Durban will host the 2nd annual KZN Construction Expo on 7 and 8 February, providing the only multi-disciplinary show for KwaZulu-Natal’s built environment.
Taking place at the Durban Exhibition Centre, the event features seven dedicated exhibition zones including Concrete; Construction; Digital Construction; Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing; Smart Buildings / Eco Build; Surfaces and Finishes and lastly Tools and Equipment.
The KZN Construction Expo is an unprecedented opportunity to access the province’s building and construction value chain, and focuses on buyer and seller engagements through free-to-attend content and face-to-face interactions all under one roof.
With over 2 500 attendees expected, ranging from small contractors to architects, quantity surveyors, property developers, government and industry associations, this interactive platform not only facilitates new investment into infrastructure but also builds capacity for local architects, construction professionals and small to medium sized contractors through free education and technical skills development during training workshops.
The event is proud to present KZN’s first ever Contractor’s Corner – which will provide free practical training to over 1 000 small and medium contractors.
Another highlight is the KZN Stakeholder Engagement Forum which will unite the province’s development leaders including Master Builders Association KwaZulu-Natal, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the KZN Growth Fund and others to enhance communication between public and private sector towards the realisation of delivering more local construction projects on budget and on time.
The Architectural Essentials Corner will provide continuing professional development for architectural professionals from the South African Institute for Building Design (SAIBD) and is hosted as part of the KZN Construction Expo. The Architectural Essentials Corner provides CPD points and progressive learning for architectural professionals through a collaborative forum for the transformation of the architectural profession in the pursuit of excellence.
Sponsored by Spider Mini-Cranes, Carmix, Mapei, SA Leak Detection and BBF Safety Group and supported by over 60 exhibiting companies and 20 association partners, the KZN Construction Expo provides access to KZN’s entire building and construction value chain in a unique setting allowing for prestigious visibility, interactive networking and on-site demonstrations.
Register for your free expo ticket here.
The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), South Africa’s professional body for the engineered timber construction industry, issues a notice on compliance of laminated timber beams to be used for structural purposes.
NOTE: All laminated timber beams must comply with the minimum requirements outlined in SANS 1460: Laminated Timber. Further to this, all laminated timber beams are to be clearly stamped by the supplier, indicating the grade and the relevant accredited authority.
It is a requirement in terms of SANS 10163 ‘The Structural use of Timber’ and the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400, that all structural timber comply with the relevant product specification. The only way to demonstrate this is by means of certification by an ISO 17065-accredited certification body or by means of a registered structural engineer. There shall be recorded evidence of controls to support this, i.e. type and classification of structural adhesive and approval certificate of each batch, test results of the MOR (bending stress) and MOE (stiffness), grade classification, and markings, to name a few.
It is the responsibility of architects and engineers to call for certified structural timber, the relevant inspectors to ensure compliance, and design engineers, architects and truss manufacturers to specify products they can trust.
Making use of laminated timber products for structural purposes without the necessary certification and backing amounts to irresponsible business – and building – practice. The ITC-SA urges the trade and public to make use of structural timber from the formal trade and that bears the necessary marks.
Visit www.itc-sa.org/laminated-timber-viable-structural-applications/ to read more about laminated timber’s viability for use in structural applications.
For more information, visit www.itc-sa.org.
Polystyrene recycling in South Africa showed increased growth in 2016, contrary to international reports that suggest the material has been “challenging to recycle”, or in some instances, is unrecyclable.
The reprocessing of expanded and high impact polystyrene increased by 106% between 2013 and 2015, according to the Polystyrene Packaging Council’s (PSPC) director, Adri Spangenberg. This increase was as a result of two reasons: more end-markets were developed and knowledge of successful polystyrene recycling spread.
“We are still awaiting the official recycling figures for 2016, but early indications show that approximately 3,600 tonnes of recycled polystyrene was added to the traditional recycling figures – making this our best year to date,” Spangenberg said.
“We have managed to prove that polystyrene can successfully be recovered from households and industries by working closely with waste management companies and municipalities,” she added.
Polystyrene is widely being used by spaza shops, take-away vendors, cafeterias and supermarkets around the country.
Once recycled, new items are created, and in turn, boosts job creation in many different industries.
“Last year alone, 2,036 tons of polystyrene was successfully recycled for use in lightweight concrete through our Project Build,” Spangeberg said.
These projects use recycled, post-consumer polystyrene for large commercial and residential construction projects around the country.
