Concrete Offers Myriad Advantages

Concrete Offers Myriad Advantages

Due to its durability, versatility, aesthetic appeal, cost-effectiveness and availability, concrete is changing the face of South Africa’s landscape with cutting-edge architects and engineers increasingly making concrete their material of choice.

Concrete is the most economical choice for engineered structures, says TCI MD Bryan Perrie

Here, Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute, (TCI) deals with the benefits of the world’s oldest and most popular building material:

Economic benefits:

Due to its longevity and ease of construction, concrete is often the most economical choice for engineered structures. Load-bearing concrete exterior precast or tilt-up walls serve not only to enclose the buildings, but to carry roof and wind loads – eliminating the need to erect separate cladding and structural systems.

Lower energy costs:

The energy efficiency of a structure is a major consideration in the life cycle cost analysis. Concrete construction can minimise the overall building height to shorten vertical runs of mechanical and electrical systems and reduce the exterior surface area to be enclosed and insulated.

Insulated concrete buildings with a medium to high level of thermal mass are characterised by their inherent ability to store thermal energy, and then release it several hours later when needed.

Faster turnaround:

Once the design has been selected, there is generally pressure to get a project started. More and more organisations are making speed a priority, particularly high technology companies and rapidly growing firms. When such businesses decide to construct a new facility, they are often overburdened and already behind schedule. With concrete designs, there is no delay in getting started as concrete is readily available from many locations across South Africa. A concrete structure can be well underway using in-situ concrete before final plans are complete. Precast/prestressed concrete can also help reduce construction time and on-site labour costs by taking advantage of pre-fabrication of standard and custom structure segments.

From multi-billion rand massive dams to simple low-cost housing schemes, concrete is the logical choice

Advanced construction techniques such as ‘flying formwork systems’, increase the speed of floor construction. As a concrete frame progresses upward, workers on the completed floors below can proceed with interior partitions, exterior finishing, electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems.

Generating revenue faster:

Faster construction means reduced carrying costs and faster revenue generation. This facilitates more timely pay back of financing charges and faster revenue generation for the developer/owner.

Versatility:

The design flexibility of concrete allows the contractor to accommodate design changes after the process has begun.

Design and colours:

Limited only by a designer’s imagination, the breadth of designs, colours and textured finishes available in concrete today is unrivalled. Mixing and matching colours and textures provides a spectrum of design possibilities.

Textures:

Concrete textures can resemble smooth, high-polished granite or gutsy, exposed aggregates with a rugged feel. Other possibilities include tumbled cobblestone, brick, cultured limestone, slate, flagstone or river rock.

Stamping and scoring:

As natural stone becomes inaccessible or the costs rise prohibitively, concrete is a natural alternative for recreating traditional finishes in a cost-effective way. Besides being widely available and less expensive than quarried stone, cement-based cultured stone is easier to match and install. This makes it popular even in places where quantities of quarried stone are available.

Reduced sound transmission:

Containing sound within the walls of a structure is critical in today’s highly competitive environment. Should the tenant requirements include sound transmission control, the natural mass of concrete floor and wall systems provides both acoustical resistance and vibration control.

Creative wiring options:

Thin concrete floor structures facilitate the use of raised floor systems used where the wiring is run in the space below.

More floors per structure:

Shallower floor systems are an important structural advantage of concrete. On average, the construction of concrete buildings will allow one additional floor to be created for each 10 storeys of traditional building height, resulting in more rentable space for buildings of similar size. When faced with height restrictions, concrete construction is a key consideration and could represent initial construction cost savings and additional income generation. Longer spans:

Post-tensioning reinforced concrete beams and slabs allow for longer floor spans with fewer columns to plan around. This offers flexibility in architectural layout and even more usable space. Increasingly, concrete is setting the standard for space planning and utility infrastructure.

Fire resistance:

The range of designs, colours and textured finishes available in concrete is limited only by a designer’s imagination

Concrete is often left exposed on interior walls due to its aesthetic appeal, durability and inherent fire-resistance.

