Could discontent’s winter get any colder?

Could discontent’s winter get any colder?

As a first order of business I must pay respects to my predecessor, Bafikile Bonke Simelane, not only for the highly professional way in which he conducted his presidency of Master Builders South Africa, but also for his very erudite and informed monthly Comment in our magazine.

The building industry in South Africa is subject to influences from a welter of sources, perhaps more so than any other national business. Keeping an eye on those influences is a job all on its own. Bonke managed to do that and take in the bigger picture as well.

John Matthews, President – Master Builders South Africa

Whereas retail, tourism, banking and many other essential enterprises are driven predominantly by market forces, the building and construction industry has myriad other impacts, some obvious and others a great deal more subtle. Bonke had his finger firmly on the pulse and regularly told us just where the next threat may be waiting or opportunity to be exploited.

But he didn’t have to be an oracle to spot the elephant so evident on the climatic horizon – a hundred-year record drought.

The factors peculiar to the building industry are often intangible. Whereas supplies, raw materials and labour are common to all industry, builders are often sandbagged by the simplest of needs. The much-vaunted issue of water has never been more top of mind than in the past year in the Western Cape, and as the summer slips into early autumn, the denizens at the Cape scan the horizon for signs of a merciful cold front, and the upper slopes of Lion’s Head are scrutinised for a wisp of cloud that inevitably presages the winter rains.

So it’s water that preoccupies our industry right now on the southern tip and potentially throughout South Africa, and it’s a commodity in enraging short supply. Rarely has the fairest cape been less fair, less green, less juicy than over the past 18 months or so, and seldom has the building industry had to concern itself so desperately with what it had become to consider – rightly or wrongly – a reliable resource.

And if that’s not enough, there’s another essential that is under threat as we wait to hear exactly how the new South African President’s Zexit deals are working out. The other elephant in the room is land.

We don’t argue for a minute that the redistribution of land to those who lost theirs through unfair practices must be restored and, in a way that Cyril Ramaphosa proposes, must have no effect on the economy or the production of food. But as someone wisely said, there’s no nice way to take someone’s property without paying them for it.

So the building industry right across the nation, along with clients the developers watch to see how even-handed the solution will be. Farmers and, industrialists and those that hold development land, play a painful waiting game.

In both cases we can only say, this is no way to move forward as a nation. Water problems are by no means the sole preserve of the Western Cape. The rest of South Africa stands on the brink of equally crippling droughts as climate change establishes its reality. The uncertainty of who will own the land and when, stops development in its tracks.

Both are government issues right now, but it’s time for them to become issues driven by those at the coalface of the economy to exert their considerable influence and tackle the Augean task that is South Africa right now, on the ground.

John

ACHASM celebrates 11 years of H&S service to industry

ACHASM celebrates 11 years of H&S service to industry

Dr Claire Deacon, Executive Director of ACHASM

The Association of Construction Health & Safety Management (ACHASM) conducted a one day symposium in Midrand in March which addressed a range of important Construction Health and Safety topics, amongst which client baseline risk assessments, cost of accidents, medical surveillance and motor vehicle accidents (MVAs).

A number of industry bodies, including the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) also appraised delegates with the current state of Health and Safety aspects of their organisations relating to industry requirements.

The event coincided with the Association’s 11th anniversary.

Herman Enoch, Marketing Manager of Federated Employers Mutual (FEM)

Keeping our knowledge levels up to date with the field of Health and Safety is paramount,” said Dr Claire Deacon, Executive Director of ACHASM. “Since the foundation of ACHASM 11 years ago we have developed a high level of confidence in our capabilities and resultant service offerings to the construction industry. Amongst our members are people who can and do make a difference.”

In his address, Herman Enoch, Marketing Manager of Federated Employers Mutual (FEM), noted that not only is the number of motor vehicle related accidents (MVAs) in the construction industry increasing, but that the cost of MVAs is also the highest of all accident types at R84 000.

MVAs account for nearly 50% of all fatalities,” said Enoch. “Of which flagmen are the largest segment.”

CHS Executive of SACPCMP, Vincent Harmse provided a detailed update on progress of the organisation’s registration of industry professionals, highlighting the complexity of the task from the initial understanding of criteria and the registration through to assessment, mentorship and final registration. “This process will take at best four to five months,” explained Harmse. “We find that applicants have a lack of understanding of the criteria which significantly extends the time period to registration.”

