Concrete block paving provides a hard surface which is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable to walk on, trafficable, extremely durable and easy to maintain. Paving blocks are fully engineered products, manufactured in factory conditions, ensuring consistency and accuracy. Laid with an edge restraint over a granular bedding course, individual blocks interlock to act compositely which can distribute large point loads evenly.
They are suitable for pedestrian areas, driveways, or heavily trafficked areas such as container ports and aircraft hard-standing. Proprietary drainage channels may be incorporated. Designers can use changes in the colour, texture and shape to distinguish roads from footways, parking bays and public space from private space. Concrete block paving can be put into use immediately after laying and requires only minimal maintenance. Mechanical installation techniques allow large areas to be laid with a minimum of manpower, saving both time and energy.
Concrete block paving offers outstanding strength and durability and is resistant to most chemicals. Blocks are routinely tested for parameters such as splitting strength and weathering, abrasion and slip/skid resistance, to ensure conformity with the requirements of BS EN 1338: 2003, Concrete Paving Blocks - Requirements and Test Methods. This offers specifiers and suppliers maximum confidence in the wide range of products available on the market.
Block paving is suitable for a range of applications from ultra-heavy duty areas, such as industrial units, container stacking yards and airport pavements, to lightly trafficked residential areas and hard landscaping projects. Block paving can also be used in conjunction with precast concrete flags, with coordinating sizes, to give variety combined with consistent surface characteristics.
Worn out road surfaces and other areas such as aircraft aprons, industrial hard-standings and car parks can be strengthened and reconditioned by an overlay of concrete block paving on a sand laying course. The new wearing surface uses the old pavement as the base course - providing it is structurally sound. This cost saving rehabilitation technique can be completed in sections with minimal disruption and has led to it being adopted extensively by airport operators such as BAA.
Reinstatement and recycling
Block paving allows sectional removal and reinstatement of hardstanding areas using the original materials and blocks, without leaving behind any evidence of repair. The ability to recycle concrete paving blocks contributes further to its impressive environmental credentials.
Concrete block paving is available in a constantly expanding variety of shapes, sizes, colours and finishes and can be installed in numerous bonds and laying patterns, enabling delineation of space or focus on specific features.
Paved area restrictions
From 1 October 2008 new rules apply for householders wanting to pave over their front gardens.
If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres, planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not control rainwater running off onto roads. Planning permission is not required if a new driveway uses permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.
As such, the biggest change for paved areas is where they slope towards the road. A drainage channel, or similar, will need to be incorporated next to the pavement and connected to a soakaway, whereas historically it would have been normal to merely direct water straight from the paved area into the road. This practice is no longer acceptable.
See the Government's Planning Portal or Communities and Local Government website for more information.
For more information on paving, visit the Interpave website.