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Concrete Canvas: Innovation From the Outset

4 min

Quadrant Transport sits down with Concrete Canvas’ Gavin Adams to learn about the company and how innovation has led to its success in rail.

Concrete Canvas provides an easy-to-use, rapidly installed, waterproof concrete layer making it ideal for a wide range of erosion control applications in rail. Offering a low-carbon, environmentally friendly concrete alternative, Concrete Canvas constantly innovate to meet the needs of the rail industry.

There is no need for plant or mixing equipment and Concrete Canvas can be installed without specialist training.

Gavin Adams, Concrete Canvas

Following our SPOTLIGHT event last month, Earthworks: Cutting Slopes and Embankments, Quadrant Transport sat down with speaker, Gavin Adams, from Concrete Canvas to learn about the innovative nature of the company and how this has boosted their success in the rail industry.

CCS25 Front – Concrete Canvas GCCMs were initially invented to provide a hard armour outer layer to the CC Shelters.

“Innovation is at the heart of Concrete Canvas,” Gavin told Tangent. From the original concept, which started at university with Concrete Canvas’ directors, Will Crawford and Peter Brewin, the pair had to make the material themselves, Gavin explained.

“Right from the very beginning that’s where the innovation has started,” he added.

Moving from their original market of humanitarian disaster relief shelters, Gavin said Concrete Canvas have “had to adapt and innovate the material we had previously to focus on the civils market.”

Following this move to the civils market the company has gone from strength to strength and now “Network Rail has long been one of our most established, if not the most established sector that we deal in,” Gavin explained.

Innovation for rail

Concrete Canvas had its first project with Network Rail back in 2009 in Chipping Sodbury. The GCCM was specified by Network Rail as a ditch lining solution and installed by Amalgamated Construction (AMCO) on a limited-access site.

This ditch ran alongside a wire fence at the top of a railway embankment, and there was no vehicle access. As a result, batched rolls of the GCCM were provided for the project, mitigating the need for plant or vehicles on site.

AMCO were able to install the 140m² of material in just one day, a considerable time-saving in comparison to traditional concreting methods such as concrete slabs, securing Concrete Canvas’ place as a Network Rail approved solution.

“Since that point, [Concrete Canvas] have put huge amounts of money, time and resources into developing that market with Network Rail,” Gavin told Tangent.

We’ve put a huge amount of effort and time into the resources we are able to provide such as in region technical sales representation, detailed installation guidance and sector-specific drawings

“We’ve put a huge amount of effort and time into the resources we are able to provide such as in region technical sales representation, detailed installation guidance and sector-specific drawings,” he added.

With about 20% of annual turnover going into R&D every year the company is always innovating and has been able to expand into having a “very good, established team” Gavin explained.

CC Illustration – A cross-section illustration of Concrete Canvas GCCMs.

Now, Concrete Canvas are “not only able to manufacture the material for projects but offer support from scheme concept, detailed design guidance, onsite support and training to a vast portfolio of case studies for the sector,” said Gavin.

The company are “constantly working with Network Rail, their framework partners and major rail infrastructure schemes such as HS2” Gavin added. Due to their innovative and wide-scale work in rail, Gavin told Tangent Concrete Canvas “can demonstrate key benefits our material can offer to the rail sector.”

Demonstrating the company’s success Concrete Canvas is “one of only a small number of external companies that have an animation specifically focusing on the installation of our material on the ‘Network Rail Info Centre Mobile App’ in the ‘How to Drainage System’” Gavin explained. This is something Concrete Canvas is proud of as anyone from Network Rail can use this app to access animations to see how to install canvas.