Light Steel Frame Hospitals In Support Of The Fight Against The Coronavirus

By John Barnard, Director, SASFA

A total of eight projects, 39 000m2 floor area, using 1000 tons of LSF

It is easy to forget the anxiety that prevailed some six months ago when the Covid-19 infections ran rife. It was during this time that it was decided to urgently add hospital beds to existing capacities to cater for the expected exponential growth in demand for hospital facilities. The core requirement was that construction had to take place at a rate faster than what could be supplied by masonry construction. Accordingly, innovative building systems had to be considered, and light steel framing stood out as the most viable alternative.

A number of smaller hospital projects, not all related to Covid-19, was completed using light steel frame (LSF) during the first half of the year, viz

  • Niemeyer Hospital: Utrecht, KZN, client: DOH, Covid-19 related, scope: roof only, May to Aug 2020 (LSF contractor: Lakeshore Trading)
  • Sonstraal Hospital: Western Cape, client: DOH, scope: walls and roof, 1300m2 and 43t, July to Sept 2020 (LSF Contractor: Steel Modular Construction, Africa)
  • Dorris Goodwin Hospital: Client: DOH, 80m2, 1,5t, April 2020 (LSF contractor: Shospec)
  • Town Hill Hospital: Roof only, 2500m2 and 19t, Apr to Sept 2020 (LSF contractor: Shospec).
  • George Mukhari Hospital: Garankuwa, 746m2 floor area – floor joists, walls and roof. 22t of LSF used in a premanufactured panel system –10 blocks of 1 140m2 = > 63t of LSF
  • In Cape Town, LSFCo is busy with Sonstraal hospital in Paarl – 1 400m2, requiring about 47t LSF.


The two mega projects aimed at providing for the expected threat of Covid infections were the Jubilee field hospital in Hammanskraal (north of Pretoria), and the Baragwanath Hospital (near Soweto).

Project name: Jubilee field hospital, Hammanskraal (North of Pretoria)

Concor was the main contractor for the Jubilee Field Hospital. Futurecon was awarded the contract for the supply and erection of the LSF for the internal and external walls and roofs, clad, lined and insulated with windows installed. From 27 July 2020 they had to complete the project in 10 weeks on 27 September 2020.

The project entailed the supply of 10 000m2 of hospital wards and associated buildings, housing beds in general wards, and in high and intensive care. The foundations were supplied by Concor.

Futurecon had to hand over 1 000m2 of hospital buildings per week. And they kept to the programme, barring two weeks when they were not allowed onto the site due to disturbance caused by the local communities.

They used fibre cement external cladding, supplied by Etex Group (Marley Building Systems). OSB timber strips were used as thermal break between the external cladding and the LSF. A vapour permeable membrane was installed around the outside of the wall frames to waterproof and draughtproof the buildings, while allowing any vapour in the wall cavities to escape outwards. 102mm thick Cavity Bat glass wool insulation was installed in the wall cavities, with 15mm fireproof gypsum board on the inside, to provide a 1-hour fire rating.

The installers of the services found installation in the LSF walls very easy and quick, as there was no cutting and chasing of masonry walls required. They were able to carry out their work in tandem with the LSF project teams, speeding up the completion of the final project.

Even before this project was finished, enquiries were received to upgrade the existing Jubilee hospital, and to supply hospital buildings in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project name: Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructural Development issued a project to add 500 ICU beds to Baragwanath Hospital to supply additional ICU capacity for Covid-19 patients, and thereafter to serve as a permanent extension of the hospital.

The floor area of the 20-ward expansion is 23000 m2 which includes passageways and ancillary buildings. Approximately 470 tons of LSF (20kg / m2) was supplied for the single storey extension with roof trusses spanning 27m between external walls.

Trumod was appointed as a subcontractor to Bambanani Construction, who in turn were contracted to Enza Construction for the building of the 500-bed ICU facility at Baragwanath Hospital.

Rolling and assembly of the LSF wall panels and roof strusses by Trumod started on 7 August 2020, and was essentially completed by mid-October 2020, on time, eight weeks from start – which meant delivery of LSF for 2 000m2 of floor area per week.

Trumod rolled the LSF, and assembled wall panels and trusses at their factory in Springs before delivery to site. Most of the internal walls consist of standard drywall construction, ie 63mm wide non-loadbearing drywall studs, clad with gypsum board. Trumod also supplied the profiled roof sheet for the entire project.

