Metal finishes specialist Rimex Metals South Africa (SA) – a Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) member – is continuously supplying stainless steel products and industry knowledge to various projects in Johannesburg, such as the Sandton City refurbishment and the Rosebank Mall extension.
“We work from the conception stage of a project and, through this, we try to gain an understanding of clients’ and architects’ needs, as this enables us to offer the most suitable product – from not only an aesthetic point but also a functional-product point,” says Rimex Metals SA director Jason Naudé.
He adds that the need to construct environment-friendly buildings and products is being emphasised in the construction industry to promote overall eco-efficiency.
Projects Naudé tells Engineering News that the Sandton City refurbishment is an ongoing stainless steel-intensive project, as it is a retail area that requires an aesthetic, modern finish. In terms of functionality, stainless steel is also required in the retail space for hygiene purposes. This project started before the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Rimex also supplied the column cladding, lift cladding, access control and general shopfitting for the Rosebank Mall extension, completed this year.
“From a Rimex perspective, we always work hand-in-hand with industry to produce a product that is visually appealing and functional. We try to stay abreast of the latest developments, thereby enabling us to offer alternatives to the standards that are currently available to the market. We also try to differentiate ourselves from . . . our competitors by . . . offering new products,” Naudé explains.
Trends and Challenges
Rimex notes high stainless steel demand in the hospitality sector, including demand from hotels and restaurants. Additionally, government is recognising the sustainability and longevity of stainless steel in the healthcare, transport and retail sectors.
Industry challenges include funding and the lack of skills development. “Sassda aims to mitigate these challenges by providing education and training courses, from the level of basic workshop employees to advanced education and training, where the metallurgy of stainless steel is discussed and the skills base enhanced, as artisans are trained to handle, fabricate and install stainless steel products,” Naudé explains.
Education and Training Initiative
Sassda’s education and training initiative, which focuses on the architectural building and construction sector, was established in 2013 and is driven by the association’s in-house staff.
This initiative includes two presentations delivered by Naudé and Sassda every year. The first caters for tertiary academics – from third-year students to honours degree students – in the architectural and design fields. This presentation showcases the technical aspects of stainless steel – what it comprises, its origin and use, as well as how it fits into project applications and case studies.
The second presentation caters for qualified industry professionals, such as architects, and is delivered during national roadshows, with international experts also participating and holding workshops. The presentation focuses on further educating and informing these professionals about the details, technicalities and applications of stainless steel. This allows for their being aware of industry changes, which helps promote increased demand for stainless steel products.
Naudé travels with Sassda to various universities in South Africa and will deliver a presentation at the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture, later this month.