Q1: What are the current major talking points in the industry?
The increase in the number of Alternative Building Technologies (ABTs) is currently noteworthy.
ABTs are employed, for example, to help reduce the increasing backlog of housing in South Africa – and the majority of the ABTs are essentially concrete systems.
With ABTs, there is literally no limit to the creative opportunities that concrete presents. These concrete solutions aim to provide superior quality and increased speed of construction through factory-controlled precision or through deskilled labour-intensive processes. Precast, cast in-situ or tilt-up concrete panels dominate the ABT market, often incorporating the re-use of industry by-products to reduce the use of limited resources and to improve the durability of the concrete system. The systems are also frequently designed to achieve superior thermal resistance compared to conventional building systems through the effective combination of high insulation products with the inherent thermal mass of concrete. This can ultimately contribute to the most optimal energy and cost saving results over the lifespan of a building.
The threat of inferior imports and cement dumping remains a concern and has highlighted the importance of making contractors and product manufacturers aware of the necessity of choosing cement that is fit-for-purpose from reputable producers and suppliers. Using NRCS compliant cements will ensure safe and durable structures, resulting in lower maintenance and life-cycle costs.
Q2: What do you believe the next 12 months holds for your industry?
It is critical that some of the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) contained in the Presidential Infrastructure Plan be implemented to further boost sales of cement in the short and longer term. The downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign debt rating has sparked an outcry for government to unlock the funding and support partnerships necessary to facilitate construction projects to restore confidence in investment in SA.
Recognising the importance of being able to quantify the environmental advantages of concrete, the C&CI has commissioned research to determine the CO2 emissions of the most commonly used constituent materials in concrete and the processes of production. A model is available which allows users to determine the CO2e (equivalent) from the production of a cubic metre of concrete using various materials. Research is currently underway on the R-values for concrete masonry and slabs in response to the promulgation of SANS 10400XA and SANS 204.
Through its various business units, the Institute offers numerous technical solutions to face the challenges ahead.
To ensure that skills and knowledge in the concrete industry remain at the cutting edge, the C&CI School of Concrete Technology (SCT) offers a portfolio of educational courses.
The C&CI Information Centre, a free and open service, makes up-to-date authoritative information available to all, while advisory and consulting services are backed by a team of technical experts, who also ensure that South African standards relating to concrete are current and relevant.
Q3: Can you give us an example of a recent successful project where your products were specified?
C&CI is a marketing organisation that promotes sustainable concrete by providing advice, education and information to all interested in concrete in southern Africa.
The Institute handled over 68 000 telephonic queries about cement and concrete matters during the last financial year. C&CI furthermore provided technical input for 47 consulting projects focused on concrete during the past year and also participated in the revision of the national cement and concrete related standards, managed proficiency schemes including the audit of 16 concrete technology laboratories, and maintained contact with the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications regarding the quality imported cement reaching South Africa.
At the C&CI School of Concrete Technology, a pass rate of 76% was achieved by the 1 225 students who attended the courses over 3 057 student days in its last financial year. During that period, C&CI awarded 21 scholarships to civil engineering students and 12 to architectural students, and paid 22 subventions to tertiary lecturers as part of the Institute’s ongoing investment in the decision-makers of tomorrow.
Image: Bryan Perrie, C&CI MD. For further information: Hanlie Turner, tel 011 315 0300 / www.cnci.org.za