Another area that has seen considerable growth in the amount of recycled polystyrene is the home décor industry. More than 1,377 tonnes of expanded and high impact polystyrene was recycled last year for use in picture frames, cornices and curtain rods through the PSPC’s Project Dècor.
“Apart from the fact that it helped divert polystyrene from landfill, we are particularly pleased that this is another market where jobs and products were manufactured locally as opposed to relying on cheap imports from the far East that have a detrimental impact on our own markets,” Spangenberg said.
Plans for 2017
Looking ahead at 2017, the PSPC said it will continue to promote the use and recycling of polystyrene to South African industries.
“The Davos World Economic Forum gathering released their report in which they called for strategies to dramatically increase recycling of plastic packaging from the current 14% to 70%,” Spangenberg said.
Spangenberg believes that plastic material is also worth a lot more when used in infrastructure applications, and should therefore be re-used and recycled into building projects that will benefit many generations to come.
Recycling polystyrene is also key to reclaiming useful carbons and reusing valuable resource, the PSPC said.
Spangenberg concluded by emphasising that polystyrene recycling helps create jobs, revenue opportunities and opportunities to innovate new products “in a true, circular economy model”.
Sustainability has always been a key consideration in the mining industry and will continue to shape activity today and beyond.
Tord Svensson, head of TOMRA Sorting Mining
Activity in the mining industry is integral to modern life, with minerals and commodities mined across the world playing a crucial role the way in which both businesses and consumers operate.
As with any industry providing essential products and services, a significant amount of attention is placed on its processes and their impact from both an environmental and economic perspective.
Figures compiled by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development division show that, in the 20th century, extraction of construction minerals increased by 34 times, while that of ores and industrial minerals increased 27 times, which significantly outpaced the quadrupling of the global population and even the 24-fold increase in worldwide GDP.
The dramatic increase in activity naturally placed strain on resources and also created questions around sustainability, but the fact is that sustainable practices have long been an important consideration in mining, stretching back more than 50 years.
In an industry where developments take place across decades and decisions being made now could only come to fruition in half a century, it is essential that the potential impact of any move is taken into account.
A global report carried out by professional services firm Deloitte into the constant challenges and constraints affecting sustainability in mining found that that the ever-increasing demand for mined resources remains a major concern, as well as the consumption of resources such as energy and water, which are required throughout the extraction process.
Increasing pollution generated by the extraction process must also be factored into thinking, with these principles applying to both large-scale, multinational corporates, as well as smaller-scale operations.
In many cases, the sustainability of extraction can vary greatly depending on the industry, but regardless of the processes and techniques being employed and implemented, these operations are still associated with negative environmental and social impacts in some markets.
The ever-present challenge for the sector is strengthening the relationship with local communities and reinforcing the importance of mining to both revenue and employment in many nations, particularly developing countries.
The non-renewable nature of mined resources is also at odds with sustainability, which further illustrates how crucial the efficient use of resources for development remains.
Of course, questions around how to maximize the developmental benefits of mining while also contributing to both environmental and social sustainability are nothing new.
It was given the spotlight in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, agreed at the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, where three priority areas were identified, including addressing the environmental, economic, health and social impacts and benefits of mining throughout the entire lifecycle, encompassing issues such as the health and safety of workers.
Another key aim outlined was to enhance the participation of stakeholders, including local communities and – just as crucially – fostering sustainable mining practices through the provision of financial, technical and capacity-building support to all countries.
At its core, the practices that will be central to maintaining and improving the sustainability of global mining is the management and reduction of energy and resources used in extracting materials.
Although new sites are being discovered and means of extracting materials are being developed, the nature of the work can have a significant number of side-effects on the surrounding area both in the short and long term. This necessitates the use of the most effective possible methods and machinery, as well as approaches to reducing water and energy use.
Minimizing the use of water that is diverted for mining activity – and can impact both the quantity and quality of water available downstream – has proven highly effective in countries such as Canada, where figures from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy show that water intake used in mining fell by a third in just ten years.
Reducing energy consumption is also paramount if the impact of the mining industry is to be mitigated; it is estimated that three per cent of the world’s energy is used to mine natural commodities, while land disruption remains a key issue as land that could potentially be used for vegetation may be spoiled.
The use of technology that can play a key role in reducing the industry’s impact on the planet in both the long and short term is therefore paramount, and TOMRA’s range of sorting technology is playing a crucial role in this.
