Ken HowesAssociate Director
Ken Howes has been involved in the formulation, production, marketing and development of advanced concrete admixtures for over 45 years. After initial involvement running a London-based ready-mix company back in the early 1970’s, Ken’s keen interest in the rapidly emerging use of admixtures to solve problems and enhance concrete performance prompted him to move into the admixture industry and he joined the (then) Unilever Company, Crosfields which was responsible for the Cormix Range of admixtures and additives. After major successes in the mid 70’s in the UK, Ken was appointed Manager of the newly formed Cormix Middle East venture and lived and worked in Dammam, Saudi Arabia from 1977 – 1981 where he gained a great deal of experience in dealing with the many special difficulties involved in producing quality concrete in hot climates. One of Ken’s particular areas of interest was the need to address what he considered the fundamental weakness in all concrete, even of the highest quality, and that is its ability to readily absorb water and the multitude of problems this caused with long term durability and service life limited performance of marine structures and basements. On leaving Saudi Arabia, Ken continued to work with Cormix in new ventures in Oman and Nigeria but in 1981 was introduced to what he considers as the most fascinating and logical advancement ever made in the world of concrete admixtures; TRULY WATERPROOF concrete which could be used to build basements, roofs, tunnels, marine structures and the like WITHOUT membranes, surface coatings, specialised reinforcement and which, already at that time, had amassed an undeniable 20 years + track-record of successful use to prevent chloride and sulphate attack in reinforced concrete. Ken joined CEMENTAID in 1983 and was the founder member of the Cementaid UK Company. He was appointed as Director of the newly formed, Dubai-based, Cementaid Middle East (FZE) in 2016 Ken has been a regular contributor and speaker at literally hundreds of Technical Seminars throughout the UK, in Europe, Canada and the USA during his 36 years of service with Cementaid, including the Concrete Society, the Cement Admixtures Association, the Institution of Structural Engineers and more recently, to ACI Chapters in Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait (where HPI concrete has gained major acceptance in substantial infrastructure projects). Ken’s message is refreshingly simple. Whilst performance based specifications are seen as an essential move in the right direction, allowing flexibility and ‘best-fit’ solutions to provide client’s requirements, there is a need for caution on the reliance of laboratory derived test data or computer derived service life predictions. His presentation centres on ‘why’ concrete absorbs and transmits water and any dissolved salts, on how this fundamental weakness can be avoided and, most importantly, demonstrate the ONLY REALLY RELEVANT TEST – the proven test of REAL STRUCTURES over REAL TIME in some of the harshest conditions imaginable.