We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Thu 1 Jan 1970 12:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Buying time

As projects are put on hold, it isn’t just contractors who are suffering. Building materials are left on site to deal with the summer’s extreme heat. Usama Jacir explains how a little investment could protect those materials from corrosion until projects get back on track.

Buying time

As projects are put on hold, it isn’t just contractors who are suffering. Building materials are left on site to deal with the summer’s extreme heat. Usama Jacir explains how a little investment could protect those materials from corrosion until projects get back on track.

Where do you operate?

We operate in the Middle East. We first set up the company in Jordan and established the company in Dubai three years ago to serve the Gulf countries. What products and technologies do you offer?

The company is centred on solving corrosion problems and offer different methods of protection. We look for the best product to solve that problem. We offer protective coatings and we have corrosion inhibitors. Also, in cases where carbon steel rusts we can replace it with other materials like stainless steel.

Corrosion is one of the biggest issues in the Middle East...

It is one of the most corrosive environments in the world because of the salt high levels in the sea and in the ground. High temperatures and humidity also cause concrete to crack and steel to corrode.

How well do your protective coatings protect a building from corrosion?

Protective coatings are used on different components of the building and can protect steel for up to 25 or 50 years. It really depends on what we are protecting and in what environment it is as every case is unique. The structure we protect has to be considered and we come up with an appropriate method. There are those that protect concrete structures and there are those that protect the steel structures. For the protection of concrete structures, the primary method or mechanism of protection provides a barrier against water and aggressive chlorides. Also, in terms of concrete, all our coatings have properties that make them elastomeric. If the concrete substrate cracks, which is unavoidable, they will bridge that crack. For the protection of steel, we use zinc with the coatings, which provides protection to the steel. When zinc comes into contact with steel it will sacrifice itself by corroding and, by doing so, protecting the steel.

What about your corrosion inhibitors?

These are chemicals that we introduce into the concrete by adding them into the material during construction. The product name is Migrating Corrosion Inhibitors. The inhibitors migrate towards the steel and inhibit the corrosion. Until chlorides are built up to a very high concentration, the rebar will be protected. This has been the most successful part of our business.

How do you compare to other companies offering similar corrosion inhibitors and protective coatings?

What we work to do is evaluate the service life and cost. We also go through the different methods of protection and we give our customers software to compare and evaluate those methods, costs of implementation and service-life. The elastomeric property of our products is not an innovation as many similar products exist on the market. However, most of these products were developed in Europe where carbonation (exposure to carbon oxides and moisture) is the concern. Unfortunately, our market has adopted these specifications and most engineers ask for what’s known as ‘anti-carbonation coatings’ for external structures, when the risk of carbonation in our environment is negligible compared to the risk of chloride attack. This is why United Corrosion Technologies identified this misconception and has developed a protective coating for concrete that is specifically designed for our environment where salt levels and temperatures are high. You have produced a new line of products. Do you think it was the right time to do so, given the current market?

The product that we are producing is actually a result of the slowdown of construction. To offer corrosion solutions we always have to look out for corrosion problems. During this time, many projects are being put on hold and steel is left exposed on site. Steel is not going to wait for money to be put back into a project. So, we researched this issue and we came up with solutions that would economically protect the rebar left on site until the day comes when the projects start up again. If the products are not used and the project is resumed then developers will have issues with their steel.

Usama Jacir is co-founder and managing partner of United Corrosion Technologies (UCT). Usama played an active role in developing and adopting the business plan for UCT, which was established in Jordan in 2005. Two years later, he assumed the role of Managing Partner for the GCC and set out to establish UCT in Dubai. Prior to his role at UCT, Usama worked at United Chemical Company, a manufacturer of protective coating in Jordan.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.