Sensors are able to recognize the target material according to typical characteristics such as color, atomic density, transparency and conductivity and then selectively extract it using a pulse of pressurized air to minimize waste.
A strong emphasis is placed on reducing eventual water and energy consumption when designing all TOMRA machinery, and sensor-based material handling sorters are no exception.
Sorting has a direct effect on reducing the downstream energy consumption in relation to the amount of mass removed by the sorter. If a sorting machine removes 15 per cent of waste by mass, then downstream processes will use approximately 15 per cent less energy, and the same applies to water consumption.
However, processing a ton of sorted ore will consume the same amount of energy as unsorted material; the key factor being that you will be able to produce the same amount of final concentrate treating less material.
Sustainability continues to be at the heart of the mining industry, and maintaining this focus will ensure that new methods of extraction are being complemented by sustainable processes that help to maintain the integrity of the area being mined and its local population and offer tangible business benefits.
Environmental consultancy firm AECOM and the University of Salford have struck up a new partnership that aims to improve understanding of how major infrastructure programmes interact with the environment.
The new partnership will co-fund research that potentially leads to PhD studies and scientific papers covering building projects in ‘environmentally sensitive’ areas and biodiversity disruptions during construction, which will be ‘increasingly important’ for future sustainable infrastructure projects.
AECOM’s chief executive of environment and ground engineering for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa Peter Skinner said: “Shaping research so that it is applicable to specific projects provides students with opportunities to make a tangible difference to both academia and industry through their learning.
“Greater collaboration between universities and the private sector will make an important contribution to mitigating the impact of infrastructure on the environment and protecting the natural world. AECOM is proud to be working with the University of Salford on this initiative to increase understanding of the environmental and ecological aspects of infrastructure projects.”
The partnership evolved as a result of AECOM’s work with the Mersey Gateway project – A six lane toll bridge that will stretch across the river Mersey and one of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK – in which AECOM are advising on the complex and sensitive estuarine environment surrounding the construction areas.
As a part of this project, AECOM decided that further research on large infrastructural impact on similar sensitive environments would be beneficial to sustainable construction.
The University of Salford’s vice chancellor for research and enterprise Nigel Mellor said: “This partnership will provide a unique opportunity for both parties. It fits into our aim of focusing our research at real life challenges and to deliver real life impact for society. It will also give our students the chance to get involved in a live project and help them develop key skills for industry.”
AECOM expressed concerns regarding sustainable building practices being hindered by Government and Mayoral politics in an exclusive talk with edie in April. Ant Wilson of AECOM highlighted the Green deal and the zero-carbon homes policy as examples of green policies that have been stunting sustainable growth within the sector.
This issue is evident in various large cities. For example, whilst London is one of the leading cities in adopting green buildings in the UK, the city is suffering from a ‘quantity over quality’ approach to sustainable buildings and is unwilling to set quantifiable energy efficiency targets for buildings.
However, this new partnership could alleviate concerns and push forward initiatives to promote best practices for sustainable building development. Moreover, the recently introduced Natural Capital Protocol – a standardised framework to measure business value impacts on natural assets – also tackles misunderstanding and differing opinions on sustainable business construction, providing a more direct path to follow for sustainable business growth.
Earn valuable CPD credits
The numbers are looking good. Investment by value of mega-projects under construction grew by 46.2% in 2014, and Africa is expected to host nearly a quarter of the global urban population by 2050 – proof that the continent continues to present foreign investors and development companies with many inviting opportunities.
However, converting these into sustainable solutions that meet Africa’s needs will require a different philosophy and a new long-term approach from many players, according to Darryll Castle, chief executive of PPC.
He was speaking at a Gordon Institute of Business Science Forum event. In order to deliver on the continent’s vision of “sustainable success”, companies cannot simply adopt a “final frontier” philosophy and expand into the continent accordingly. They have to take both a macro and micro view – redefining return on investment such that it affects all stakeholder communities positively, he said.
As rising income and increasing levels of urbanisation continue to support economic growth across large portions of Africa, construction companies in emerging markets look set to grow well into the medium term.
“Investment by value of mega-projects under construction alone tripled from $103 billion (about R1.6 billion) to $326 billion in 2014 [according to Deloitte’s African Construction Trends Report 2014],” noted Castle.
“The latest Mo Ibrahim Foundation Report additionally forecasts that the next 35 years will see the continent accommodate 900 million new urban dwellers. Both of these paint an enticing picture for foreign investors, developers and construction firms – one which many have already started gearing to respond to.”
