Joint approach targets water conservation

Dungiven building industry business, Cross Concrete, and Rainvault in Draperstown are working together on the manufacture and marketing of a unique system for harvesting and conserving rainwater.

Both companies are being encouraged and assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to harness the potential of the innovative system, particularly in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

The Rainvault system is unique in that it has an advanced control/monitoring system and automatic control panel.  In addition, where a mains water supply is available, the system automatically switches over to it, until the required maintenance has been carried out. The system has already been installed in the industrial sector in high profile companies such as Tobermore Concrete.

Cross Concrete and Rainvault also took part in the Invest NI ‘Construct for Growth’ programme to help construction companies in the North West explore new opportunities from sustainable products.

The eco-industry initiative was announced by Dr Ambrose McCloskey, Cross Concrete Managing Director, and welcomed by Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office in Londonderry.

Cross Concrete has developed and is manufacturing a novel water storage tank to complement Rainvault’s water harvesting system that features an innovative rainwater purification system. This enables rainwater to be used for drinking. Invest NI is assisting Cross Concrete to produce and market the new system, as well as its other products and services.

Dr McCloskey said: “The new precast concrete system for conserving rainwater is the outcome of a decision to develop our product range to include underground liquid storage tanks. Our research identified a clear market opportunity from the growing trend towards water conservation.

“Rainwater is being seen increasingly as an important natural resource. We were aware of the work being carried out by Rainvault on the development of such a system and of its need for concrete tanks. Pooling our expertise made good business sense.

“Invest NI helped us to develop the tank for Rainvault through the Product and Process Development scheme. The main objective was to design and build a mould and production facility to allow low labour input. The project focused on innovation in that it increased our capability through the design and delivery of complex concrete mixes. We see a very significant market opportunity for the new eco-product.”

Mr Gartland said: “We are keen to encourage local companies to collaborate, where practicable, on innovative products for markets outside Northern Ireland. The development of this new product by Cross Concrete fits with the strategic intent of the business in that it leverages the in-house capability of design and aligns it with a key market driver of ‘sustainable builds’.

“As demonstrated by our highly successful ‘Construct for Growth’ programme, there is an increasing focus on sustainable building products and in reducing the running costs of buildings.  Thus rainwater harvesting products are becoming evermore popular, with an increasing market size across the UK and Ireland.  By 2016, all new dwellings must be Zero Carbon, and new products like this system will be part of the solution.

“Sustainability is becoming an important business driver. Cross Concrete and Rainvault are now well-placed to harness the potential of this developing market,” he added.

Cross Concrete was established in 2005 and has extensive expertise and experience in precast concrete flooring and stairs for customers in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It also produces agricultural flooring.

The business is headquartered in Dungiven and has an extensive 10 acre manufacturing facility at Drumahoe. The company has recently invested over £800,000 in a new factory and machinery for pre-stressed products, to allow it to capture the growing demand for its expertise in Scotland and England.