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Durban Heights Reservoir 3

05 February 2021

Durban Heights Reservoir 3 is a 350ml reservoir situated in the suburb of Reservoir Hills, Kwa-Zulu Natal. Constructed in 1971, it is one of the biggest concrete reservoirs in Southern Africa.  It supplies potable water to over five hundred thousand people in Durban and the surrounding area.  The reservoir design is unique as it has a single support in the middle and the roof is shaped like a circus tent.  The roof is made up of one hundred and twenty steel post-stressed cables that radiate from the centre roof support to the outer base support.

In 2003 a full diagnostic survey of the concrete roof panels was done. A variety of issues were identified but of interest was the existence of a micro-climate within the reservoir. This micro-climate with wet dry cycles creates a favorable environment for contaminants to be absorbed into the reinforced concrete panels causing corrosion of the reinforcing.  

Based on the original diagnostic survey, rehabilitation proposals and the subsequent product trials, Sika solutions and innovative products were deemed the best performing repair system for this project. Umgeni Water appointed Royal HaskoningDHV to take on this rehabilitation project as the project engineer, and Sika products were specified on the tender, Smart Civils Construction (Pty) Ltd was the specialized civil contractor.

As the work was being done in an operational reservoir the product choice was paramount to health and safety in ensuring they posed no risk of water contamination. The project’s other challenges were identifying alternative methods of gaining access to the roof structure and shortening the repair time. Smart Civils developed an inventive idea where access to the roof was provided by a design innovation. This involved erecting 550 tonnes of scaffolding, in a bird-cage configuration, from the floor to just under the soffit. The scaffolding would give the contractor access to a quarter of the roof at any given time, before being dismantled and re-erected as the works progressed.

To fulfil the intended task a decision was made to use SikaTop® Armatec®-110 EpoCem® as the primary rebar protective coating for the concrete repair to protect the reinforcing of steel and inhibit corrosion.  

Due to the difficult conditions, Sika MonoTop®-610 was used as a primer to the concrete substrate. The decision to use Sika MonoTop®-412 NFG as a repair mortar was because of its unique properties as an excellent wet spray mortar.

This application method improved the compaction of repair mortar and increased the application rate of the product. Sika MonoTop®-412 NFG also differentiates itself as a 1-component, polymer modified, fibre reinforced, low shrinkage structural repair mortar with Sika’s world-renowned Sika® FerroGard®-903 Plus corrosion inhibitor. That is a 3-in-1 advanced product solution.

Sika® FerroGard®-903 Plus innovative technology delays the start of corrosion and reduces the corrosion rate when it occurs. It also increases the service life of a reinforced concrete structure

Sika’s carbon fibre fabric impregnated with a structural epoxy resin, SikaWrap®-230C was used, due to the age of the structure and minimal concrete cover.

The perfect product for refilling the ducts – Sika® Injection-307. Sika® Injection-307 is a low viscosity elastic polyacrylic injection resin that can be adjusted to set at a pre-determined time, forming a passivating permanently elastic matrix.

Two protective coating systems were applied to the panels.

Sika® FerroGard®-903 Plus, this corrosion inhibitor penetrates down to rebar level over time and forms a protective monomolecular layer on the surface of the reinforcing steel.

The final protective coating in the solution is the Sikagard®-705 L. A single component, low viscosity, solvent free and reactive impregnation product for concrete and cementitious substrates based on silane. Its unique properties allow moisture vapour to escape from the concrete panels, ensuring that they stay dry and thus preventing further ingress of contaminants.

Other Sika systems used on site was Sika® Primer-3 N and Sikaflex® PRO-3 i-cure, a one part, moisture curing elastic joint sealant with high mechanical resistance used to seal the expansion joints of the soffit.Sikadur®-43 ZA is a solvent-free, three-component, repair and filling mortar used to do roof repairs next to the cable ducts.

Smart Civils generated 100 local jobs for the duration of 14 months in the Reservoir Hills community. The use of highly durable and high performing Sika products in the refurbishment of this reservoir will have lessened the future refurbishment cycles, saving on material consumption and time throughout the structure’s lifespan. Sika was honoured to be a part of such a challenging and rewarding project.

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