When standing next to the Jasmyn Farm Products building it's not hard to believe that this is not only the biggest single-framed thatched roof in Africa, but in the entire Southern Hemisphere as well. This iconic building in Hartbeespoort, North West, is well known to all who have paid this town a visit, with its impressive thatch roof and large windmill – it’s impossible to miss the one and only Jasmyn!
Owned by the Erasmus family, Jasmyn opened its doors in 2003 and has since become an integral part of the community. With a business motto of making decisions as a family unit, the big decision regarding the thatch roof meant the whole family had to come together and look for possible solutions to the problems they faced.
Cemcrete was approached at the beginning of 2021 by Des (2nd Generation owner of Jasmyn), who found our product, ThatchCrete, while doing research for a low-maintenance option for thatch roofing. Other options such as roof tiles and artificial thatch grass were also considered, but Des liked the fact that ThatchCrete could be applied over the existing thatch and would not overly change the aesthetics of the roof. Being a fresh farm produce market, the look and feel of Jasmyn has always been complimented by the thatch roof; it was therefore very important to the owner to preserve the roof’s appearance as much as possible. ThatchCrete seemed like the perfect solution.
This roof is not only extremely large but also plays a very important role in temperature control without the use of air-conditioning; vital for the fresh produce Jasmyn makes and sells onsite. Des is a qualified Structural Engineer, and in his younger days designed the very structure that this giant thatch roof rests on. The striking hexagonal design of the roof was inspired by the shape of a beehive. This specific layout reduces direct heat exposure, ensuring that the roof heats up portion by portion, and not all at one time.
Over the course of the subsequent year an immense amount of planning, site visits, costing, and sampling was done to guarantee that every piece of the thatch roof's detailing was taken into consideration. Very important factors that had to be considered were, firstly, to not disturb the clientele while the application was taking place, and, even more importantly, the safety of the applicators who were going to apply the ThatchCrete; the application was to take place an impressive 18 metres above ground, at a pitch of 50 degrees (standard roofs usually have a pitch between 14.04 degrees and 36.37).
In October 2022, hard work and dedication paid off, and Cemcrete was called upon to do a 200m² sample area to determine the specification for the remaining 3500m² of the thatch roof. One of Cemcrete's long-standing and loyal clients, ColourCrete Projects, was approached to quote and facilitate the application of this sample area, and afterwards the remaining 3500m² if we were awarded the project. Cemcrete made use of this opportunity to provide the necessary onsite training to ColourCrete Projects. The team also had to undergo extensive harnessing and safety training, as most of the application would require them to apply the product while defying gravity. This project was certainly not for the faint of heart.
The project was finally handed over at the beginning of 2023, with incredible end results in tow. At the final inspection site meeting, with the client, architects, applicators and Cemcrete all on site together one last time, there was a general feeling of elation of a “job well done”. All parties involved can testify to the fact that this project has set a new benchmark, and will be the topic of many conversations to come…
View the full gallery of this impressive project here