http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.13Change: 0.03
R/$ = 11.80Change: -0.03
Au 1204.40 $/ozChange: 0.75
Pt 1180.50 $/ozChange: -9.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Nov 18, 2011

Institute encourages greater cooperation

Back
© Reuse this

The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (Saisc) will promote increased cooperation and dialogue between itself, government and the steel construction industry, in general, to maximise opportunities in a tough global construction environment, says Saisc executive director Dr Hennie de Clercq.

“We live in a volatile world with histori- cal shifts taking place across the gamut of human society, including international and local business markets.

“The more we work together in dealing with the resultant powerful challenges, the better our chances of success,” he says.

He adds that, from a local perspective, the institute historically got used to going it alone without really concentrating on working with government, unless it was related to exports.

“We became proud of our independence and it worked for us, but we came to realise that global business is too complex for a single industry to succeed on its own any longer.”

“We will work towards changing this situation and will endeavour to interact much more closely with the various rele- vant government departments and the myriad other industries, with whom we have excellent working relationships, to see what synergies exist for deeper coope- ration.

“In short, we will do things differently in future and will encourage our industry leaders to do the same,” he says.
Meanwhile, despite the challenging times, the South African steel construction industry – through the civil engineering and building sectors – has performed surprisingly well of late.

“We know of only one bankruptcy in the steel construction industry this year and many firms have reported quite buoyant business activity for 2011 and a reasonable outlook for 2012.

“We have performed better than many other countries, including the UK, the US and Australia, where, in some cases, up to 25% of the steel construction industry is expected to be lost to bankruptcy in the near future,” says De Clercq.

He points out that there are a number of reasons for South Africa’s good per- formance.

“Firstly, the leaders and managers of our industry businesses are exceptional. They are generally very proactive in getting out there to get the business and they have been particularly successful at combating Chinese and other foreign competition.”

Secondly, State-owned power utility Eskom’s power stations have been a significant boost to the industry, taking up a good deal of its capacity.

Also, South Africa’s regional neigh- bours have been buoyant and South African firms have enjoyed significant volumes of cross-border business across a range of sectors, including mining, warehousing, factories, office buildings and more.

Thirdly, the recent weakening of the rand has improved the competitiveness of the local industry significantly. Besides this being a boost to the country’s ability to export, it is also helping to combat the practice of local companies importing fabricated structural steel from the East.

On the question of exports, De Clercq says that since marketing company International Steel Fabricators of South Africa (ISF) has been working with South Africa’s main contractors to bid on foreign contracts in conjunction with promoting local steel fabricators to main contractors on foreign jobs, significant strides have been made.

“We have always believed in promoting local steel fabricators to the main contractors on foreign jobs and, while this has been successful, focusing on helping South African main contractors to bid on these foreign contracts has helped as, when successful, they, in turn, are in a position to subcontract work to our steel fabricators,” he states.

De Clercq is optimistic about the ISF continuing to help open and develop new markets following this principle.

“When the ISF started to explore poten- tial opportunities in South America more than four years ago, there was scepticism about the successful outcome of the endeavour.

“But these efforts have paid off and have spurred us on to successful monitoring of opportunities in Australia, Europe and other regions, especially in the deep-level mining arena, where we are the indisputable world leaders.”

He adds that exports are fundamental to the survival of the local industry.

“They not only protect the industry from the ebb and flow of demand by being geographically diversified, but also, nowadays, everyone must do business wherever they can, with whomever they can, because that is the nature of the beast.

“In some situations, our customers become our competitors and in other situations our competitors become our customers. Sometimes we win local contracts from foreign firms and some- times foreign contracts from local firms and we would reject this way of doing business at our peril.”

Nevertheless, De Clercq says that his optimistic view of the current state of the local steel construction industry should not give the impression that there are not some real challenges that have to be met.

“One of these challenges is that, because of the problems ArcelorMittal South Africa has experienced with its blast furnace in Newcastle, there is a shortage of steel, especially the smaller profiles and reinforcing.

“As this is only expected to be solved by the end of 2011, the compounded shortage could affect the supply of steel into the future,” he asserts.

Another challenge is that while cer- tain activities are taking up a sizeable proportion of the industry’s capacity, there is still a good deal of capacity that must be used.

“We have to do whatever we can to take up this spare capacity or we face the risk of losing it altogether.

“Our clients must realise that this is an excellent time to build things. Prices of raw materials are competitive, con- sultant fees are lower than they have been for years, and the industry is blessed with state-of-the-art management, techniques and equipment.

“We have the potential to become a world player and everyone in the industry must play his or her part to realise this,” states De Clercq.
Meanwhile, he admits that while the institute’s role in this process is multi- faceted, it is clear that it has to continue with market development for the industry.

One of these important markets is the multistorey sector, where steel, through a variety of factors, is increasingly becoming a viable alternative to the more traditional construction materials.

“Light steel frame building is also having a particularly significant impact, as it helps to keep the weight down, while [ensuring] a structure of the highest quality from both an engineering and an aesthetic point of view.”

De Clercq says that, along with the rest of the world, South Africa is heading for challenging times.

“Uncertainty is the name of the game not only for our industry but for the world economy as a whole. It will take inno- vation and perseverance for the local steel construction industry to survive, let alone thrive. I believe we have what it takes to thrive, but it is going to require hard and, most importantly, smart work,” he notes.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Metals News
Article contains comments
CUT TO SHAPE SSAB Shape offers steel-processing services, such as plasma and laser cutting, bending and drilling
The South African division of global advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) and quenched and tempered (Q&T) steel producer SSAB – SSAB South Africa – acquired South African wear specialist company WearClad in October last year, enabling the company to establish its own...
Fabrication, refurbishment and engineered solutions provider DCD Venco helped prevent further delays on the Blast Furnace N5 Reline Project at steel giant ArcelorMittal South Africa’s (AMSA’s) Newcastle Works facility in KwaZulu-Natal, in August last year, after it...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 8 minutes ago South Africa’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has summoned 15 construction companies to appear before an independent investigating committee for a formal inquiry in April. Following its own investigation into collusive practices in the construction...
Updated 42 minutes ago Nigerian energy company Seplat expects its gas business to contribute around a third to its profits over the next two years, up from less than 10% today, as demand for electricity generation in Africa's biggest economy soars. CEO Austin Avuru told a Reuters Africa...
Updated 47 minutes ago The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday called for a fuel levy to pay for roads, instead of e-tolls, during a protest outside Gauteng Premier David Makhura's office. "We do want to pay for them [the roads] by a dedicated, ring-fenced national fuel levy," the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Walter Hill
Eqstra Holdings was going to reduce its exposure to contract mining, but it was not yet ready to sell the troubled business, said CEO Walter Hill on Tuesday. He said Eqstra would not sell its contract mining business in a “depressed market”. He said it would be...
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year.  The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96