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Highland House, Perth

Flexcrete products can truly enhance the appearance of buildings beyond all recognition and this was certainly the case with Highland House, a striking three-storey office and retail building in the industrial district of Perth, Scotland.

Designed in a distinctive art deco style, the exterior of Highland House had deteriorated over the years and was in need of repair and decoration. Concrete had spalled as a result of carbonation and water ingress and Property Surveyors James Barr sought to improve the external appearance of the building in a bid to improve letting returns and provide long-term protection to the reinforced concrete. The building is managed by Saltire Property Management Limited on behalf of owners Hansteen Property Investments Limited.

Together, Flexcrete Technologies Limited, SIG Construction Accessories Eurocentral Branch, Motherwell and structural repair and refurbishment contractor Concrete Repairs Limited (CRL) devised an effective, single source solution that has ensured the building will remain protected against the elements for many years, whilst vastly improving the appearance of the building façade.

CRL first treated the reinforcing steel with Flexcrete Steel Reinforcement Protector 841, a corrosion preventative, flexible coating designed to protect steel reinforcement prior to the application of Flexcrete repair mortars. Easily and rapidly applied by brush, it protects the steel from aggressive acid gases, moisture and chlorides, and also passivates the steel surface chemically to prevent further rust formation.

Cosmetic repairs were then carried out with Flexcrete Monolite – a lightweight, shrinkage compensated, polymer modified repair mortar which enables high build trowel applications of up to 100mm in vertical, horizontal and overhead situations. Supplied as a single component product, it only requires the addition of clean water on-site.

Structural repairs were undertaken with Flexcrete Monomix – a quick hardening, high strength, single component, waterproof repair mortar which enables the rapid rendering and re-profiling of substrates. Like Monolite, it is easily trowellable and achieves a high bond strength exceeding the tensile strength of concrete. Its dense matrix offers lows permeability to water, even at 10 bar pressure, and very high diffusion resistance to acid gases and chloride ions.

Both Monolite and Monomix are CE marked in accordance with BS EN 1504, the pan European standard for concrete repair, and could be applied to saturated concrete without the need for a primer, thus proving extremely economical. Once this reinstatement work was carried out, the whole façade was decorated and protected with Flexcrete Monodex Smooth, a high performance, breathable, water-based, anti-carbonation coating.

Monodex Smooth provides high diffusion resistance to carbon dioxide, offering complete protection from the effects of carbonation and water ingress, yet allows damp substrates to breathe without blistering or weakening of adhesion. It is ultra-fast drying, enabling two coat applications on the same day, and due to its elastomeric properties, facilitates substrate movement and bridging of hairline cracks. It has outstanding durability, with a design life of at least 15 years, and constantly maintains an attractive appearance as an encapsulated in-film biocide inhibits the growth of mould, mildew and lichens.

Available in a range of attractive colours, white was chosen for Highland House. Importantly for this project, Monodex Smooth has a high colour pigment concentration and is able to obliterate strong underlying colours. Parts of the building were previously painted in a burgundy colour and Monodex Smooth was applied without any hint of the dark underlying colour showing through.

Gordan Hart from SIG Construction Accessories Eurocentral Branch, Motherwell said: “Highland House is really a one of a kind building and it was great to work on a project to restore such a key landmark in Perth.”