Ideal for strict specifications:

A major advantage of concrete construction for engineered structures is the material’s properties of density and mass. Lateral stiffness, or resistance to horizontal movement, make concrete the product of choice when constructing tall buildings where high winds or seismic conditions are considerations. This lateral stiffness also means that occupants of concrete towers are less able to perceive building motion.

Energy efficiency:

Most concrete is produced locally, minimising fuel requirements for handling and transportation. Once in place, concrete offers significant energy savings over the lifetime of the structure. The mass of a concrete structure makes it a significant thermal reservoir with the ability to store large amounts of energy. In hot months, concrete walls and floors absorb the interior heat during the day, then radiate warmth back into the space at night. The same principle holds true for cooling. This thermal inertia allows concrete to help maintain a relatively steady interior temperature.

Recycling:

Concrete is an inert material that is easily recyclable. Old concrete that has reached the end of its service life can be reused as aggregate for new concrete mixtures. The addition of industrial by-products such as fly ash, silica fume and blast furnace slag make concrete less permeable while incorporating materials that would otherwise be deposited in landfill sites.

South African Cement Producers Apply For Protection Against Imports

South African Cement Producers Apply For Protection Against Imports

The Concrete Institute (TCI) has on behalf of the South African cement producers applied to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) of South Africa to investigate the surge of imports of low-priced cement.

TCI has lodged the application on behalf of AfriSam, Dangote Cement SA, Lafarge Industries South Africa, Natal Portland Cement Company, and PPC.

Bryan Perrie, TCI Managing Director, says imported cement is undercutting the industry by at least 45%. When this is combined with unprecedented low levels of demand due to slowed economic growth, the industry is facing a survival crisis which threatens to undermine the industrial capacity of the country. “The cement industry has no option but to request ITAC to conduct a safeguard investigation to determine whether the cement industry requires protection from the surge in imports,” he states.

Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute

Perrie says South Africa has become a net importer of cement with total imports increasing by 139% since 2016 which makes trade remedy protection vital to ensure the viability of the cement industry. “Local producers have the capacity to meet the Southern African Customs Union’s industrial demand and must protect employment, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BEEE) investments and Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) requirements. The SA cement industry needs to compete on a level playing field and not against a surge of low-priced imports,” Perrie asserts.

The South African cement industry is very competitive. The cement, concrete and affiliated industries employ thousands of South Africans whose jobs would be on the line if local cement production is not protected. Importantly, several producers have significant B-BBEE investments that are at stake.”

In addition to the surge in low-priced imports, a “carbon tax” was introduced in June 2019 on the South African cement industry’s activities that has increased the industry’s production cost. The effect of this tax translates into a 2% increase in selling prices, putting the local cement industry at a further disadvantage against imports. 

Local pricing reflects the standards (technical, social and environmental) that have been determined by South Africa as necessary for local manufacturing. SA cement manufacturing processes are regulated, from environmental impact assessments to strict quality controls, and from labour and employment regulations to sustainability requirements and South Africa is a signatory of the Paris Accord on CO2 emissions.

In support of the application, TCI has outlined that:  

  • A total of 350 441 tons of cement arrived in RSA during the second quarter of 2019 – the most since the third quarter of 2015; 

  • Most of the cement landed at Durban. The 260 909 tons that arrived there is an 85% increase on the first quarter of this year;

  • Imports from Vietnam totalled 301 872 tons;

  • Imports have exceeded exports by over 50 000 tons during the past year;

  • Total imports increased by 139% since 2016;

  • Employment in the industry increased by less than 0.5%; and

  • South Africa represents roughly 1% of total exports from Vietnam, for example, where exports have increased by 50% in the first half of 2018 to 15 million tons according to information provided by Global Cement. 

Perrie feels the South African economy is at a crossroad where trade policy determinations will play a critical role in determining the industrial direction of the country. “The key to future growth lies in achieving greater efficiencies within the country’s relevant manufacturing sectors. The cement industry must compete on a level playing field and not be scrambling to survive against low priced imports. The sector needs space to grow, which a successful ITAC application would provide,” he states.

