed businesses
Builders

owner ~ 750/pw ganger 500-600/pw


(13,500 ZAR) (9,000-10,800 ZAR)

labourer = 300/pw labourer 350-500/pw


(5,400 ZAR) (6,300-9.000 ZAR)

This slide considers the two main groupings of paving installers in Britain:
those serving the residential market and those focussed on pubic and
commercial works.

Residential installers can be sub-divided into three distinct groups:

1 - Paving Professionals full time installers with generally fair to good skill
levels, installing paving every day
2 Landscapers garden makeover businesses that occasionally install paths
and patios as part of the scheme. Generally low-to fair skill levels.
3 Builders all-rounders who will undertake patio and driveway
installation as an extension of their general building work. Generally low to
moderate skill levels

The vast majority (>98%) of residential work is hand laid

Business owners will often remain on the tools but may take a more
administrative or sales role as they age. A good wage can be made
throughout the year.

Labourers are often casual, with a high level of churn as workers come and
go. Pay is relatively low but generally above minimum wage. Skill levels are

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variable: an operative with good skills and some leadership potential may be
promoted to gangerman and allowed to head their own installation team.
Most labourers are donkeys. Employed to do the heavy graft but take on no
responsibility or onerous tasks such as setting-out, measuring-up, etc.

Many residential gangs operate partly or entirely in the black economy, with
all payments, for materials, plant and labour, being done in cash and avoiding
as much record-keeping and tax administration as possible.

Commercial installers will undertake mostly hand-lay but there are specialist
machine lay installers that take on larger works (generally 2,500m or
greater)

Skill levels tend to be reasonable and there will usually be some element of
training.

Commercial work involves a deal of paperwork and so there is often a full-


time administrator who has a QS or similar background. The requirement for
meticulous record-keeping and admin actively deters many otherwise good
installers from taking on commercial work.

Wages and benefits are generally slightly better than for residential workers.
All work will be done on a legitimate basis with full tax and insurance details
being recorded for all parts of the business.

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Slide 7

Engineers and Designers


Usually either Civil Engineers or Landscape Architects

Tend to have little or no experience Technical knowledge but no practical


of paving installation experience

Very few opportunities to specialise Often very little direct contact with site
in pavement engineering other than
blacktop LAs design and send drawings to QS to
prepare BoQ
Limited courses:
Notts Uni Contractor, often a sub-contractor, receives
Newcastle Uni BoQ, sets about cutting as many corners as
possible
Tend to rely on gaining experience
Some designs dont consider whats possible
through work rather than training
or practical as no site experience for LAs

Folded pavements, path sizes to eliminate


cutting. etc.

Design usually achieved in principle but not


quite as originally imagined

This slide considers the two main groups of pavement designers.

Neither group tends to have extensive knowledge of pavement construction.


Engineers are often more practical in their designs, while LAs are often more
imaginative, even if some of their imaginings are, occasionally, impossible to
construct.

Commercial work will always be designed in advance. Much residential work


is designed ad-hoc by the installer or a combination of installer and client.
Occasionally, a garden designer may be involved in designing residential
patios and pathways.

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Slide 8

Trade Bodies: Manufacturers

UK Interpave
Manufacturers only - PCC trade body, part of MPA and BPCC
Budget c. 200,000 (3.6m ZAR)
Aims to set standards and policy for modular
paving
Pushes agenda for, say, CBPP, Suds, installation
guidance
Too often beset by political in-fighting
Poorly funded and officials employed on part-time basis
Often relies on goodwill of people like John Howe being given leeway
by employer

US ICPI
Promotes both manufacturers and contractors
Budget c. $2m (27m ZAR)
Aims to set standards and policy for modular
paving
Pushes agenda for, say, CBPP, (PICP) installation guidance
Full time staff, highly professional, overseen by board of trustees

This slide compares the trade bodies in the UK and the US.

The key difference to note is that the US body involves contractors along
with manufacturers, as well as designers, engineers, ancillary product
producers, aggregate suppliers, etc., so the body as a whole has a much wider
view of the trade as a whole.

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Slide 9

Trade bodies: Contractors

Interlay
Independent but weak
65-70 members
Budget of c.50,000 (900,000 ZAR)

Manufacturer Approved
Marshalls, Bradstone, Brett, Natural Paving, etc.
Marshalls ~ 1,800 members - Brett ~ 180 members
Marketing aids, some training, big prize competitions
Budget of c. 1m (18m ZAR) for biggest scheme

This slide compares the main installer trade bodies in Britain.

The only independent body is Interlay, but it is relatively weak.

The plethora of manufacturer-sponsored bodies imposes a high membership


cost on participants, with each group costing around 400 to join. Some
schemes have a measure of skill vetting, but others are basically limited to
have you got the money? Many of the better contractors will be a member
of two or more such schemes.

The bigger schemes usually have patio/driveway of the year competitions


with significant prizes, such as 4x4s (Backies) or trips to overseas paving
production centres.

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Slide 10

Contractor Teams: Skills I

Typically 1 x ganger (often business


owner) + 2-3 donkeys

Ganger looks after material and plant


ordering, setting out, progress and
schedule

Donkeys do basic labouring and not


usually responsible for any technical
aspect

Specialism may include:


Excavator operator
Manual screeder

Some owners become (or employ) full


time sales/admin

This slide considers the skills expected within a residential installation team.