The Baragwanath project has been a great example of all the benefits that LSF has to offer – speed of construction, off-site fabrication which reduced the number of workers on site, accuracy, good insulation and neat finishes. Whilst the start of the project was delayed due to architectural and engineering issues, once the green light was given, Trumod managed to claw back on lost time and the project is shortly due for completion.



Summit XPS Board – Above Expectations

Well known supplier to the building industry, Swartland, will soon be launching Summit XPS Insulation Board as part of its Summit range of insulation and decorative ceiling products. We speak to Daneel Pretorius, Category Manager for Summit, about the many benefits of its new XPS insulation board.

If you are considering using green insulation in building or renovating a residential or commercial property – that’s great, not only because it will make the finished building a much more comfortable space to be in, but it will also reduce the energy required to keep the interiors at a comfortable temperature, and it is a better choice for the environment. There are currently several types of eco-friendly insulation to choose from – with extruded polystyrene, or XPS, being one of the most popular.

Daneel Pretorius, Category Manager for Swartland’s Summit range, elaborates: “XPS is a wonderful environmentally-friendly insulation solution – it is energy-efficient, easy to install and lightweight, which is why we are so excited to introduce the new Summit XPS Insulation Board to the market. It is affordable, 100% locally-made and manufactured in the Swartland factory, following strict global warming potential protocol to ensure a zero ozone depletion potential rating.”

What is Summit XPS Insulation Board?

“Essentially, XPS is extruded polystyrene foam board designed to create a single layer of thermal and moisture protection on a building’s walls, roof or floor, thereby greatly contributing to its overall energy efficiency,” explains Daneel. He says that XPS begins as solid granules of polystyrene resin, which are fed into an extruder where they are melted and mixed with additives to form a viscous fluid.

From there, a blowing agent is injected into the viscous liquid to enable expansion. Then under carefully controlled heat and pressure conditions, the mixture is forced through a die into a mould. Once hardened, the board is trimmed to various lengths and thicknesses to suit a wide gamut of commercial, agricultural and industrial thermal insulation applications. “This continuous process results in a closed-cell structure, which imparts excellent long-term strength and durability to the XPS boards,” says Daneel.

The many benefits of XPS Insulation Board

 There are so many benefits to this amazing building material – some of which include:

Environmentally-friendly: Summit XPS Insulation Board is a very green material as it not only makes buildings more energy-efficient, but its manufacture does not result in harmful wastes or by-products. The gasses used in the manufacturing process have zero ozone depletion potential, with no significant contribution to increasing greenhouse gasses. It is also 100% recyclable, and its exceptionally long lifespan reduces its overall carbon footprint.

Versatility: XPS can be used for a wide variety of applications, including as nail-up ceiling and insulation, also as ceilinged insulation between trusses for an exposed truss look, over-rafter insulation, over-purlin insulation, cavity/perimeter wall insulation and under-floor (surface bed) insulation.  To maximise its versatility, Summit XPS Insulation Board is available in thicknesses of 30mm, 40mm and 50mm, with special orders of 60mm to 100mm also available. As far as lengths are concerned, it is available in lengths of between 1,8m up to 8m, and you can choose between a faux Pine and smooth finish.

 No leaks and easy installation: Summit XPS Insulation Board comes standard with tongue-and-groove edging, which makes for exceptionally easy installation. It also provides a tight, energy-efficient seal, stopping air leaks and gaps, and preventing any hot or cold air from escaping.

 Lower heating and cooling costs: The main driver behind insulation is to reduce the cost of keeping a building’s interior cool in summer and warm in winter. A well-insulated building will be easier to cool or heat, as it will keep more of the cool or hot air indoors, preventing it from escaping. Summit XPS Insulation Board is an incredibly efficient thermal insulator, making it an excellent insulation material and reducing the amount of energy required to keep a building’s interior at a comfortable temperature. Remember – the thicker the XPS, the more insulation it offers.

Endurance: The insulative qualities of various insulation materials often degrade over time – resulting in slowly rising utility bills. However, this is not the case with Summit XPS Insulation Board – its closed-cell structure makes it really strong, ensuring an exceptionally long lifespan when compared to other traditional materials. Not only does this negate the issue of rising heating and cooling costs, but it also saves money as you won’t need to replace your insulation as often, and it lowers its cradle-to-grave carbon footprint, making it a wonderfully green building material.

 No mildew: Mould and mildew can be very detrimental to the health of both people and pets, and it can contribute to possible damage to the structural integrity of a building. Summit XPS Insulation Board does not absorb moisture, and as such, it does not present a favourable environment for mildew or mould to grow. In fact, it serves as a barrier against moisture – helping to prevent this from ever becoming a problem.