Precautions To Reduce Health Risks In Concrete Work

Precautions To Reduce Health Risks In Concrete Work

As with many other materials, there are potential risks involved in handling or working with portland cement or mixes made using portland cement. Here Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute, provides guidance on how to avoid the effects of unprotected exposure.

Water in concrete mix can cause alkali burns and safety measures should be observed

The composition of portland cement is such that when dry cement is exposed to water a chemical reaction called hydration takes place, releasing a very strongly alkaline (and caustic) fluid. This can cause alkali burns and safety measures should be observed. Appropriate precautions are advised to prevent tissue damage when handling fresh mixes containing water and portland cement.

Cement dust, dusts from handling aggregates and from cutting concrete are easily inhaled. Prolonged or regular exposure to these dusts should be avoided.

Portland cement is a complex combination of compounds that includes minute quantities of trace elements. Although South African cements typically contain less than two parts per million of Hexavalent Chrome (widely regarded as a safe level), it may serve as an aggravating factor in cases of exposure to alkaline fluids. There have been some reports of allergic dermatitis after exposure to these fluids.

When fresh concrete or its bleed water comes into contact with human skin, the alkalis react with the oils and fats in the skin as well as the proteins in the skin itself causing tissue damage. Other organic tissue (e.g. mucous membrane) can also be attacked by strong alkalies leading to burns that can sometimes be severe, and users should try to avoid all unnecessary contact with these fluids. Where such contact is unavoidable, suitable precautions should be taken.

Roughness and dryness of the hands after working with concrete is a typical consequence of loss of these oils and fats. More prolonged exposure could result in irritant dermatitis. It is possible that the effects of trace elements may aggravate the condition and lead to an allergic dermatitis. To safeguard against accidental exposure, appropriate protective equipment is strongly recommended.

Impermeable gauntlet type rubber gloves and high length rubber boots should be worn to prevent direct contact with skin. Trousers should overlap the boots rather than be tucked into them. Hydrophobic alkali-resistant barrier creams should be applied to hands and any areas of skin likely to be in contact with fresh concrete. Ordinary barrier creams are likely to be inadequate.

These precautions may be ineffective if the skin itself is not clean and free of concrete residue. Even a tiny trace of cement dust remaining in contact with wet skin will raise the pH significantly. For this reason, some authorities recommend the use of disposable gloves and discourage reusable gloves.

Regularly wash (at least daily) protective clothing and keep it clean and free of concrete and wash any areas that have been accidentally splashed with wet concrete as soon as possible with large quantities of clean water. Ensure that normal and protective clothing does not become soaked with wet concrete or concrete fluids as this could result in exposure over an extended period, resulting in tissue damage.

Cement is an abrasive fine powder, and when handled, some dust may become suspended in the air in the working area. Users should avoid inhaling cement dust as this may cause irritation of the nose and throat. Cement dust may also cause irritation of the eyes. This will occur because of the chemical reaction of the suspended dust with the moist mucous membranes. Airborne cement dust should be kept to a minimum to avoid these problems. Should this be impractical, then the use of goggles and dust masks is strongly recommended.

Many of the aggregates used in concrete have high silica contents. The fine silica dusts created when crushing or handling these aggregates could cause lung problems, and precautions should be observed to avoid breathing in such dusts.

Dust from demolishing or cutting hardened concrete may contain unhydrated cement and could cause respiratory problems as outlined above. In addition, if the coarse or fine aggregate used in making the concrete contains crystalline silica, then inhalation of these fine silica particles could expose workers to the risk of developing silicosis. A concerted effort should be made to avoid generating such dusts. If this is not possible, the use of suitable respiratory protective equipment is recommended.

Site workers should also not kneel on fresh concrete during placing, compacting and finishing operations. If kneeling is unavoidable, thick waterproof kneepads should be worn with a kneeling board to prevent the pads sinking into the fresh concrete. In severe cases of alkali burns, a medical practitioner should be consulted as soon as possible.

