With no cameras, microphones, or bosses around, professionals sometimes disclose startling truths, like the other day up on my breezy oceanfront condo balcony undergoing yet another restoration.
I had invited the well-respected construction engineer to check out my balcony currently undergoing that periodic noisy, messy process and asked if she knows a company called Basanite Inc. that makes a rust-proof rebar.
“Yes,” she said, adding “they could put me out of business.” I wasn’t sure if she was serious or kidding. She quickly added their rebar made from basalt fiber would be more appropriate for new construction, not condos like mine already interlaced with steel rebar . . . the kind that continually rusts.
The company, Basanite (OTCQB:BASA), is the only company in America that manufactures a product called BasaFlex made from volcanic rock engineered to last 100 years. It never rusts, nor requires costly, long-term maintenance like the steel rebar in condos like mine under constant assault by salt air from the ocean.
Unlike steel, BasaFlex is impervious to attacks from alkali, chemicals or saltwater, weighs much less than steel and last many times longer. “Wow!” I thought. Could this be the holy grail for construction by the sea?
This surprisingly frank engineer who works with a highly respected Florida construction company told me Basanite’s product would seriously hurt her balcony restoration business. Really? Maybe terrible for her, but relief for me!
She alluded to many construction companies living high on the hog of periodic oceanfront condo balcony restorations occurring every few years in South Florida at great cost and inconvenience to condo dwellers forever battling rust.
She said if construction companies used Basanite’s impervious, amazingly durable, rust-proof rebar, she’d undoubtedly lose her job and her employer might go out of business. Without rusting steel rebar causing cement cracking around balconies, condos would need them far less often. Wouldn’t that be too bad!
I couldn’t help thinking that If condo boards realized this, they would insist on contractors using Basanite’s rust-proof rebar. Would it not drastically reduce the number of restorations, thus saving residents in oceanfront condos cost and inconvenience? All those interruptive restorations of balconies and other parts of condos under constant attack from salt air blowing continuously off the ocean.
So, could Basanite be a panacea for thousands of condo dwellers in oceanfront towers from Jupiter to Miami? Could they avoid having their steel rebar endlessly rusting, requiring periodic, expensive, and enormously inconvenient and noisy restoration?
Wouldn’t applying, or better yet building from the start with, a rust-proof rebar make infrastructure sense? Wouldn’t it help avert another disaster such as the condo collapse in Surfside Florida that killed 98 people last June?
Following our balcony chat I started doing some research on Basanite and the environmentally friendly, high-performance composite construction materials it manufactures from basalt fiber and basalt fiber reinforced polymer.
Recently the company announced its proprietary BasaFlex™ and BasaMesh™ reinforcement products have been approved by the City of Pompano Beach for use in the city’s subterranean stormwater and wastewater projects.
Since the project in Pompano includes buried structures exposed to saltwater intrusion, imagine how resistant their product must be to rust and corrosion.
So why aren’t more construction companies using BasaFlex? Or is there much more money in rust?
So, for some construction companies in Florida, I guess rust is like gold!
Besides an imaginative, rust-proof blogger, Tom Madden is a former journalist and an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available in March on Amazon. He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.