No flame-spread hazard: Summit XPS Insulation Board will be classified as B/B1/2/H&V in terms of SANS 428, which means that although it is combustible, it poses no flame-spread hazard. Exposed to fire, it will shrink away from the heat source, creating no flaming droplets or flame-spread.

Daneel concludes: “The Summit XPS Insulation Board offers high compressive strength and excellent long-term thermal resistance performance. As part of Swartland’s Summit range of insulation and decorative ceiling products, the same world-class manufacturing processes are ensured, and it promises to offer best-in-market perfomance and national after-sales service that the building industry has come to expect from Swartland.”

If you would like more information about our XPS products, visit



New Self-Leveller From Mapei

Mapei South Africa is excited to announce the launch of its new locally manufactured self-levelling compound – ULTRAPLAN ECO 20. As a direct result of requests from the market, the decision was taken to add this innovative new product into our basket as an add on to the existing ULTRAPLAN range which has been available for some time.

“ULTRAPLAN ECO has proven to be a fantastic product and will continue to be ideal for use in the environments that are subjected to heavy traffic due to its 26-30Mpa compressive strength. MAPEI subsequently encountered requests for a solution for residential and light traffic areas which lead to the development of ULTRAPLAN ECO 20 which has all the benefits and features of ULTRAPLAN ECO, but with a lower compressive strength.” explains Chad Tosen – Technical Sales Consultant for Soft Coverings and Industrial Flooring.

This high-quality, self-levelling solution is a rapid-setting compound which can be used to correct substrates with thicknesses of between 1 to 10mm. Furthermore, it has very low emissions of volatile organic compounds making it safe to use internally without any additional safety equipment and minimal impact on the environment. Once mixed with water, ULTRAPLAN ECO 20 becomes an easily workable self-levelling compound which can be applied via either a trowel or pin rake. For larger applications in excess of 100m2, an automatic pressure pump can also be used.

ULTRAPLAN ECO 20 will be easily identifiable on site as the finished product is pale pink in appearance.  This will be a benefit to all end users as it ensures the correct product is used for the correct application.

MAPEI South Africa has extended the ULTRAPLAN range to include ULTRAPLAN MAXI which will be available to the local market in the near future. ULTRAPLAN MAXI accommodates thicknesses from 1 and 40mm in a single application whilst still encompassing all the standard features of the ULTRAPLAN range.

About Mapei South Africa

Mapei South Africa is part of the Mapei Group, an Italian-based multinational that is a leading manufacturer of chemical and adhesive products for the construction industry. As part of the multinational group, Mapei South Africa passes numerous benefits onto its client base by having access to knowledgeable technical experts, research capabilities and product specialists. Mapei South Africa distributes its products throughout sub-Saharan Africa.



A Guide To Industrial Flooring

The correct flooring choice for industrial sites is mission critical, delivering a secure, sterile, and well-organised operative workfloor. But, selecting the appropriate industrial flooring presents challenges as floor failure may be inevitable within 14 months, with attendant client headaches and capital outlay, as well as legal issues.

Ameliorating potential disaster depends on following the correct procedure in choosing the most appropriate flooring that satisfies the mandates of the context-specific work environment with regard to the rules of the particular industries’ well-being, security, sanitation and accordance.

Some pointers to avoid during the ordering procedure comprise selecting a finish based solely on looks, choosing the least expensive option, going with the identical previous choice, and ignoring the state of the substrate or the practical use of the site. These criteria will result in a floor that snaps, powderises and disintegrates when used for the daily operations it is intended.

Look at flooring properties (anti-bacterial agents, anti-slip aggregates and the dissipation of electricity) when considering industrial floor destruction triggers such as chemical abuse from a water, dust, fuels, sanitizers, acids, lubricants, and in certain industries, by-products from foodstuffs including sugars, hot oils, blood and grease. Finish as well as substrate and soil degradation may result, and the corrosiveness of contaminates depending on their temperatures must be factored in.

Another consideration is risk auditing the degree to which the floor is exposed to corrosion, divided into immersion, intermittent spillage or infrequent contact.  And, traffic loading, equipment being moved, dropped tools, dragged pallets and forklift traffic places extra strain on the floor. Here, determining the compressive floor strength defines the suitable flooring needed per task.

Industrial facilities are subject to stringent cleaning with hot water / steam to get rid of grease and fuel – these factories usually experience room temperatures, so heated cleaning produces thermal shock with flooring exposed to unusually hot temperatures

Flooring comprising epoxy, vinyl or MMA is unsuited to thermal shock, leading to cracking, delamination and material damage / failure during temperature fluctuations, including thermal cycling (temperature raised or lowered seasonally or during cleaning).