Expanding into Africa brings its own unique set of opportunities and challenges. It also moves continental “newcomers” into a development space – where a business as usual approach cannot meet non-negotiable growth and sustainability imperatives.
“Dumping building products cheaply, extracting resources without local beneficiation or any other form of business that is purely profit-oriented cannot be construed as ‘good for Africa’, especially against the back of the continent’s critical needs: reducing the cost of energy and mobility, job creation for youth and women as a priority, and growing manufacturing capabilities and intra-Africa trade, among others,” said Castle.
“As such, a far more long-term and legacy view of return on investment has to be taken – with the starting point for this exercise being to map out an inclusive list of project stakeholders.”
Government and local investors usually fall comfortably into the stakeholder category, but Castle said that many African-expansion exercises often excluded local communities and employees as key shareholders in the business.
“This typically manifests through imported labour [which does not unionise] and a lack of local succession planning – where the more ‘valuable’ skilled jobs remain reserved for foreign nationals ostensibly because the skills are not locally available. This effectively erodes and inhibits progress and development, exacerbating the cycles of poverty and economic exclusion that many local communities already find themselves in.”
He added that the alternative – an inclusive and participatory form of partnership – can, however, have the complete opposite effect.
“This is something we’ve seen ourselves through PPC’s expansion into Rwanda at our Cimerwa facility [in Bugarama in south-western Rwanda]. In this instance, we set a greater context for the partnership – notably that of ‘sustainable modernisation’.”
This enabled committed collaboration between all stakeholders: PPC and the Rwandan government, the Bank of Kigali, KCB Bank of Rwanda, the Eastern and Southern African Trade Development Bank, the local community, and up and downstream partners (including logistics providers) in the greater value chain.
“By setting critical milestones together and taking a purpose-driven approach, we have been able to roll the project out in a way that ultimately speaks to our collective legacy objectives,” said Castle.
These include extending Cimerwa’s production capacity from its previous 100 000 tons a year to 600 000 tons to meet the capacity needs of the Rwandan market and greater region, and implementing an extensive skills transfer programme that will ensure that over 95% of the total workforce employed at the new facility will ultimately be local.
“Investing in Africa requires ‘building’ Africa,” said Castle.
“To truly ‘build’ Africa, companies have to move beyond simply growing their asset base to creating meaningful capacity around them that will ensure communities remain self-sufficient well into the future. This is critical if we’re to realise the continent’s economic potential and uplift local communities so as to stimulate greater collaboration, growth and sustainable development for all of Africa’s peoples,” he concluded.
Architecture firm Swisatec just announced plans to build a self-contained “Green Village” in Cape Town, South Africa that will be completely car-free and powered by solar energy. Taking up approximately 40 hectares of land, the village will contain 1,000 apartment units, as well as all the amenities its residents need to conduct their daily business, including doctors’ offices, boutiques, schools, and more.
The new Blue Rock Village isn’t going to be developed completely from scratch: instead, it’s an upgrade of the existing Blue Rock Resort, set beside an iconic Cape Town lake at a former quarry site. While cars won’t be needed to travel through the Village, residents still need to find a way to get there – it’s a half-hour drive to Cape Town proper. The development will include underground parking for residents, tucking their cars out of sight until they need to travel.
The apartments available range from one to four bedrooms, and will be made completely from eco-friendly and nontoxic materials. All appliances will be A++ rated energy efficient, and the units will be lit throughout with LEDs. The buildings even include features to manage water usage and will be able to run on self-generated solar power. Swisatec estimates the project will cost a staggering 14 billion rand, or $900 million US. Construction will start in September 2016.
How is 3D software transforming the architecture industry?
3D software is beneficial to both the process of design and the representation of design to clients and other stakeholders.
The historic 2D representation of architectural concepts is difficult for many clients to imagine as built liveable space. Scaled physical models, which supplemented 2D drawings, provided a better understanding of the form and general aesthetic of the building, however, 3D digital software represents architecture at the human scale. A person can now walk through a building or view it on the site as he/she would in the real built form.
For architects and designers, 3D software provides opportunities to engage with architecture “inside-out”, exploring spatial interconnections in volume. The scales of experience and grades of intimacy between user and space are unlimited, thereby enhancing the development of place through socio-spatial interaction, which all good architecture aspires to.