Harmse noted that since 2013 some 15 283 applications for registration have been received, and these continue to come in at a rate of roughly 300 per month. To date 2 876 professionals have been registered and presently 7 523 are in progress.

An important aspect of ACHASM’s Symposiums is the traditional RANT, first introduced by Prof John Smallwood. Here delegates and members have the opportunity to openly vent their frustrations revolving around Construction Health and Safety issues. This year’s RANT delivered the following concerns, which are now identified and minuted for further action:

The Association for Construction Health and Safety Management (ACHASM) is a registered non-profit company and a recognized SACPCMP Voluntary Association (VA), established to provide all those working in the Construction Health and Safety (CHS) field with an advisory and representative body.

Master Builders South Africa tackles the shortage of skills in construction

Master Builders South Africa tackles the shortage of skills in construction

Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) hosted an industry-wide Construction Sector Skills Development Colloquium on 08 March 2018, at the offices of the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

The event was convened to outline a clear education-to-employment roadmap for careers in the built environment as well as to identify role players, challenges and solutions in that roadmap. It was attended by key industry stakeholders involved in various skills initiatives to address the shortage of skills in the industry including representatives of labour, employers, educators and regulators.

Speaking on the need for such a broader discussion of the issue of construction skills development in the opening speech, the Chairperson of the MBSA Education and Training Committee Ms Vikashnee Harbhajan, made reference to the 4th Industrial Revolution and how it is projected to re-shape careers in the next few years. She emphasised the need to consolidate industry skills initiatives and ensure that they are aligned to changes in construction and related technologies.

Represented at the event were the Construction Industry Development Board, Construction Education Training Authority, Master Builders Associations of the North, KZN, Free State, Boland and Eastern Cape, South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations, the National Business Initiative, the German Development Cooperation as well as representatives of colleges, universities and construction companies that are involved in skills development in the built environment.

Key outcomes included the need for better co-ordinated career guidance programmes aimed at learners in basic education in order to have construction related careers as first-choice pursuits, promoting a culture of workplace integrated learning and providing more support to employers who take on learners, heightening industry collaboration with municipalities to facilitate artisan training as well as developing a structured mentorship approach for SMME development.

The event also saw the launch of a unique partnership between MBSA and PPC Cement, where PPC undertook to contributing towards a skills fund established by MBSA to create skills capacity within the federation. PPC Cement made a pledge to ensure that a portion of the revenue generated from bulk cement purchases directly from PPC, will be channelled towards MBSA skills development programmes for the benefit of the industry at large and in particular, employers in the building industry. The Programme will run until December 2018.

MBSA members were encouraged to support this unique initiative through cement purchases from PPC.

Advice to CT contractors on tender submissions during the water crisis

Advice to CT contractors on tender submissions during the water crisis

Master Builders Association Western Cape offers the following cautionary advice to its members regarding submission of tenders, due to the water crisis in the Greater Cape Town area:

At the time of submitting a tender for any works, both main contractors and subcontractors need to be very careful concerning the risks that the situation arising from the current water crisis presents and should carefully consider the following:

Theewaterskloofwater Dam, Cape Town, March 2018

Access to the municipal water supply for use on building site activities is likely to be further restricted, possibly to a major degree, and;
The cost of municipal potable water is likely to increase significantly;
To this end, the specific contract conditions should be carefully studied, particularly as they relate to the party recorded in the contract documentation as being responsible for the supply of water, and the cost thereof.

Note should also be taken that relevant conditions of contract vary significantly. Such variance is not only between different types of contractual agreements, but also between various editions (this is the case with various recent JBCC editions).

Care should be taken to study the specific contract conditions, particularly any amendments to standard conditions, and note taken of the fact that, even where Agreements contain force majeure provisions, this is unlikely to protect the contractor on newly submitted tenders.

Qualifying tenders is permissible in law, but carries risks, particularly in the public sector, where qualifications are likely to result in disqualification. Needless to say, collusion with other tenderers is unlawful.

The risks that will confront contractors and subcontractors include contamination of water from sources other than the municipal supply and stringent quality control measures must be maintained to ensure both the quality of the water as well as the testing of structural concrete and mortars to ensure compliance with design strengths.

Many subcontract agreements allocate the responsibility of supplying water to the contractor. Contractors need to take due account of this

Contract conditions in current tenders are likely to qualify and reduce the employer’s responsibility and risk and contractors must scrutinise the documents to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of the risks that any amended documentation shifts to them and take the appropriate precautions when submitting their tenders in order to contain or manage these risks.