Successful flooring finishes hinge on correct substrates underpinning them, and inferior substrate / concrete results in delamination (smooth concrete, failure to remove the laitance, ineffective bonding of resin to substrate).

Concrete absorbs ground moisture and new concrete has a significant moisture content until dried, so its pH level and moisture content adversely affects flooring (causing blistering and debonding), necessitating the analysis of the moisture level during specification, and the use of a damp-proof membrane (DPM) if necessary, which smooths the moisture vapour transition).



Floor Screeds

Following a 1:3 or 1:4.5 ratio of cement to sharp sand, floor screeds comprise cementitious matter, spread over precast concrete flooring or in-situ concrete ground flooring.  Options for application include direct base bonding, unbonded laying over a moisture-proof membrane that is positioned over the slab. Another method is to apply it on a layer of firm insulation material for application with cast-in water pipes to deliver underfloor heating.

For fortification, use a fine metal of glass mesh; the screed may be kept as is or floated to enable smooth surfacing to lay the finish over.

If reinforcement is required, this can either be in the form of a fine metal mesh, fibres which are normally polypropylene or a fine glass mesh. Ready, factory-mixed sand / cement screeds trump site-mixed ones in terms of consistency. Pumpable flowing screeds deliver more level surfaces. These are calcium sulphur binder-based, applied (with varying minimum thickness) more quickly than sand / cement screeds, and can be used in combination with underfloor heating

Cement Sand Screeds

The most likely cause of bonded screed failure to the below substrate is if the screed is too thick, and an unbonded screed fails by lifting or curling, which happens if the screed is too thin. The ideal bonded screed thickness is >50 mm and unbonded < 70 mm to 100 mm to avoid curling.

Criteria for screed design (depth and type) include specified floor finishes, the construction tolerances and the provision of falls. Included is structural dictates like mitigating disproportionate collapse and the actioning of composite movement with the slab below.

Screed use can be avoided by stipulating more stringent construction tolerances that ensure direct flooring material flooring reception. If screeding is required, use cement sand screed or the more contemporary proprietary self-smoothing type.

The following definitions apply to specific screed types:

Levelling screed – screed finished to specified level to receive final flooring.

Wearing screed – screed that functions as flooring.

Bonded – screed laid onto a mechanically prepared substrate.

Unbonded – screed deliberately kept apart from substrate by membrane.

Floating  – type of unbonded screed laid on acoustic / thermal insulation.

Cement sand screed – contains sand up to 4 mm maximum aggregate size.

Fine concrete screed – contains concrete with maximum aggregate of 10 mm.

Pumpable self-smoothing screed – mixed to a liquid that can be moved by pump to site and will flow adequately to deliver the desired level accuracy and surface regularity (also known as self-levelling screeds).

Curling – upward deformation of screed edges.

Leveling equipment

The level and flatness of any concrete floor is of major concern for structural engineers, flooring inspectors, superintendents, finishing foremen and construction contractors.

Extreme concrete floor flatness (FF) and floor levelness (FL) are mandatory for sites containing carefully calibrated equipment, as well as for warehouses, offices and distribution centres. Even, level surfaces are conducive to secure lift truck activity, as well as guaranteeing that high-level vertical storage shelves are able to support electronic picking setups.

Electronic floor profilers were patented in the ‘70s in order to streamline floor flatness and levelling, and were manually operated wheeled machines that created new floor measurement codes, known as F-numbers, which became standardised indicators of FF and FL for industry.

Other pour concrete floor finishing enhancers, eg the laser screed and ride-on power trowel, were also developed, as well as laser scanning. The latter assists in “reality capture” and has immense use in digitally capturing the surface topography of a freshly minted concrete pour in 3D form.

Aberrations in floor flatness and level can be analysed with computer software for the benefit of inspectors and concrete contractors. The exactness, rapidity, ease and flexibility of laser scanning is replacing traditional floor profiling devices as the new standard for FF/FL measurement

Practical floor application tools include spike shoes, spike rollers (For the removal of air bubbles from and cementitious floor coatings,  epoxy floor coatings and self-leveling screeds), rakes, adjustable levelers, squeegees and spatulas and mixing machines.


Coatings for Africa 2020, the largest exhibition and symposium for the paint and coatings sectors in Africa, has been postponed until June 2 to 4 next year.

