Changing The Pavement Paradigm

Cambodia has abundant concrete pavements whose poor maintenance and appearance impacts not only the surrounding premises and properties but also absorb a huge amount of heat, making for harsh vicinities. However, the pavement paradigm is now changing thanks to the availability in Cambodia of the globally–popular Interlocking Block pavements.

Interlocking Block (ILB) pavements support load by interlocking each block through a combination of sand, block and edged stone. Though the concept is new in Cambodia, It is commonly used in Germany from where it originates, as well countries across Asia, the United States and Europe. Its popularity is based on its pleasant appearance, affordable cost, durability, quality and ability to carry heavy loads.

ILB pavements can be applied to homes, villas, residential properties, commercial properties and road pavements as well as large projects like container yards and airport aprons. It can also be used for public city street pavements because its life cycle cost is lower than asphalt pavements.

In Cambodia, these blocks have been available via Omura Concrete Co. Ltd since 2015 when the company established a factory in Kandal province with a production capacity of 80 tons per day.

Hiroya Kon, Sales Manager of Omura Concrete Co., ltd, said ILB pavements differ from concrete pavements, ceramic tiles and other pavement materials in their good appearance, competitive cost, durability and heavy load capacity.

He said that in Japan, 90 percent of interlocking pavement roads have been used without any problems 30 years after installation.

“Firstly, the appearance is very good; the pavement makes the cities and towns look bright and definitely grows high real estate values. Secondly, it will bear up in very heavy places like container yards and airport aprons. Because block and block combine by sand it makes it very strong by interlocking,” he said.

Although the blocks are made in Cambodia, he said the high quality production machinery is imported from Japan. “So we think that we can supply them with great quality and a reasonable price. We believe Cambodian people will use interlocking pavers and contribute to a beautiful city.”

While Mr. Hiroya Kon has also seen some block pavements being supplied in Cambodia, he stressed they are just imitation versions from overseas. He explained that most architects, engineers and installers don’t understand the basic and fundamental knowledge of interlocking pavements.

One of the big problems he has noticed with pavements in Cambodia is “overload”. “The damage to roads is proportional to the fourth root. So if the load is twice what is should be, the damage done is multiplied by 16 times. So overload is one of the big problems of the roads in Cambodia.”

He recommends that interlocking block pavements should be applied to town and city pavements in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang, asserting that it will contribute to increasing the property values inside the city.