Corobrik – SA’s substantive brick brand

Corobrik – SA’s substantive brick brand

The Coronation Brick & Tile factory in Briardene in the 1950’s

Reviewing the origins and history of Corobrik over the past 115 years, technical competence in clay brick and tile manufacture stands out as one of the key business fundamentals applied to underpin the integrity of the Corobrik brand, sustaining competitiveness, growth and the financial success of the business. From small beginnings, and having successfully overcome the vagaries of SA’s often highly volatile building and construction sector, Corobrik has evolved keeping pace with changes in design trends, investing and reinvesting in technologies and processes to ensure the market relevance of its products and the sustainability of the business.

A truck loaded with bricks ready for delivery (around the 1970’s)

The beginning of the Corobrik’s story traces back to 1898 when Robert Storm identified clay deposits in the Clairwood Flats of Durban, this leading to the establishment of the Storm Brothers Brick Works. Dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of clay raw materials at Clairwood prompted the search for a new site and following the finding of promising deposits at Briardene, a new plant was set up in 1902. So commenced the industrialisation of the brick industry in Durban; that process taking a quantum step forward with the commissioning of the first electrically driven brick-making machines at the Briardene operations in1915.

Building on the early successes achieved and seeking benefits from greater economies of scale, the Storm Brothers Brick Works and the Greenwood Park Co. Limited, located in relatively close proximity to each other, chose to amalgamate and in 1916 the Coronation Brick and Tile Co. Limited was formed. From that amalgamation, Coronation Brick and Tile Co. Limited grew through diversifying its manufacturing capability beyond plaster and face bricks to include roof tiles, quarry tiles, air-bricks and hollow ceiling blocks. The wonderful terracotta roof-tile aesthetic, best appreciated when looking down from Durban’s Berea, stands as testimony to the Coronation Brick and Tile Co. Ltd success in manufacturing clay roof tiles of enduring quality over the 70 year period to 1975 when concrete roof tile manufacture and the cost benefits therefrom came to prominence.

The Briardene complex around the 1960’s

Investment through acquisition and ‘greenfield’ factories followed with Coronation Brick Co. Ltd acquiring a brick factory in Pietermaritzburg on auction in 1933 and the construction of a new plaster brick factory at Effingham producing 110 million bricks per annum, reportedly the highest output brickworks in the world during its time of operation.

Greater industrialisation in the building industry, coupled with the drive to lower costs in the provision of affordable housing led to Coronation Brick and Tile Co. Ltd establishing Corocrete (Pty) Ltd. in 1968. With the initial product focus being towards pre-cast concrete products, building blocks, lightweight filler blocks and decorative panels. The long term success of these concrete product operations has been underpinned by concrete paver and earth retaining system products.

1969 was the year that the Tongaat Group Limited acquired a controlling interest in the Coronation Group and Coronation Industrial was formed (later to be named Tongaat Corogroup Ltd.) heralding the start of a period of considerable expansion through investment in new clay brick manufacturing technologies to drive greater competitiveness in the business.

Corobrik factory in Avoca

Empangeni factory with a capacity of 42 million bricks per annum, Avoca 1 with a capacity of 75 million bricks per year, producing a range of masonry formats to compete with the emerging concrete block industry, the highly automated Avoca 2 factory with production capacities of 42 million per year high quality face bricks a year and a new 45 million brick capacity factory at Glencoe to replace the Dundee Brick Works, were the significant investments made during this period.

It was also during this period that the Coronation Group made brick factory acquisitions in Bloemfontein, Odendaalsrus, Klerksdorp, Grahamstown, Paarl, Phesantekraal and Stellenbosch, providing the business with a national footprint and prompting the re-branding of ‘Coronation Brick and Tile’ to ‘Corobrik’ in 1977.

Effingham factory

Broadening its reach into the face brick market Tongaat Corogroup invested in the fully automated ‘greenfield’ Rietvlei Factory fired on natural gas with a capacity of 85 million FBX quality face bricks per annum. Complimenting this investment the Tongaat Group Ltd. acquired control of Primrose Industrial Holdings (1978), who were operating brick factories at Edenvale, Crown Mines, Lawley and Driefontein. Thereafter in the 1980s Corobrik was to acquire the Port Elizabeth Company, the Vryheid Brick Company and Springs 11 factory, and in 1999 made the acquisition of the gas fired Midrand Factory. In 2001 Corobrik (Pty) Ltd was acquired from the Tongaat Hulett Group Ltd. In 2008 Corobrik was reorganised to facilitate the allocation of 26% of the share capital to the Corobrik Staff Trust for the benefit of all employees.

