Lafarge South Africa has announced the repositioning of the international Lafarge Group’s global master brand to reflect the increasing shift to urbanisation taking place throughout the world. The new brand signature ‘Building better cities’ pledges Lafarge’s commitment to help create sustainable cities and rural developments that are desirable environments for all people. The new brand signature is more than a slogan: it conveys both the force of the Group’s ambition and of its strategy. It expresses Lafarge’s vision, gives its actions both meaning and clarity, and marks its difference.

“It is our ambition to contribute to building better cities,” says Lafarge Industries and Lafarge Mining Chairman, Nonkqubela Mazwai, “The solutions we propose contribute to constructing cities that can provide everyone with decent housing, cities that are more compact, cities that are more durable, cities that are better connected, and let’s not forget – cities that are more beautiful!”concludes Mazwai.

The company is no longer only a producer of materials but also a supplier of solutions, located close to its markets and customers. “Building better cities emphasises our position as a solution provider with innovative products, the expertise and the unparalleled technical support of the Group,” says Lafarge South Africa’s Country CEO, Thierry Legrand. “By contributing towards building better cities, we will sustain growth and improve the lives of people. It gives both meaning and clarity to our actions.”

Meeting the challenges of urbanisation

Urbanisation is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. In the coming decades, cities will change substantially as population growth is anticipated to occur mostly in urban areas. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities, compared with just over 50% today, resulting in two billion more city-dwellers.

To cope with this burgeoning urban landscape, development at an unprecedented scale will be a major challenge for the whole construction industry, including in South Africa where the urbanisation trend has been accelerated. More and more of our people are migrating to towns and cities, requiring housing, hospitals, schools and offices, together with the associated infrastructure to connect and service cities, such as roads, airports, water and power utilities.

As a world leader in building materials, the Lafarge Group, together with its partners, will be a major contributor to the creation of enhanced urban environments.  Lafarge South Africa is in a position to provide solutions for more housing in cities, more compact cities, more durable cities, better connected cities, and more beautiful cities. A strong presence in all its construction related business lines: cement, aggregates, readymix and plasterboard will accelerate this. This same expertise developed for cities, will also continue to improve development of South Africa’s rural towns and villages.

Building better cities

The Happy Valley housing development in Cape Town is a typical example of South Africa’s drive to provide more housing in cities. The structural frames for 1200 affordable houses are being built using Lafarge readymix concrete, while the remainder of the structure is plastered brick. Lafarge South Africa’s readymix team provided readymix mortar and plaster as the highly successful quality solution.

To help create more beautiful cities, Lafarge South Africa works closely with architects, specifiers, contractors and all stakeholders in the construction chain. Lafarge AgiliaVertical readymix concrete recently provided the aesthetic and architectural solution for the façade of the stunning Podium landmark building in Menlyn, Pretoria.

More durable cities require more demanding criteria for construction involving innovative ‘green’ materials that ensure strength and lower maintenance, while taking full account of environmental concerns over the structure’s life cycle. Lafarge South Africa supplied various grades of innovative lower carbon footprint readymix concretes for the construction of Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium, a project for posterity.

With the dramatic escalation in urbanisation, efficient storm water management is an increasing challenge to reduce the risk of flash flooding and sustain natural water cycles. Lafarge recently introduced the highly acclaimed Hydromedia, a new fast draining concrete pavement solution in South Africa. This innovative productprovides rapid storm water removal from streets, parking surfaces, driveways and walkways.

Innovation at the heart of the business

Innovation is at the heart of the Lafarge strategy and the Group dedicates more than €100 million to building material and methods research and development every year. A unique research and development centre in Lyon, France employs over 250 employees. In South Africa, the highly respected Quality Department of Southern Africa, is a SANAS accredited laboratory with all the knowledge and expertise to support innovative new solutions for our customers.

A world leader in building materials and a top-ranking player in the cement, aggregates and concrete industries, Lafarge contributes to the construction of cities around the world. Its innovative solutions provide cities with more housing and making them more compact, more durable, more beautiful and better connected.

“Our commitment to Building better cities defines our clear sense of purpose,” adds Legrand. “Our brand repositioning builds on the company’s established reputation: it represents a pledge to customers that Lafarge South Africa can be relied on to help provide innovative solutions for the diverse challenges that are continually being presented by construction.”