The biennial event, staged by dmg events, in partnership with the South African Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) and The Oil & Colour Chemists’ Association (OCCA), was scheduled to be staged at the Sandton Convention Centre from May 6 to 8 this year but the in view of Covid 19 restrictions on both mass gatherings as well as international travel, it was decided to postpone the event until next year. The venue will remain Sandton Convention Centre.

Over 1400 participants from 35 countries (including 12 from Africaattended Coatings for Africa 2018 where 32 industry experts addressed 210 conference delegates.

Deryck Spence, executive director of SAPMA, said both SAPMA and OCCA are disappointed about the postponement of Coatings for Africa 2020 but felt it was undoubtedly the right decision in the interests of public safety. “Given more time to prepare and intent on boosting marketing after global lockdown losses, we can now expect an even bigger – if not record-breaking – Coatings for Africa show next year,” Spence stated.

The SAPMA annual general meeting on May 12 at 2pm would still be held but for this year it will be an online meeting (GoToMeeting) only, he added.


Update to Extension of NEMA and EIA Timeframes, plus Late Payment Survey

On 27 March, the WCPDF informed members that Minister Anton Bredell – Western Cape Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning – issued his decision to extend all timeframes regarding NEMA and EIA regulations, for actions and processes affected by the 21-day lockdown, by two months effective from 27 March to 26 May 2020.

Please note that this decision has been withdrawn in light of a new directive issued by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment in terms of Regulation 10(8) of the Regulations governing the Disaster Management Act. The new national directive, which has been gazetted, extends the timeframe indefinitely until the end of the lockdown, and makes provision to include any extensions of the lockdown that may occur. To see Min Bredell’s withdrawal notice, also containing contact information, please click here.  To see the new national directive as gazetted, please click here.

In addition, the WCPDF encourages all members to participate in an industry-wide survey aimed at establishing whether late payment of professionals by government departments, implementing agents and municipalities is a problem in South Africa and if so, how big of a problem it actually is.

To find out more and participate in the survey, please click on the applicable link below before 15 April 2020:

  • For Built Environment Professionals, click here.
  • For Contractors, click here.
We thank The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) for driving this initiative and we look forward to sharing the results with you once they are made available to us.

Heavy Earth Moving Equipment Ideally Suited To Construction

Key to construction projects spanning the full range of sizes (from domestic to heavy industrial) is heavy equipment. The range of description applying to earth moving equipment covers a huge sector of machines that excavate and grade soil and rock. These also serve to increase the pace of earth work, materials handling, demolition and construction.

Vital to construction projects, these heavy construction machines serve a variety of purposes and have many functions. Let’s take a look at the most important machines for major construction projects.


Driven by tracks or wheels, excavators are substantial in size, and usually have a 360-degree rotating long bucket arm connected to a pivoting cab. Ensuring a 360-degree line of sight, the operator is positioned in the cab. These machines have added fit for purpose qualities, can be modified with specific attachments for jobs, and are used for river dredging, mining, heavy lifting and pipe installation, rough grading, demolition, brush cutting, excavating trenches and materials handling.

Backhoe Loaders

These machines look like farm tractors, comprising a front adjustable shovel and a back digging bucket. Medium-sized and suitable for small to medium jobs, they can operate in tight spaces. Backhoe loaders place pipes, dig holes and trenches, backfill excavations and move dirt. Ideally suited to urban areas where they can be wheel driven, their back buckets can be altered to dig trenches.


Considered by many to be the most strong and dependable machines in the construction sector, bulldozers shift dirt along large areas of land, as well as rough or fine grading, and in certain cases crushing boulders. Their front blades are wide and flat, operated by hydraulic pistons which adjust the blades to different angles and depths.

Skid-Steer Loaders

Versatile, these loaders are compact and able to circulate in their own footprint. Similar to a tank, they are suited for confined space work or in regions where work has been completed. They are driven by wheels which lessen soil compacting and disruption to completed areas, with excellent traction in snow and mud. The loaders come in different sizes and can be fitted with different addons for digging, drilling, compacting, log grappling, snow blowing and jack-hammering.

Motor Graders

These move small tranches of dirt and are used for fine grading, gravel roads and preparing road bases prior to asphalt placement, with an adjustable blade that can create a flat surface. Motor graders may be fitted with a second blade in the front axle for mining operations. Also used to make surfaces and drainage ditches with shallow V-shaped cross sections.

Crawler Loaders

A blend of a bucket loader and an excavator, it has tracks for stability and its bucket is suitable for transporting soil and loading material onto vehicles. These machines can be used for small excavations.


These dig trenches for piping and cabling, and comprise multiple sizes, from large trenching machines that can cut into asphalt pavement and other hard surfaces, to small walk-behind versions.  Trenchers have a conveyer feature to transport the excavated dirt to the adjacent ground. Attaching certain digging implements depends on the trench depth and evacuated material.