Since 2001 the systematic upgrading of existing factories has been the order of the day this leading to considerable investment in robotics necessary for optimising yields of first grade products, investment in new extrusion technologies to advance de-materialisation, investment in new firing systems coupled with the greater use of natural gas as a firing fuel to reduce the carbon footprint of Corobrik products. Helping expand bricklaying and paving skills and provide employment opportunities for the unemployed, Corobrik introduced bricklaying programmes at its three Building Training Centres now located at Avoca in Durban, Lansdowne in Cape Town and Lawley in Gauteng.

Durban Railway Station in Old Fort Road

Today Corobrik operates 14 clay brick and two concrete product factories located in the major economic centres of South Africa cumulatively producing close to 1 billion brick equivalents per annum, bringing to the market a complete spectrum of bricks and pavers. Keeping itself close to the market, Corobrik’s head office at Avoca in Durban operates regional sales offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Stellenbosch, 25 Corobrik Centres in the major metropoles to serve and build relationships with the professions in both the private and public sectors, the trades, independent builders merchants and home consumers.

Adding impetus to Corobrik’s growth over the last 35 years, Corobrik has extended its export footprint into some 25 countries around the globe stretching from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore in the East, to Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Israel in the Middle East, a host of African states, the Indian Ocean Islands and to the West, the USA. Importantly the development of the export market helped keep Corobrik abreast of international trends as they impact on the South African brick market and to benchmark production processes and product quality in line with best international practices.

Over the past 115 years Corobrik has played a significant part in advancing South Africa’s wonderful masonry tradition, its products adding value to South Africa’s architectural heritage through their structural integrity, enduring aesthetic qualities and sustainability attributes.

Corobrik factory in North Coast Road, Briardene in 1992

 

Nothing wasted, everything gained

Nothing wasted, everything gained

This ultra-modern, sustainable home makes extensive use of recycled materials. To ensure energy-efficiency it incorporates the best of passive design including clever orientation, double glazing, cross-ventilation, strategic shading and the thermal mass of clay brick.

Clay bricks are highly durable and have a life expectancy of hundreds of years. Bricks can also be reused, which minimises waste and distributes their carbon footprint over an extended life span.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Renovation of an existing building can result in significant reductions in both cost and environmental impact compared with levelling the site and rebuilding. Because of aesthetic appeal and longevity, brick masonry buildings often are chosen for reuse. In many cases, load-bearing brick buildings are reused in their entirety. In other cases, the brick walls retained while new facings and extensions are built around the core.
Because of the desirability often associated with genuine brick buildings, adaptive reuse of brick masonry is increasingly popular saving both resources and energy.

Use of salvaged materials avoids the environmental impacts associated with new products. Salvaged brick can be reused, although material performance tests of very old bricks should be done if they are to be used in load-bearing structures. Because of the small, modular nature of brick, scrap brick on construction sites is easily crushed and used for landfill. It is commonly used as sub-base material for pavements, on quarry roads or even as aggregate for concrete.

Due to the strength of clay brick pavers, there is a flourishing market for old pavers, which is used to restore damaged driveways and paths. Because brick is so hardy, packaging on palletised, newly-purchased bricks is minimal and easily recycled.

Reducing waste during manufacture
The brick industry in South Africa is committed to minimising waste and to managing any remaining waste responsibly. As a result, the volume of waste per tonne of production is very low compared with international counterparts, equating to 0.75% when it was last measured in 2014. Numerous initiatives completed by the clay brick industry over the past two years have further reduced these numbers.

Small red- and blue-glazed bricks are combined with recycled clay brick to create an interesting play of light, shadow and colour on this three-story exterior wall. A one-bedroom “studio” has been innovatively extended into a family home – with swimming pool.

Both unfired (also called green) and fired brick are recycled during the manufacturing process. The CBA’s recently completed LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) shows the following efficient use of brick waste during production:

Dematerialisation
Dematerialisation – where bricks are perforated with holes during manufacture – is another way to reduce waste. This decreases raw material and water use during forming as well as reducing energy use during firing. Contractors also prefer perforated products because the bricks are lighter and easier to handle and transport.
However dematerialisation presents challenges in handling the brittle green bricks before and during firing. Several South African brick makers have invested in technology that now allows them to offer perforated products to buyers.

