Displaying items by tag: Housing programme
Russia: Soyuzcement, a cement manufacturing union, predicts that cement production could rise by up to 3% to 57Mt in 2017. In the short-term cement production is expected to benefit from infrastructure investment to local government municipalities from the federal budget and from a reduction to the mortgage rate by the banks. In the longer term the union expects that housing development and concrete road construction will drive the industry, according to Interfax. However, cement production fell in the first two months of 2017 and remained stable in March 2017. Soyuzcement has also prepared a negative forecast that stated that production could fall by 4% in 2017.
Plans for the former Shoreham cement plant on the south coast of England took an exciting turn towards the end of 2014. Zero carbon design firm Zedfactory announced its plans to regenerate the brownfield site into an eco-resort featuring holiday homes, performance space, affordable homes, a hotel and conference centre, a watersports venue, wildlife preserves and more. Or, ' hobbit homes' as the Daily Mail put it when it covered the story six months later.
This raises the question of what happens to cement plants when they close?
In the UK, where a housing shortage in certain areas collide with NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitudes and strict planning regulations, former industrial or brownfield sites are prime sites for new housing developments. Subsequently, old cement plants are attractive to builders to build houses. Two examples of current sites heading this way include the former Cemex plant in Barrington, Cambridgeshire and the former Lafarge Eastgate plant in County Durham. Both sites have gained planning permission and were still in the pre-building stage according to local press reports in mid-2015. Dylan Moore's website 'Cement Plants and Kilns in Britain and Ireland' provides a good resource on former plants in the UK and Ireland.
One of the jokes about classic UK science-fiction television series Dr Who was that during the 1970s it was either filmed on cheap studio sets or in quarries. Endless encounters with alien beings took place in cement plant quarries including Lafarge Northfleet (alien in spacesuits), Lafarge Aberthaw (tentacle faced aliens), Hanson Ketton (Arthurian knights who may in fact be aliens...) and many more. Indeed, one of the conditions of the proposed Lafarge Eastgate sale in March 2015 was that a television production company could continue to use the quarry to film an adaptation of Beowulf for five years!
On the more imaginative side of what to do with old plants, La Fabrica near Barcelona is a spectacular example. Architect Ricardo Bofill converted a 19th century plant into his firm's head office, La Fabrica, and his own personal residence. As Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura's website puts it, "Eight silos remained, which became offices, a models laboratory, archives, a library, a projections room and a gigantic space known as 'The Cathedral', used for exhibitions, concerts and a whole range of cultural functions linked to the professional activities of the architect." Architecturally the project refers to Catalan Civic Gothic style with surrealist elements.
This sense of entertainment from industrial architecture was continued by sculptor Bob Cassilly in St Louis, USA who decided to build Cementland. Cassilly purchased the former plant and slowly assembled his clinker-themed version of Disneyland. Unfortunately he died in 2001 following an accident with a bulldozer at the site before he finished.
More and more former cement plants will be seeking new purposes as Europe rationalises its cement industries and excess capacity is eliminated. China too faces similar issues as it consolidates its industry. Most will probably lie fallow before eventually being knocked down and then turned into something following the cheapest economic path forward. With luck though, some will follow the dreams of Zedfactory and people like Ricardo Bofill and Bob Cassilly.
Sri Lanka: Lafarge Mahaweli Cement is on schedule with its Savi Piyasa housing programme and has now partnered with nine leading brands in the construction sector and two commercial banks to add value to its technical assistance scheme for individual homebuilders.
Under its 'Building Better Cities' theme, Lafarge has helped many families around the world to have better, affordable housing facilities and hopes to provide decent housing to two million people worldwide by 2020.
In Sri Lanka, Lafarge has already provided architectural assistance to 220 families in the Western and Northern Province. With the intention of providing even better options for its Savi Piyasa clients, Lafarge has now entered into partnerships with several leading brands, enabling it to receive special discounts on a large variety of building materials such as steel, paints, glass, PVC pipes, etc. Moreover, Lafarge has tied up with commercial banks and microfinance institutions to provide their customers with easy access to loan facilities.
"We started this programme a year ago and we have been getting a lot of positive feedback. A package integrating architectural assistance, special discounts and financial facility has not been offered in Sri Lanka before, so I am confident that the individual homebuilders in the country will find interest in this turnkey solution," said Lafarge Mahaweli Cement managing director Anurag Kak.