In celebrating its tenth anniversary, the South African Light Steel Frame Building Association (Sasfa) has decided to compile an informative ten-year anniversary publication to highlight the significant achievements and developments in the light steel frame building (LSFB) industry to date.
“We started off ten years ago, learning from LSFB industries in other parts of the world – especially Australia. We based our SANS 517 building code on the Australian standard. Our initial focus was on the low-rise residential market, but South African designers and builders developed the use of LSFB in commercial and industrial buildings, surpassing what has been achieved ‘down under’,” explains Sasfa director John Barnard.
He cites work on the Mall of Africa by LSFB contractor Ohlhorst Africa, a Sasfa member, as well as the Cell C head office, in Midrand, the River Walk Office Park and several other multistorey office buildings designed by leading architect Boogertman & Partners, in Pretoria East, as recent examples of significant developments.
“All credit must go to the South African designers, architects, engineers and LSFB manufacturers for the LSFB’s growth to date. A growing number of architects are realising the advantages of LSFB and the engineers are pushing the boundaries of what is deemed impossible.”
He says new product developments include interior building solutions group Saint Gobain’s high-strength Habito plasterboard, integrated steel and mining company ArcelorMittal’s thicker gauge of 1.0-mm- and 1.2-mm-thick galvanised steel sheet and roofing supply manufacturer Marley Building Systems’ Equitone external cladding fibre cement boards.
Barnard outlines that Sasfa will continue its focus on training, with the presentation of a six-day training course for LSFB contractors in Gauteng from March 6 to 11 in Gauteng, as well as a training course in Cape Town in September.
Sasfa also plans to present two one-day courses for LSFB designers, the SANS 517 course on the building code for LSFB, and a course on cold-formed steel design for engineers in collaboration with Stellenbosch University – all in May.
Barnard says that the successful training programmes undertaken by Sasfa have been key in the promotion and growth of LSFB in Southern Africa. “Education is the foundation for getting the advantages of a new method understood, as well as for protecting and enhancing quality through the beginning phases of projects and beyond.”
Another important event for the steel industry is the upcoming Steel Awards on September 13.
“The LSFB category is sponsored this year by manufacturer of building supplies MiTek and the category has attracted a growing level of interest. We will have a tough time improving on last year’s . . . winners – Mall of Africa, for its LSFB external cladding and the Swaziland Hospital project. We are aware of some interesting projects that will be entered this year and we are looking forward to the awards,” notes Barnard.
Meanwhile, Sasfa is assisting the South African National Defence Force with its LSFB project, which entails the construction of five three-storey accommodation and office blocks, in Durban.
Barnard believes that South Africa’s economic difficulties in 2016 resulted in a challenging environment that saw decreased investment in building and construction industry projects.
He is confident that the LSFB industry has proven its ability to grow continuously, even in trying times, and that it will keep up with international LSFB standards.