This type of investment in advanced manufacturing techniques supports the clay brick industry’s commitment to the ‘triple bottom line’ – it benefits brick makers, the environment and the communities in which these operations are situated.

Potential of timber construction top of mind at annual Wood Conference

Potential of timber construction top of mind at annual Wood Conference

The 8th annual Wood Conference, well-respected knowledge platform for architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and timber experts, took place in February at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. With attendance having grown tenfold since its inception in 2011, this year’s event, themed ‘Fascination Wood’, brought local and international experts together to share insights into the extensive possibilities of timber in design and construction.

Hosted for the first time in partnership with Forum Holzbau, leading platform for world-class specialist conferences in wood architecture and design, the Wood Conference played host to timber and related industry professionals and delegates from South Africa and abroad.

Werner Slabbert Jnr, Managing Director of Eco Log Homes, participated in this year’s Wood Conference and argued that timber construction has excellent potential to be a frontrunner not only in lowering the carbon footprint of public and private buildings, but in sequestering carbon during its ‘manufacturing’ stage

The conference covered a range of topics from the state of the local forestry sector to the benefits of marrying BIM, or Building Information Modelling/Management, with timber for better work-flow, efficiency and engineering. The takeaways from the range of talks were clear: we need to use more timber in design and construction; digital design and timber make a formidable combination in creatively solving a host of design and architectural challenges; and in addition to being well positioned to play a role in housing, design work, global green economies and more, used more in these and other spheres, timber can also play a significant role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions the world over.

Werner Slabbert Jnr, Managing Director of Eco Log Homes, participated in this year’s Wood Conference, delivering a talk focusing on local and global issues of pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the push to lower and mitigate these by way of various carbon tax laws. He argued that timber construction, which it is estimated accounts for around 70% of all housing stock across developed countries, has excellent potential to be a frontrunner, not only in lowering the carbon footprint of public and private buildings, but in sequestering carbon during its ‘manufacturing’ stage.

With attendance having grown tenfold since its inception in 2011, the Wood Conference brought local and international experts together to share insights into the extensive possibilities of timber in design and construction

Slabbert concluded that continuously educating both the trade and consumer for a general shift in mindset and perception is key to growing the market for timber frame building locally. What better way, he asserted, than to reach ordinary South Africans through public infrastructure buildings built of wood, and for representatives in the sector to act as ambassadors not only for their own brands, but for the timber construction sector at large.

“The Wood Conference 2018 was once again a fantastic opportunity for industry professionals, students and even the public interested in timber as a design or construction material to learn more about the incredible properties of this green material and the innovations springing from South Africa and overseas to harness its potential for creative solutions to human challenges across the world,” says Slabbert, concluding, “Heartiest thanks to the organisers for another well-organised conference that continues to put timber in the spotlight at a time when green building and sustainability are increasingly vital to mankind’s well-being and survival.”

 

Eco Log Homes is a multiple award-winning construction company based in Johannesburg. With a wealth of experience and attention to detail, it has been delivering beautifully hand-crafted timber homes to both national and international markets for over 15 years. Eco Log Homes specialises in turnkey developments, hotels, B&Bs, game lodges, residential and holiday homes.

Saint-Gobain pledges an additional R1 million to Rhino conservation

Photo: John Thomé

Saint-Gobain pledges an additional R1 million to Rhino conservation

Saint-Gobain Gyproc is entering its second year of a three-year sponsorship of The SANParks Honorary Rangers, aimed at furthering efforts to protect Rhinos and augment anti-poaching strategies.

Extending its contribution to safeguarding the Rhino population, the company will continue to donate a percentage of sales from its Gyproc RhinoBoard and RhinoLite products to protect Rhinos.

Ian Winroth, Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s general manager for sales says, “It’s been 18 months since we first began linking our Gyproc Rhino range of products with The SANParks Honorary Rangers’ anti-poaching campaign, together with one of our major retail partners, Build-it. This year, we look forward to including our remaining retail partners to jointly drive the message about Rhino conservation, with the aim to sell more products and as a result contribute more funds towards the anti-poaching campaign.”

