BRANZ gives thumbs up to revolutionary ground engineering solution

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Uretek Ground Engineering, the company offering Canterbury home owners an alternative remedial solution for earthquake-damaged properties, has attained a highly regarded BRANZ Appraisal.

BRANZ says Uretek’s resin injection process, which lifts and re-levels buildings by filling in-ground voids and supporting collapsed ground, is “fit for purpose” in New Zealand.

Uretek business manager marketing Colleen McMahon says although Uretek’s range of patented technologies has been applied to great effect during earthquake damage repair work in Japan and Turkey, it was important for the company to get an independent assessment of its product within the local New Zealand market.

“A BRANZ Appraisal provides home owners with the reassurance and confidence that our product meets performance standards,” Ms McMahon says.

Uretek Christchurch project manager Phil Johnston says Uretek’s resin injection process is like keyhole surgery, the resins being pumped into the ground through 6mm to 16mm diameter holes, with minimal disruption to the home owner and surrounding environment.

“The expanding engineered structural resins are injected into the ground under minimal pressure. The components react once they make contact under the building, floor or pavement and, exerting as much pressure as 40 tonnes per square metre to fill cavities, compact the ground and stabilise a structure to lift walls, floors and pavements.

Lasers are used to monitor and accurately control the degree of building re-levelling and correction to the nearest millimetre.”

Mr Johnston says the greatest advantage with Uretek’s methods is that paths and gardens are not dug up, there is no excavation, no water and no mess for the home owner. The product is also non-toxic, inert and environmentally friendly.

In its appraisal of the product, BRANZ said it looked at:

the remedial use of the Uretek method in ground replacement, correcting erosion and loss of support immediately below concrete floors and pavements,

correcting subsidence by lifting and squaring up buildings and re-levelling floors, and

ground compaction, increasing the bearing capacity of identified weak and/or collapsed ground at depth.

BRANZ says it took some months to complete the appraisal as the product was “out of left field”.

“It was a structural remedial product rather than a building product, which meant there was no specific standard to which it must comply,” BRANZ technical manager Mike Reed says.

“However, BRANZ put it through its rigorous technical assessment process, and it was found to be a good product which complied with our standards.”

Uretek has been operating a mobile injection vehicle throughout New Zealand for the past eight years from its Auckland office, while a second rig has been based in Christchurch since October 2010.

Fast, convenient alternative

The company has increased its presence in Christchurch, and is gearing up to mobilise additional rigs following last year’s earthquake, to meet the growing needs of the local community for remediation of residential and commercial/industrial buildings, along with the remediation of bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Mr Johnstone says the system is a fast, convenient alternative to the old-fashioned underpinning and jacking methods.

“Most residential work is completed within a couple of days, and there are big cost savings for home owners.”

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