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Bulk vs Bucket: An Argument

Buying asphalt in bulk for reactive road repairs such as potholes can be a popular option. However, UK-based company Instarmac Group plc is offering up a smaller alternative.

Buying asphalt in bulk for reactive road repairs such as potholes can be a popular option. However, UK-based company Instarmac Group plc is offering up a smaller alternative.Buying bulk quantities of material for storage, whether it is food, clothes or construction material, is often seen as cheaper and more convenient.

Matt Kinson, Export Manager at Instarmac, however, says that when it comes to buying and storing asphalt in large quantities for reactive road repairs such as potholes, there are some notable flaws.

Most asphalt products will stay the same consistency in storage even over a long period of time. Mr. Kinson asserts that it is this exact characteristic that raises some important issues. “Asphalt, when bought in bulk, can be stored for up to two years, which is an appealing feature to many contractors and councils. However, we need to question how effective a pothole repair can be when the properties of the asphalt have not changed during this period,” he says.

He asserts that these bulk bought asphalt products stay soft, and as a result, are of poor quality and only provide a temporary repair. “In areas subject to high volumes of traffic, turning and breaking, the repair work often comes out within weeks. It’s a very false economy.”

Over the past four decades, Instarmac has changed the mindset in the market with its innovative bitumen binder asphalt product: UltraCrete Instant Road Repair.

UltraCrete Instant Road Repair is a cold lay asphalt repair solution that offers first time permanent repair for potholes. The company’s innovative product allows the repaired area to open to traffic immediately. Thanks to the flexible, physical nature of UltraCrete Instant Road Repair, the repair moves with the road surface, preventing cracking and failures. UltraCrete Instant Road Repair can be used in all weathers and climates allowing potholes to be repaired all year round.

Instant Road Repair includes fully graded interlocking aggregate as well as specially formulated bitumen, containing polymers and flexibilsers. It can be laid at a depth of 15 to 100 millimetres.

It comes in easily transportable 25-kilogram resealable buckets so when a call out to a pothole or small pavement repair does happen, the contractor can easily mobilise and complete the task quickly and efficiently.

Mr. Kinson emphasises that paying a little bit extra for permanent first time solution such as UltraCrete Instant Road Repair outweighs the pros of purchasing and storing cheap asphalt for pothole repair. “You need to look at the whole life cost of a pothole repair. When you take in to consideration the labour and fuel costs of repeat visits to oil-based pothole repairs, it’s evident that a quality, first time permanent pothole repair is much better value for money, even if it does cost a little more in the first instance,” he says.

Like in the UK, Mr. Kinson says the Australian road sector has traditionally aligned with the market mindset that buying in bulk is cheaper and more convenient. However, as Instarmac has shown in the UK market, it’s about changing mindsets and showing the benefits of spending a bit of extra money first time around on a permanent pothole solution.

“In the UK and in over 30 countries worldwide, we have been putting our product in roads for 40 years and the markets have had excellent results with this product,” he says.

“We accept the product costs a bit more but we’re all about getting things right first time”.

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