How to handle hot weather concreting

Summer’s blazing weather poses challenges when it comes to concrete placement and finishing

How to handle hot weather concreting

Summer’s high temperatures can cause problems with concrete placement and finishing so it is important to take precautions to minimise the potential adverse effects when placing concrete in hot weather conditions.

Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute, offers some guidelines on minimising the effect of hot weather concrete:

The first option to be considered in exceptionally hot weather conditions is whether to postpone the placement of concrete. It is often better to wait than risk costly repairs, or even replacement of defective work and dissatisfied clients seeking compensation. If work is to proceed, proper planning from careful selection of materials to procedures for hot weather work is essential if risks are to be minimised.

Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute

As stated, planning for hot weather conditions is essential because of the potential effects on fresh and recently placed concrete. For plastic concrete, these include increased water demand and risk of plastic shrinkage cracking, greater slump loss, faster setting and difficulty in controlling entrained air content. For hardened concrete, the risks include lower strength, reduced durability and increased drying shrinkage.

Because aggregates can be the hottest part of the mix, they have the greatest effect on the initial temperature of the freshly mixed concrete. However, the temperature of the aggregates is difficult to control. It may help to shade stockpiles from the sun and keep them wet with sprinklers and cold water but keeping aggregates cool is not an easy task.

The mix water is easiest to cool, particularly by adding crushed ice to it.

The temperature of the cement does not usually contribute much to the temperature of freshly mixed concrete because of its low specific heat and relatively small mass in the mix. Liquid nitrogen, injected into the concrete while mixing, may be useful. Latent thermal energy on vaporisation to gas can cool the concrete substantially without adverse effect on the treated concrete. This process is usually economical only on major projects involving construction of large concrete elements.

Adding some admixtures to the mix can help in hot weather conditions. Water reducers (plasticisers) will reduce the water content and aid workability. Set-retarders can provide more time to place and finish flatwork but beware: the retarders can make the surface look ready for finishing but the concrete below may still be plastic from the retarder. This can lead to cracking of the finished surface and affect the uniformity of the surface finish.

The water component of a concrete mix is the easiest to cool during hot weather concreting: simply add crushed ice

Selection of a particular cement type may also help. Slower hydration cements with lower rate of heat development can provide extra time for placing and finishing while reducing the concrete temperature and the risk of thermal cracking upon cooling of the concrete.

Painting silos and readymix trucks white or silver can also help reduce concrete temperatures.

In hot weather concreting, problems can arise when site personnel are not aware of the effect of weather conditions, or if weather conditions change during the placing and finishing of the concrete. The builders and sub-contractors should be ready for all possibilities and when hot weather conditions are likely consult the concrete supplier as early as possible. It will also be useful to have standby equipment and manpower for all stages and use the largest size and amount of coarse aggregate possible for the job.

In determining the slumps of the concrete, consider scheduling concreting for the cooler parts of the day, or even do night placement if possible. Plan the locations of construction joints ahead of time with hot weather contingencies in mind and consider spacing contraction joints at slightly smaller intervals than when concreting at lower temperatures. Even consider using sunshades or windbreaks and the use of high-pressure mist sprayers during placing of slabs on the ground or for pavement construction.

As concrete will set more rapidly and have a shorter finishing time in hot weather, perform all operations rapidly – but don’t finish slabs prematurely such as while bleed water is still on the surface.

It is essential that all surfaces be kept continuously moist by curing the concrete. As drying, even intermittently, can produce drying shrinkage and crazing type cracking on the concrete surface, curing should start immediately after the slab has been finished, and is particularly important during the first day after placement and in hot or windy conditions.

Curing methods include ponding with water, use of wet hessian or cotton mats, continuous spray mist, covering with plastic sheeting or spraying on curing compounds. Adequate curing of the concrete must still be provided once final finishing has been completed.

Ideal – and essential: Introduction to Concrete

Ideal – and essential: Introduction to Concrete

The Concrete Institute’s School of Concrete Technology will this year again present a basic – but “absolutely essential” – training course in concrete technology for diverse operational levels in the construction sector.