These transport material at a rapid pace around a construction project, and dig and level big land areas. Designed mostly for open areas, scarpers are big machines running at high speeds for cut and fill operations. Their sizes range from large (motor scrapers) to small (pull scrapers).

Dump Trucks

Highly useful on construction sites, these machines have the vital function of moving and dumping material that weighs a ton. Dump Trucks are suitable for use on roads and so can transport material to and from site, consisting of a range of sizes depending on the job needs (small with dump beds to extra-large ones for mining.

Tower Cranes

These fixed cranes hoist material for use in construction structures at height, and can lift heavy components such as concrete blocks, steel trusses and frames to the desired height. Tower cranes comprise the mast (vertical supporting tower), jib (operating arm of crane), counter jib (rear counter weight carrying arm) and an operator cabin from which to operate the crane.


Operating in the construction of roads to lay equipment, these have a feeding bucket into which asphalt is loaded nonstop by the dump truck. After the paver evenly spreads the asphalt on the road surface with a degree of compaction, a roller finishes the required compaction.


These compact the material / earth surface, and come in three different types. Smooth wheel rollers compact shallow layers, sheep-foot rollers compact deep layers and pneumatic tyred rollers compact fine materials.

Feller Bunchers

Feller Bunchers are tree cutting and removing heavy equipment. Without felling, they cut and grab trees, gathering them in one location for loaders and dump trucks to remove them.

Pile Driving Equipment

More heavy-duty equipment used for construction sites and areas, specifically for pile foundation procedures. These equipment components lift piles and hold them in the required position, then drives them into the ground at the necessary depth.

Diverse pile driving machines, falling under the banner of pile driving equipment, consist of Piling Rigs, Piling Hammers and Hammer Guides. In all cases, piles are inserted into the ground by repeatedly hammering the pile top, either by dropping or hydraulic methods.



WearCheck Announces Acquisition Of Reliability Testing Company AFS

WearCheck Announces Acquisition Of Reliability Testing Company AFS

A view of one of WearCheck’s 16 laboratories. Many companies in the construction industry invest long-term in WearCheck’s condition monitoring programme, citing the many benefits of predictive maintenance through scientific oil analysis – such as completing jobs without delays caused by component failure, and finishing projects within budget by avoiding unplanned maintenance costs.

WearCheck’s new NDT capability further enhances its offering to the construction sector.

Durban-based condition monitoring specialists, WearCheck, has acquired Anglo Field Services (AFS), which adds three new established divisions to the company’s comprehensive reliability solutions portfolio, including non-destructive testing (NDT), technical compliance (TC) and rope condition assessment (RCA).

The fourth AFS division – asset maintenance management (AMM) – has been absorbed into WearCheck’s existing Reliability Solutions team, boosting the company’s man-power in this section as well as adding technical expertise and additional instrumentation.

Branching into Non-destructive Testing means that WearCheck now conducts a range of analysis techniques through which the properties and condition of a component or system are evaluated without causing any damage to it.

WearCheck MD Neil Robinson is positive that the addition of new testing techniques to the company’s reliability solutions services portfolio – including non-destructive testing, technical compliance and rope testing – will help customers reduce maintenance costs and enhance convenience

NDT methods are gaining popularity because they do not permanently alter the item undergoing inspection, making NDT a valuable tool that can save both money and time in condition monitoring and inspections – an approach which dovetails perfectly with WearCheck’s ethos.

WearCheck’s new NDT division offers a range of techniques, including eddy-current-, magnetic-particle-, liquid penetrant-, radiographic-, ultrasonic-, and visual testing.

The new rope testing division provides specialist cable strength assessment and is manned by seven of only 12 people in South Africa who are qualified to conduct these tests.

The technical compliance division provides expert guidance to assist companies to comply with regulatory requirements, and how to rectify violations or problems highlighted during audits.

Prior to merging with WearCheck, AFS operated as part of Anglo’s Technical Division under the Anglo Research section, where they provided specialist NDT and materials consultancy services to Anglo Group companies and other clients on a global basis.

WearCheck is now positioned to offer customers access to an augmented portfolio of reliability solutions in a comprehensive one-stop-shop, leading to cost savings and boosted convenience for customers.

WearCheck MD Neil Robinson believes that the addition of new services enhances the availability of assets operated by WearCheck customers by expanding the choice of condition monitoring options.

For example,” says Robinson, “the development and implementation of NDT procedures will have a profound impact on keeping operational maintenance costs down for our customers, especially in the construction sector.

