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COMMUNITY: Community Projects Feature in Steel Awards Entries


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Projects that play a vital role in improving the quality of life in rural communities are among the early entries of Steel Awards 2010, of which The Aveng Group is the main sponsor.

Renee Pretorius, Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) communications manager, says it is pleasing that the 2010 Awards is attracting both mega projects, like the King Shaka international airport, and relatively smaller projects, with important community function, like the KZN Department of Transport pedestrian bridges project and the Meetse-a-Bophelo primary school in Mamelodi.

“This reaffirms that steel has a role to play in construction across the full gamut of society,” says Pretorius.

Among the ‘community’ entries is the pedestrian bridge project, which consists of six pedestrian bridges: the Mtwalume, Umzimkhulu (two bridges), Hlembitwe, Bisi and Nondweni river bridges.

The entry submission says that this project shows the benefits structural steel can bring to rural communities ‘faced with natural barriers that adversely affect everyday life’. It adds that the structures demonstrate the most efficient use of structural steel in terms strength to weight, resulting in transport savings and obviating the use of heavy lifting equipment in the remote locations.

The pedestrian bridge project was initiated in 2005 by the KZN Department of Transport to improve access to schools for rural schoolchildren who are often required to swim across rivers to get to school.

Another community-based submission is the ArcelorMittal South Africa sponsored Meetse-a-Bophelo primary school in Mamelodi, which is built using a combination of structural steel, Arval façade system panels and light weight steel technologies. This project is the prototype of a cost-efficient school structure using alternative steel methods, which will be rolled out in kit form across the country. The submission says that extensive use has been made of steel including IPE portal frames bolted to raft foundations; light-weight steel in dividing walls and cladding framework; steel roof sheeting fixed to steel top hat sections; insulated steel façade system as external walling and powder coated steel windows and doors with ancillary flashings.

It adds that the main design considerations were serviceability and efficiency in a durable structure suitable for learning and that the creative use of steel has played a major role in achieving this.

One of the larger projects entered thus far is the King Shaka International Airport, which boasts some impressive numbers. The overall site is 2 000 ha, the runway length is 3 700 m, the taxi areas measure 400 000 m², the amount of passengers that can be handled is 7.5 million per annum with an extension provision for 45 million.

Besides the terminal building, other buildings include a 15 500 m² cargo-handling building for 150 000 tons of cargo per annum, a 60 m high control tower, a multi-storey parking garage and several airport ancillary buildings.

The submission says that structural steelwork played a major role – more than 80 tons was used in total - in delivering one of South Africa’s ‘largest and most impressive infrastructure developments’ and in achieving a world class gateway to Durban and South Africa.

Entries are also coming in for cross-border work including the Cosira Group’s Unki Platinum and Process Plant on the Zimbabwean Dyke. Awarded the project in 2008, Cosira was responsible for the structural, mechanical, pipework and platework installations ultimately erecting 2500 tons of structural steel and platework, as well as 18km of piping at the mine.

The submission points out that Unki Mine's existing system was overhauled, replacing it with a more modern, efficient and sophisticated mine processing system and that the work was completed in an ‘impressive’ time span considering the logistical challenges, which, inter alia, included transporting the 2500 tons of steel and platework from Heriotdale, Johannesburg to Zimbabwe.

Pretorius says that once again the entries portray a high degree of skill and entrepreneurship. “The standards seem to improve year on year and this year the entries not only demonstrate significant ingenuity in the use of steel but also show an uncanny ability for innovation, efficiency and business acumen. It is also pleasing that the quantum of entries increases each year,” she concluded.


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