John Roxburgh, senior lecturer at the School of Concrete Technology in Midrand, says the aptly-named two-day Introduction to Concrete course is suitable not only for emerging and new building contractors, small or medium-sized enterprises, but also for any newcomer to concrete-related work responsibilities.

John Roxburgh, senior lecturer at the School of Concrete Technology

For a start, sales and laboratory staff as well as site employees will greatly benefit from the SCT 10 Introduction to Concrete course. The training – augmented by laboratory sessions with hands-on experience – deals with essential elements of concrete operations such as getting the basics right and knowing why certain procedures and practices are required. This is essential background knowledge for anyone planning careers in concrete and concrete-related industries,” Roxburgh states. “In fact, even the most junior staff in companies in the cement and concrete sectors should be armed with the knowledge this course offers.”

He says the increasing number of emerging building contractors now entering the construction industry will also greatly benefit from the Introduction to Concrete training. “Concrete plays a major role on any construction site and needs to be placed and finished off correctly for any contract to be successful and a new company’s reputation to be established. Unfortunately, many newcomers to the construction industry tend to think that making suitable concrete is merely a matter of mixing some sand, stone and water with a bag of cement. There is far more to producing sustainable concrete than such basic knowledge.”

Roxburgh says the Introduction to Concrete course will give emerging contractors and other key players in the construction industry important information to edge out competition. “It is a course that covers all essential aspects such as the basics of materials for concrete, batching and mixing of concrete, and the necessary requirements for transporting, placing, compacting, and protecting as well as curing of concrete.”

Also included in the course are topics such as:

  • Properties of concrete;

  • Receiving and storing materials;

  • Testing of concrete;

  • Finishing and surface preparation;

  • Formwork and reinforcement;

  • Sand-cement mixes; and

  • Durability of concrete.

    The correct method of curing concrete forms part of the training in the School of Concrete Technology’s Introduction to Concrete course

For emerging contractors, an additional benefit is that one of the School of Concrete Technology’s experienced lecturers, Matthews Magwaza, can explain concrete concepts in five South African languages,” Roxburgh adds. “Our total offering for all levels of competency explains why the School has for many decades been the most respected provider of concrete technology education in South Africa.”

More details on the SCT10 course and other more advanced training from the School of Concrete Technology planned for Midrand, Cape Town and Durban this year are contained in the SCT 2019 Education Programme which can be obtained by phoning 011 315 0300 or email sct@theconcreteinstitute.org.za or visiting www.theconcreteinstitute.org.za.

Students: Prepare now for the 2021 Advanced Concrete Technology course

Students: Prepare now for the 2021 Advanced Concrete Technology course

The Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town – the epitome of applied concrete technology Photos: Gareth Griffiths

South African cement and concrete industry professionals should be preparing now to be accepted as 2021 students for the SCT50 Advanced Concrete Technology (ACT) course, a certificate globally accepted as the pinnacle in concrete technology.

This is the advice of John Roxburgh, lecturer at The Concrete Institute’s School of Concrete Technology.

The School of Concrete Technology (SCT) has confirmed that it will again offer tuition for the SCT50 Advanced Concrete Technology (ACT) course in January and February 2021. The School offers this highly prestigious course every two years and enrolment for the 2019 presentation has already closed.

The Advanced Concrete Technology examinations and diploma – presented by the School on behalf of the Institute of Concrete Technology in London – is a challenging course, with examinations covering over 60 topics in concrete technology. So, extensive and intensive preparation is needed simply to start the studies.

Advance preparation

The School of Concrete Technology therefore recommends that in the two year lead-up to the 2021 ACT course, prospective students should enrol for and complete three courses offered by the School: SCT30 Concrete Technology, followed by two important concrete technology and construction courses: SCT41 General Principles and SCT42 Practical Applications.”