Despite the valiant efforts of The SANParks Honorary Rangers to stop the brutal slaughter of South Africa’s Rhinos, the safety of Rhinos is still very much in jeopardy. When Environmental Minister, Edna Molewa, released the 2016 Rhino Poaching Statistics a year ago, she reported a total of 1 054 Rhino poached that year. On Thursday, the minister revealed the latest Rhino poaching statistics, showing that 1 028 Rhino were poached in 2017, a decrease of 26 animals.

“Despite this very minor decrease, the fact remains that 2 082 known Rhino were poached over two years. The problem persists and while we recognise the valiant efforts of The SANParks Honorary Rangers and their work to safeguard the species, this awful crisis is still very much a reality and needs continuous private sector support,” says Winroth.

Photo: John Thomé

The funds from last year’s sponsorship went towards training and buying much-needed equipment in the field for rangers, and to support the SANPark’s Air Wing and Veterinary Wildlife Services. Our plus size women’s swimsuits and swimwear are here to make you feel incredible, unstoppable and beautiful. From Bikinis to One-Pieces, our trendy swimwear comes in a huge range of fits and silhouettes perfect for summer vibes. Shop plus size swimwear at https://swimwearlux.com designed for your beautiful curves! Find bikinis & one-piece plus size bathing suits and hit the beach with confidence! From trendy one-pieces with tummy toning panels, to flattering tankinis, and styles for curvy girls with larger busts. Gyproc’s second million rand pledged in 2018, together with proceeds from Gyproc Rhino Branded products sold in 2017, will collectively go towards the continuation of the organisation’s efforts to protect more Rhinos.

“We know that although the Rhino is a symbol of strength for today, it may be gone forever tomorrow. That is why we want to make a difference and we hope that by supporting The SANParks Honorary Rangers and communicating the importance of its cause to our customers, we can add Gyproc’s voice to conversations about Rhino conservation in South Africa,” says Winroth.

 

Smart building data makes business sense

Smart building data makes business sense

By Neil Cameron

Buildings have become so much more than brick, mortar and glass. They are smart business tools which assist organisations to achieve their business objectives. Today’s buildings are essentially technology centres, embedded with complex networks of connected devices and systems. The constant flow of data that these devices (or end points) generate, typically through IP (Internet Protocol) interfaces- provide businesses with the information that enables seamless and efficient functionality.

Recent years have shown a tremendous surge in connected end points within buildings, foretelling an exponential rise in technology embedded in residential, commercial and institutional buildings. This represents the true, smart building. For businesses especially, the value can be highly advantageous.

The value of connected, smart buildings
Most security and fire control devices, temperature management systems, lighting controls, energy management systems, audiovisual networks and more, are equipped with data-generating end points today. The increased capacity to interconnect multiple end points on a single, intricate network allows organisations to optimise incoming data and perform advanced analytics, giving building managers and owners heretofore unknown value.

Building owners can now track things such as energy consumption and temperature preferences in various building locations, giving them real insight into how to optimise these areas. Moreover, they are able to receive this data in a simplified, easily read format on any device of their choosing. The value of this is being realised as a necessity and no longer an unexpected perk of a particular system, creating an increasing demand for smart enabled buildings

Value vs Cost
Although the value of smart buildings in unparalleled, there are still concerns around the infrastructure costs to support such an ecosystem. Increased data calls for increased connectivity and bandwidth. While the image below highlights a reduction in costs to increase connectivity and enable smart buildings globally, South Africa is still known for its high connectivity charges. However, data costs are on a slow but steady decline and, according to this recent article, are set to drop even more in coming years.

Maximising value
Organisations are starting to realise the potential of data to streamline their people, assets and resources for more efficient operations and improved productivity. Data generated by smart buildings offers insights which can solve a number of operational problems, while enhancing the environment of all who inhabit the space during working hours.

Energy and operational efficiency remain high concerns for building owners. Analysis of the data generated by connected end points highlights inefficiencies and money-draining problems, providing cost-saving benefits when these are addressed. The goal is to not only reduce building operational costs, but to maximise the value of these buildings, making them effective business tools for attaining objectives.

Smart buildings offer multiple benefits to different industries. Hospitals are able to better cater to patient needs when they have fewer redundancies. Airports are able to improve traveller experiences. Universities are able to streamline, leveraging student data to become more productive and drive down tuition costs.

The value, when properly leveraged and maximised, easily outweighs the cost and can provide for far higher gains than losses. Smart buildings make smart business sense.

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries. The company employees creates intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities.

Neil Cameron is Johnson Controls’ Area General Manager, Building Efficiency – Africa