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EP_19.jpg July/August 2005
Cover Story
Interview
Up to Speed
A Better Future
Betonac
Bovis Homes
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ROAD TO SUCCESS
In Belgium, Betonac is a major player in civil engineering and road
construction, predominantly working in the public sector.

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04.jpg Through many years of experience in undertaking major projects in areas including earthworks, sewerage, concrete and asphalt highways, bridges, viaducts, tunnels, hydraulic engineering, underground railways, and buildings, Betonac has become recognised as a contractor of the highest ability.

Impressive know-how in a variety of areas, competent and experienced experts, and an ultra-modern network combine for an integrated policy towards a construction project: from concept to inspection of the delivered finished product.

It all began for the business in 1910, when a small concrete company was set up in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. In 1923, the company’s activities were expanded to public works, and in 1944 it subsequently became PVBA Betonac: General Building and Concrete Construction Company.

Further changes came post-war when Betonac NV was established in 1949. The huge growth of the company took place at the beginning of the sixties when Betonac set to work on laying carriageways and specific motorways. Since then Betonac has continuously diversified into all construction tasks in the public sector and today the business boasts an annual turnover of around 100 million euros.

Betonac’s core activity is road construction and the company is traditionally known as a motorway builder. A mark of its expertise in this area is that Betonac has undertaken the greatest area of concrete road surface in Belgium over the past 25 years. In all, 2.8 million m sq of carriageway concrete has been laid by the company, of which the vast majority is thoroughly reinforced carriageway concrete.

Over the years, Betonac has also specialised in asphalt surfacing. These surfaces are always laid using the company’s own resources including staff and equipment, with the support of an in-house laboratory, maintenance department, concrete production unit and asphalt plant. In order to lay the continuous carriageway concrete surfacing, Betonac has an ultra-modern slipform paver machine.

Major projects carried out by Betonac in this sector include work on the E5 (now E411) Brussels to Luxembourg motorway and the E40/A10 Groot-Biigaarden to Affligem motorway. This second project, which was completed in October 2003, was particularly notable as it was carried out in 122 days instead of the 150 that was laid down in the original specifications.

The order was to lay durable surfacing for the carriageway, which would require practically no maintenance for a minimum of 40 years. The carriageway surface was renewed using an inlay in noise-reducing and reinforced concrete. In so doing, the carriageway was structurally reinforced, which has a beneficial effect on traffic safety, driving comfort and road noise. To improve the safety of road-users, the central reservation was also completely renovated, using a central concrete impact strip with a height of one metre. As a result, the chance of dazzling, or getting onto the other carriageway is significantly reduced.

Two mobile concrete plants, set up on the site, ensured the production of 10,000 m sq of reinforced carriageway concrete per day. A large slipform paver (Gomaco type GHP 2800) and a small slipform paver (Gomaco type Commander III) were used to complete the work in this short completion deadline.

Civil engineering is another area of expertise for Betonac and over many years the company has specialised in implementing an array of civil engineering works and projects.

Betonac has undertaken large infrastructure works for a variety of industry sectors and clients, including the railway network and the extension of the high speed rail link, the installation of the water purification network, the construction of the Liefkenshoektunnel, and the construction of sound-damping walls.

Concrete production represents Betonac’s third area of specialisation and its continuity is ensured by various mobile concrete plants, which are usually set-up near to each individual project.

These plants work in accordance with the BENOR certification and their capacity varies from 60 to 120 m3 concrete per hour. In addition, they are equipped with dust filters on the silos and mixers. All concrete plants are computer-controlled so that the traceability of the data (such as added quantities and duration of mixture) is guaranteed, while in-house quality control by a fully-equipped laboratory ensures the final quality of the concrete.

Across all areas of its operations, Betonac holds quality and safety in high regard with evidence of this commitment coming in the shape of ISO 9001 and VCA accreditation. This double certification is an incentive for the business to continually investigate how it can further improve processes. So, even in the future, Betonac will be able to meet the strictest needs of customers and local authorities.

The company has been certified to ISO 9001 since 1995 and this certificate covers the design and construction of motorways, bridges, railway work, tunnels, industrial buildings, water purification plants, and hydraulic engineering works. Internal audits are conducted by trained employees on a regular basis to check the ISO 9001 system, and twice a year, an audit is also conducted by an external body (Lloyd’s Register) on the working of this system.

VCA meanwhile is a versatile and complete program in which service companies are able to be objectively and structurally, tested and certified on their health, safety and environment management system.

To support quality and safety, Betonac has its own laboratory, a topography department, a study department and an Internal Department for Prevention and Protection. An entire team of laboratory technicians is available within Betonac, and provides a supporting function at invitations to tender, when purchasing products, in the production of concrete and asphalt and when undertaking work.

In addition, Betonac has at its disposal an in-house design office, which incorporates a team of competent engineers and draughtsmen. This range of in-house resources combined with the company’s expertise in civil engineering and road construction should help Betonac build on its excellent position in the marketplace.  CT-E

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