Roxburgh says the SCT30 course covers important concrete technology concepts to prepare students for SCT41 and SCT42. “These are essential firm foundations from which attempts at the ACT diploma should be launched. Both provide sound general introduction to most of the topics covered in the ACT. In fact, a prerequisite for being accepted for the SCT50 Advanced Concrete Technology course is a pass in both the SCT41 and SCT42 courses.”

He says it therefore makes sense to use the two years ahead to become fully prepared technologically before the School starts its 2021 Advanced Concrete Technology training.

The School’s broader 2019 Education Programme is now available and contains full details about the above and all other courses to be presented in Midrand, Cape Town and Durban next year. alloescort.ch

For full details, phone 011 315 0300 or email sct@theconcreteinstitute.org.za or visit www.theconcreteinstitute.org.za

Concrete versatility and sustainability important for infrastructural development

Concrete versatility and sustainability important for infrastructural development

Bryan Perrie, managing director of The Concrete Institute

The versatility of concrete boosts the building material’s sustainable merits and should be a decisive factor when maximum quality and longevity are aimed for in infrastructural projects, says Bryan Perrie, managing director of The Concrete Institute (TCI).

Perrie says the user or designer can basically decide what type of concrete he or she needs. “Concrete can be designed and proportioned to meet an extremely wide range of specific requirements including consistencies, flows, setting times, and hardened properties. The product is flexible enough to produce varying strengths at early or late stages, different types of strengths in general, pre-determined densities, as well as the required levels of abrasion resistance and shrinkage.”

When building with concrete, some of the many flexibility benefits include:

  • Concrete can be produced on the building site using a wide variety of transport and placing mechanisms;
  • It can be transported from batch plants to the construction site via a myriad of means ranging from simple wheelbarrows, to heavy engineering vehicles and equipment such as dumpers, trucks, conveyors, cranes and pumps;
  • Concrete can be placed by cranes, pumps, trunks, spraying equipment, and tremies (large metal hoppers and pipes used to place freshly mixed concrete underwater); and
  • Self-compacting concrete (SCC) offers additional flexibility in the placing of concrete and the achievement of excellent off-shutter finishes.

    Versatile concrete in its pre-cast form is used for storm water drainage, water and sewage reticulation pipes

Concrete has the advantage over other materials in that concrete elements such as walls, columns, beams, trusses, and slabs can be constructed in situ as part of the structure being erected, or pre-cast on site on the ground and lifted into their final position via the tilt up and stack casting methods. As a hybrid of pre-cast and in situ concrete, concrete can also be pre-cast kilometres away in a pre-cast yard and transported to site and placed into position there.

An additional benefit is that all of the above options can be combined on one project. This may mean that some elements are constructed in situ, while others may be pre-cast on site and still other pre-cast off-site,” Perrie adds.

Dealing with the versatility of pre-cast concrete, he says this economical construction product is derived by casting concrete into a reusable mould or form which is then cured in a controlled environment, transported to the construction site to be lifted into place as opposed to standard concrete which is poured into site-specific forms and cured on site.

By producing pre-cast concrete in a controlled environment – the so-called ‘pre-cast yard’ – it is possible to monitor and control all stages of production, including ensuring that adequate curing is carried out to ensure that the final products fully comply with strength requirements.”

Pre-cast yards may be established, operational factories or can be created on site. The pre-cast concrete is generally cast at ground level which helps with safety and productivity throughout a project. “As stated, there is greater control of the quality of materials and workmanship in a pre-cast yard than when concrete is cast in situ. Pre-cast yard production tends to lead to increased better durability and when the products and structure last longer, the end-result is cost saving in maintenance, materials and energy – not to mention eliminating inconvenience. The forms used in a pre-cast plant may be reused hundreds to thousands of times before they have to be replaced which ensures that the cost of formwork per unit is lower than for in situ construction.”

Concrete can be pre-cast on site on the ground and lifted into their final position via the tilt up and stack casting methods

Furthermore, if the structure has been appropriately designed, pre-cast products can be removed and reused after the structure has reached the end of its life and is to be replaced.