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Slide 11

Contractor Teams: Skills II

Typically 1 x ganger plus 4-5 labourers

Ganger looks after material and plant


ordering, setting out, progress and
schedule

Donkeys do basic labouring and not


usually responsible for any technical
aspect

Tend to be layers only, with other


works (kerbs, drains, etc.) left to
groundworkers

Machine lay gangs have lift operator

Often some specialism: operatives may


be layers, or cutters, or jointers, etc.

This slide considers the skills expected within a commercial installation team.

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Slide 12

Training & Qualifications


Basic: NVQ/SNVQ up to Level 2
Highway Maintenance
Construction Operations
Amenity Horticulture

Apprenticeship: never implemented


NHSS30: Lots of talk, only 1 company qualified

Previously:
4 year apprenticeship usually done as day release

Streetmasonry or Highway Works or Roadcraft, depending on employer

Elsewhere:
Germany Pflastermeister 7 year apprenticeship highly skilled + well paid

France/BeNeLux/Scandiwegia 2-5 year apprenticeships

US licensed home builders can be accredited to ICPI

Australia professional building/home improvement licensing

This slide looks at qualifications and training.

In Britain, the base qualification is the NVQ National Vocational


Qualification.

There are three different versions of the paving NVQ


Modular Paving Highways
Modular Paving Building Works
Modular Paving Amenity Horticulture

The top level of qualification is level 2. This is quite low. A hairdresser, for
example, can get an NVQ up to level 4
Assessment take place on-site during actual work and there is little, if any,
written examination of knowledge or understanding. Candidates are
expected to put together a portfolio showing the type of work they have
successfully undertaken during their assessment period, which is usually 6-12
months.

There is a Modern Apprenticeship Programme (written and developed by


Tony McCormack) but, for political reasons, it has never been implemented.

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It is an 18 month course with extensive on-site learning and written content.


The curriculum encompasses all aspects of paving and surface drainage,
including setting out. It covers flags, blocks, kerbs, setts, cubes, concreting,
macadam laying (tarring), fencing, steps construction and much more.

There is a concern that by re-establishing a widespread apprenticeship


programme, this would force up pay rates amongst qualified workers, and
the major contractors do not wish to see this. Their agenda is to maintain
paving as a low skill, low wage trade.

NHSS30 National Highways Sector Scheme Part 30

This is intended to further professionalise the commercial installation trade,


but the costs of qualification, intended to limit uptake and so keep the bulk
of the trade at a low wage level, is actively putting off commercial installers
that would benefit from the higher skills and record-keeping required by the
scheme.

In the 4 years since its launch, only one UK contractor has qualified.

Prior to 1981, apprenticeships for the paving trade were undertaken as


streetmasonry, roadcraft or highway works and these were 3-4 years
courses with day release, where candidates would typically spend one day per
week in a classroom environment learning theory and practising key skills
under the aegis of an older, semi-retired tradesman.

In Germany, a Pflastermeister (Pavement Master) undertakes a 7 year


apprenticeship and, on completion, is widely regarded as a highly skilled
tradesmen capable of earning a good liviung with several operatives working
for him/her.

Other European countries tend to have some sort of formal training lasting 2-
5 years

In N.America, approved CBP installers are accredited by ICPI after


successfully completing an intensive training programme that takes 1-2 weeks

In Aus/NZ, all home improvement businesses have to be licensed by the state


and/or local authority to ensure they are both competent and legitimate.

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Slide 13

Standards: UK / SA / Europe / N.America


BS 7533 13 parts
Under review
Widely admired and adapted
Covers all aspects of concrete, clay
and stone paving
Blocks, flags, setts, kerbs

SA 1200 MJ Standard
Written 1984
Loosely equivalent to BS 7533
Focuses mostly on CBPs

Europe/N.America
Allow for frost heave

Issues using concrete haunches

In the presentations following this introduction, much mention is made of the


British Standard, BS 7533.

This is widely regarded as the most authoritative standard for the


construction of modular pavements in temperate climates (ie: those not
affected by frost heave) anywhere in the world. For this reason, much of
what is contained within BS 7533 is used by many other countries.

7533 covers all aspects of modular paving blocks, flags, kerbs, setts, cubs
and all popular materials which are concrete (pressed and wet-cast), natural
stone and clay. It also encompasses structural design, maintenance and
reinstatement. It is the most comprehensive standards document in
existence.

It is currently under review with the aim of condensing the current 13 parts
into a single document.

The South African Standard, SA 1200 MJ, is over 30 years old but contains all
the basics. Nothing in 1200 MJ is contrary to the content of 7533. While 1200
MJ is a useful precis of the standards required for modular pavement
construction, 7533 goes into far more detail, contains much more
information and guidance, includes cross-section drawings and layout plans,

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along with comprehensive specification for suitable aggregates. It also


benefits from being updated at least every 8 years so always reflects the latest
knowledge.

Northern Europe and North America have severe problems with frost heave
each winter and so their constructions methods are significantly different.
Most notably, their sub-bases are 3-4 times the thickness of those we can use
in temperate climates, and so build costs are, unsurprisingly, considerably
higher. In particular, they are severely limited in their use of concrete as a
bedding or haunching material due to repeated frost heave during winter
threatening to crack and crumble cast in-situ (so not pre-stressed) concrete
constructions.

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