The incorporation of AFS into WearCheck has been a seamless process so far, mainly because the two companies operate with a parallel devotion to data integrity and a shared dedication to customer service excellence,” said Robinson.

WearCheck conducts scientific analysis of used oil from construction vehicles and other equipment used in the building industry. The data is used to predict when / if a component needs remedial maintenance, thus avoiding on-the-job machine failure. Here, Des Rodel of WearCheck Cape Town prepares to process used oil samples.

All 30 AFS staff members have been absorbed into WearCheck’s staff complement, adding their invaluable expertise and knowledge to the WearCheck team.

From our side, WearCheck extends a heartfelt welcome to all current AFS customers, and we look forward to bringing new field services clients on board as well as giving our existing clients the benefit of our increased reliability optimisation service offering.”

Some of WearCheck’s customers in the construction sector include:

Stefanutti Stocks



Diesel Power

Sandton Plant Hire


Seneca Civils


WK Construction

Sandvik Mining & Construction

Aveng Group


Fraser Alexander Construction


Coolants, fuels and oils used in industrial equipment are tested and analysed by condition monitoring specialists, WearCheck, in order to implement planned maintenance of components. Doing this helps avoid unscheduled machine failure, which can have a severely negative influence on production and on the bottom line. Here, senior lab technician Trevor Pillay conducts coolant testing at WearCheck’s Pinetown laboratory.

All these customers generally use the standard automotive oil testing kit, and WearCheck also tests coolants and fuels for some of them.

Also of importance to the construction sector is WearCheck’s Plant Asset Optimisation, where condition monitoring forms the basis of a well-established Condition Base Maintenance program, forming an integral part of plant asset optimisation. This not only increases profit, but plant availability too, by reducing unplanned downtime and catastrophic failure of rotating components on plant assets. It is therefore highly beneficial to know the health and the condition of both machine and plant, through effective measuring and monitoring. The condition monitoring team consists of experienced and well-trained personnel, trained in the various technologies and with the ability to perform special investigation on machines,

plant equipment and their structures using specialised techniques such as Operational Deflection Shape (ODS), transient analysis and resonances tests.

Founded 40 years ago, WearCheck is a leading condition monitoring specialist on the African continent, processing in excess of 600 000 samples per annum. The company has evolved into a one-stop-shop for a vast range of reliability solutions services across a number of industries, including the construction sector.

WearCheck is a proud member of the prestigious International WearCheck Group (IWG), an association of independent laboratories around the globe, dedicated to oil and wear particle analysis. WearCheck’s relationship with the IWG allows for the ongoing exchange of advanced technical information, and the ability to offer a worldwide service.

ELB’s new PE branch records impressive machine sales

ELB’s new PE branch records impressive machine sales

Equipment sales have sky-rocketed in the Port Elizabeth region where multi-franchise supplier, ELB Equipment recently opened a modern branch and fully equipped workshop in order to meet growing customer demand for its products.

Emile Schmidt is the ELB Equipment branch manager in Port Elizabeth

With a wide range of the world most recognised earthmoving, mining and construction equipment the new branch has met lofty projected sales targets since opening its doors late last year. Even before the official opening of the branch at the end of January this year, the equipment supplier had reported sales which include crushers, trenchless technologies and rollers, as well as smaller equipment such as compactors and rammers.
In addition, local sales representatives are finalising several sales negotiations on several larger machines and have been inundated with requests for quotations from local contractors for Government tenders and road construction projects.

Well-timed entry
According to ELB Equipment’s Port Elizabeth branch manager, Emile Schmidt, sales have far exceeded expectation and has underpinned the timeous entry of one of the country’s favourite equipment suppliers into the Port Elizabeth region.

“Although we have long had a branch in East London with dedicated sales and service representatives calling on customers within the region, calls from the market have grown steadily and we have responded by establishing a modern, fully equipped and well-situated branch in the heart of the business district in Sidwell.

“We have also ensured that we have sufficient space to hold sufficient stock of machines to meet the requirements of the region and customers driving along the N2 in the city will see our signage and demo units of some big machines like our Sumitomo excavators, MST backhoe loaders, Ammann rollers and smaller machines like our Gehl skidsteers and Ammann walk behind compactors,” says Schmidt.

City to benefit

ELB Equipment branch launch in Port Elizabeth

He adds that the entry of the company into the local market will also introduce best-of-breed equipment for the development of the region including dedicated trenching machines for the laying of the city’s fibre optic networks, trenchless drilling and other technologies for the laying of water and other infrastructure, as well as replacement of the city’s ageing sewer and potable water pipelines.