Perrie says there are many forms of pre-cast concrete products, including:

  • Pre-cast architectural panels used to clad all or part of a building;
  • Storm water drainage, water and sewage reticulation pipes, culverts, manholes, sumps and tunnels;
  • Pre-cast building components used architecturally as cladding, trimmings, accessories and curtain walls;
  • Pre-cast concrete’s structural applications include bricks, blocks, foundations, beams, floors, walls and other similar components; and
  • Pre-cast concrete products are also used in the building, safety and site protection of various transportation systems in the form of culverts, bridge beams and segments, railway sleepers, sound walls or barriers, safety barriers and kerbs.

The increased control of pre-cast concrete in the production phase ensures fewer reject products and consequent saving of raw materials, as well as speeding up construction on site. Well-situated, highly sophisticated pre-cast yards produce pre-cast products to very high tolerances resulting in significant time-savings on site. Examples of this were the pre-cast plants that manufactured the thousands of pre-cast concrete tunnel and bridge segments of the Gautrain infrastructure.”

Perrie adds: “The social contribution of concrete to civilisation cannot be overestimated. It is the second most used resource in the world after water and contributes significantly to human standard of living including the houses we live in, the schools and universities we attend, the offices we work in, the infrastructure of water reticulation and sewers, the dams that hold our water, and the roads that fulfil the needs of mankind globally.”

Register now for the Concrete Conference 17-18 August

Register now for the Concrete Conference 17-18 August

It’s all systems go for the first ever Concrete Conference, a joint initiative of South Africa’s concrete industry associations to bring concrete professionals together in the interest of developing the industry.

An AfriSam readymix pour in progress
Photo: John Thomé

Concrete is the most important building block in the development of our country and the conference aims to discuss and discover concrete technologies that will set the country apart in the provision of quality construction materials. The conference will leverage the technical expertise of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (Sarma), Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA), The Concrete Institute (TCI) and the Concrete Society of Southern Africa (CSSA) to deliver insight into the world of concrete.

This is an important milestone in the industry as it marks the first truly integrated event of all four concrete bodies working in alliance. Concrete is changing and building techniques are too, so we will be looking at uncovering advancements that will impact concrete producer’s offerings and improve construction techniques,” says Johan van Wyk, lead organizer of the event.

Professional appeal

He adds that the Concrete Conference is for professionals involved in the procurement, specification and manufacture of concrete and is CDP accredited through the Engineering Council of South Africa. It will also provide companies involved in the manufacture of concrete with an opportunity to exhibit and showcase their products alongside the conference proceedings. The event is anchor sponsored by four major cement producers, Afrisam, Lafarge, PPC and Sephaku, taking the opportunity to show their support for the industry.

With the focus on high performance concrete (HPC) the speakers will include professor Hans Beushausen, who is responsible for writing the high performance concrete section in the Concrete Institutes “concrete bible” Fulton Concrete Technology reference book. He will discuss the criteria for producing high performance concrete and how to produce and procure it. Dedicated speakers on the subjects of precast, readymix and structural concrete will add further insights.

A unique panel discussion involving executives from the professional construction bodies, including the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC), South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Master Builders Association (MBA) and Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) will look at concrete possibilities in the current economic climate.

Future gazing

Johan van Wyk, director of Sarma, is an organiser of the Concrete Conference

Industry Insight economist, David Metelerkamp will then provide an overview of the economy and insight into what the future holds for the industry and the country. Another unique feature of the conference will be talks presented by entrants and winners of the Concrete Society’s Fulton Awards where they will look into lessons learned and what it takes to make a successful concrete project. Entertainment will follow the first day’s proceedings at the Gala Dinner.

Who should attend:

  • Construction professionals, engineers, specifiers and project managers

  • Construction companies and their employees, dealing with concrete

  • Cement industry

  • Concrete manufacturers

  • Admixture industry

  • Aggregate industry

  • Readymix producers

  • Construction associations and their members

The Concrete Conference will be held at Misty Hills Conference Centre on 17 & 18 August 2017. Visit the website at bit.ly/2qmMszG for more information or to book delegates and/or stands.