Do you believe this is a trend which is set to grow and why?
This trend has been growing ever since inception. The demand for high quality 3D software is on the increase. This has driven the continuous development of 3D software packages which has seen new/revised versions being released in short time. Software developers have grasped this opportunity although market competition is high.
Is the cost not prohibitive or is this coming down – is this perhaps a factor in its adoption at the moment?
Cost does not seem to be prohibitive as the vast majority of architectural practices are using 3D software. There are “Lite” versions of software at lesser cost, with obviously fewer possibilities and options. Student versions are a fraction of the cost of the full versions and this exposes young practitioners to 3D software. A significant number of these students move on to set up private practices which then purchase licensed versions of software for commercial use.
How is 3D technology being used today by architects, what are some of the more innovative ideas and solutions?
Some of the more organic or amorphous architectural forms, which are near impossible to achieve through 2D drawings or physical modelling, become possible with 3D modelling. Many internationally acclaimed, award-winning architects rely heavily on 3D software for design development. Nowadays, 3D software affords interdisciplinary interfaces with engineering and construction software, which can translate ambitious and innovative design forms and structures into working drawings, details and ultimately, production / construction.
What are the implications of this technology for the industry in SA?
3D software has to translate into Building Information Modelling (BIM), in order to realise idea / concept as built form; this is what will transform practise in South Africa, especially in the SMME sector. Computer technology has literally shrunken the office footprint and the one-person practise becomes much more possible. Access to the profession and business is therefore easier, which is of particular importance to transformation in a volatile, growing economy.
Any other thoughts?
3D software and digital technology has to be harnessed and exploited to the fullest in order to benefit practices in the SMME sector. Technology has redefined the concept of the office or studio as well as access to resources. Mobility and connection is the way of professional business today – a computer with the relevant software and wifi is all that may be required to run a sustainable practise. The office and library have largely become virtual spaces, while the coffee shop has taken the place of meeting room. All this is to the credit of computer and digital technologies.
Building new homes can be a time consuming, expensive process. In Africa, communities are going back to an ancient technique to build sustainable homes that don’t break the bank.
Since the year 2000, the Nubian Vault Association has been using masons with knowledge of the Nubian Vault technique to build roofs out of mud bricks as well as training up the next generation.
This is helping to reduce communities’ reliance on materials such as costly corrugated iron and sawn timber beams.
The bricks used by the association and its builders are made from local earth and water and then dried in the sun.
Houses with this style of roof are said to be cheap to make, retain heat during the night and remain cool when the weather is hot.
“In ordinary houses cement and raw materials are very expensive and have to be brought in, they are not found in my village,” said Bassirou Coulibaly, a Nubian Vault Mason from Niéna, a rural community in the south of Mali.
Alex Dembele is national co-ordinator for the Nubian Vault Association.
“The advantages of working with (the) NVA are not only a reduction in construction costs,” he said. “The houses have a very stable climate all year round… (and) it also provides employment for the community,” he added.
According to the association, as of September 2015 380 Nubian Vault masons – in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Ghana and Mauritania – had been trained, with more than 1,800 Nubian Vault buildings finished in 700 locations.
“Our slogan is: Roof, job, market place,” Dembele said. “The technology is in place to be able to pass these skills onto a great number of people,” he added.
The association says that 20,000 people have benefited from their buildings, with around 55,000 tons of CO2 equivalent potentially saved when compared to other techniques.
The association also states that its economic impact on “local economies” is more than €2 million ($2.27 million).
For Coulibaly, there have been economic as well as housing benefits. “Once I’ve finished building my house, I have other clients waiting,” he said.
New infrastructure for Taung Hotel School and Convention Centre now underway
The much anticipated construction of new Hotel School facilities is officially underway, this was evident when the principal agents and architects Botaki & Associates (PTY) LTD recently handed over various construction sites to various contractors to begin setting up shop for the seventy (70) million rand project to officially commence at the Taung Hotel School and Convention Centre in Taung.
Setting the tone during the construction sites hand over briefing session with all relevant parties involved, Head of North West Department of Tourism, Adv. Neo Sephoti emphasized to contractors that no shoddy work will be accepted and that the provincial government expects a quality infrastructure which will still be standing and in good condition for years to come.
“These are public funds and as a department and the people of this province, we will not compromise on quality. We will insist on regular quality checks because if anything does not meet the required quality standards it will impact on us as a government not the contractors”, Adv. Sephoti said.