This is in addition to the company’s well-known brands of earthmoving, construction and mining equipment such as, Kawasaki wheel loaders, Sumitomo excavators, Ammann compactors, Hidromek graders, Gehl materials handling equipment and backhoe loaders, MST backhoe loaders, Furukawa rockdrills and hydraulic breakers, as well as Terex, Powerscreen, Telestack and Evoquip processing equipment, among others.

A hi-tech and fully equipped workshop has also been established for servicing and maintenance of fleets and is complemented with comprehensive field services spanning throughout the entire region. A large parts warehouse has also been established to ensure quick turnaround of parts throughout the region.

Local team
“The reason for our success is in the quality of equipment and services that we offer. Being part of the JSE listed ELB Group clients can rest assured that our ethics and integrity is in-tact, this also improves our buying power ensuring our clients can get more for less.

“Another advantage has proven to be our all-local team, who understand local challenges and requirements and make it easier for customers to communicate their needs and requirements with us. Even with impressive sales so far, we have only just begun reaching out to our customers and potential customers so will undoubtedly be the solutions provider clients in other areas of the country know us to be,” Schmidt concludes.

STIHL – putting the cutting edge into construction

STIHL – putting the cutting edge into construction

STIHL: the first name in construction power tools

Having the right tool for the job makes everything easier, faster, safer. On site, you can trust in STIHL power tools to get it done properly – no fuss, no headaches. When it comes to cutting and boring, there’s a choice of STIHL tools that have been specially designed for the task at hand.

Take for example, the TS 440 cut-off machine. This model can cut in out-of-sight and hard-to-reach areas such as corners, the buried bottom part of pipes, the lower section of walls and other limited access spots where the guard positions on traditional cut-off machines make cutting difficult. The guard on the TS 440 has been adjusted to expose the top portion of the wheel for work-anywhere flexibility. Is it safe? You bet: the expanded guard adjustability is made possible by the TS 440’s world-first sensor-activated Quickstop wheel brake technology, which stops the wheel rotating in fractions of a second if kickback occurs.

Other useful features include a top handle for well-balanced handling and increased manoeuvrability and the electronic water control for easy and efficient water flow adjustment while cutting. It also conveniently retains the last setting. The water flow automatically stops at idle speed and restarts when the throttle is engaged.

If cordless convenience is what you need, look no further than the TSA 230 cut-off machine that is powered by Lithium-Ion battery technology. There are no emissions and its quieter performance make it well suited for use indoors and in enclosed spaces. It cuts neatly and effectively to a depth of 70mm, and when fitted with a choice of STIHL abrasive wheels can tackle steel and metal pipes, concrete, bricks and roof tiles. With an impressive performance, the TSA 230 is easy and comfortable to handle.

The big brother of the TS 440 and TSA 230 is the TS 800, STIHL’s most powerful cut-off saw with a 5.0 kW engine and 400mm cutting wheel. This model is ideal for long cuts and slicing through metal, concrete and asphalt to a depth of 150mm. Its low weight, anti-vibration system, water attachment for dust suppression and wrap-around loop handle all facilitate comfortable cutting, with the added benefit of a long filter service life and increased service intervals thanks to its innovative long-life air filter system with cyclone air routing. This model can be operated by hand or with an FW 20 cart.

For perfect corners, the GS 461 cuts neatly through concrete, masonry and ductile cast iron pipes, making light work of free hand and precision-cutting tasks and boasting an impressive cutting depth. It handles like a chain saw and this manoeuvrability makes the GS 461 ideal for plunge cutting, working in tight spots or close up against a 90° corner. The GS 461 is equipped with low emission and environmentally-friendly 2-MIX engine technology and has an anti-vibration system for added user comfort. The guide bar is fitted with water channels to wash, cool and lubricate the chain, chain track and sprocket nose, extending their lifespan and significantly reducing dust while cutting.

If you need to dig holes for fencing or support beams, for example, the STIHL BT 131 one-man auger is a high performance, lightweight power tool that combines the benefits of two-stroke and four-stroke technology with its fuel-efficient 1.4kW STIHL 4-MIX engine, while the enlarged fuel tank allows for longer working periods without refuelling. This model has a low-vibration handle frame, control handle with stop button, long-life air filter system, and large support cushion for added operator comfort.

So there it is: cutting, cornering, boring – STIHL has a tool for every on-site task. With tools that are simple and efficient to use, cost-effective and powerful, with must-have safety features, STIHL is the perfect working partner.