Ancon Building Products has won a Queen’s Award for Innovation for its lockable dowel system used in post-tensioned concrete buildings.
The component accelerates the speed of construction, reduces build costs, simplifies concrete design, improves aesthetics and enhances on-site safety.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are presented annually for outstanding achievements in the categories of Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development.
Post-tensioned concrete is used to create long column-free floor spans in multi-storey buildings. During construction, one-metre wide ‘pour strips’ were traditionally left between adjoining concrete slabs to allow for concrete shrinkage. Once the slabs had stabilised, the pour strips were filled with concrete to seal the gap – sometimes up to 12 weeks after the slabs were first poured. In the meantime, the gaping pour strips would present a trip hazard for workers and the two unconnected slabs must be supported from below, restricting further work on site.
The invention of the lockable dowel simply eliminated the need for pour strips overnight, eradicating sites of all associated delays and obstructions. The Ancon dowel is used to transfer load and accommodate concrete shrinkage at a temporary joint in the concrete floor. No additional supports are required, meaning the area is now safe, uncluttered and accessible to all construction trades. When the concrete movement has stabilised, the dowel bar is mechanically locked to prevent further movement, providing continuity in the structure without any construction delays.
Ancon marketing manager, Annabelle Wilson, said: “The lockable dowel is so simple and effective. Reducing a build programme by several months, combined with safety and sustainability benefits, makes for a compelling proposition.”