Aug 17, 2012
Steel Awards 2012 focus on sustainabilityBack
Construction|Johannesburg|London|New York|Paris|Africa|Building|composite|Concrete|Design|Education|Engineering|Environment|Gas|Innovation|PROJECT|Projects|Sustainable|Africa|South Africa|Eiffel Tower|Empire State Building|Hillbrow Hospital|Southern African Institute Of Steel Construction|Tower Bridge|Energy|Green Product|Products|Services|Steel|Steel Construction|Steel Production|Steel Recycling Process|Steel Structure|Steel Structures|Structural Steel|Steel Shingles|Environmental|Hennie De Clercq|Henry Paine|Simon Gear|Spencer Erling|Insulation|New York|X-ray
The institute feels it is important to recognise steel structures that reflect a responsible approach to the environment.
“‘Steel Leaves a Legacy’ is, to me, a very powerful phrase, as it carries the message of sustainability. If something is well designed and well executed, chances are it’s going to serve mankind for a long time, with a shallower environmental footprint,” says Saisc executive director Dr Hennie de Clercq.
He cites the London’s Tower Bridge, New York’s Empire State Building, and Paris’s Eiffel Tower as examples of steel structures that have left a legacy.
De Clercq points out that steel production consumes a lot of energy and produces a significant amount of carbon dioxide. Once it has been produced, however, steel is inherently recyclable, which will benefit future generations.
De Clercq also points out that the steel recycling process requires only a fraction of the energy consumed during the initial production process, which emphasises the importance of evaluating steel from this perspective.
Saisc education director Spencer Erling tells Engineering News that, while the Steel Awards judges always take into account a range of complex and diverse factors when judging a steel structure – including excellence in innovation and aesthetics – this year, sus- tainability has also been considered.
Erling says he is happy about the influx of entries, which reflects a greater environmental awareness than previous entries, as well as an ability to use and manipulate materials to make structures increasingly efficient, sustainable and generally environmentally responsible.
“This involves sustainability,” says Erling, who mentions some of the candidate projects, which are renovations of existing structures, with the oldest original structure dating back to the 1930s. Erling highlights that steel has played a role in both the original structure and in the renovation.
“In judging these entries, we are looking for projects that show how steel construction can make our planet a better place. I believe we have those projects and that they have maintained high standards of design and construction.”
Erling adds that if the Steel Awards 2012 achieve nothing but raise awareness about steel being a significantly green construction material – contrary to what some may believe – then Saisc will have succeeded.
“The truth is that steel [production] has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 40% in the last 50 years and, when taking a holistic approach to energy, it is an extremely environment-friendly, green product – often more so than products like brick and mortar.
“With structural steel, the steel structure can be reused at the end of a project’s life cycle, either where the structure has been erected, or by moving it to another site. And if the steel cannot be reused, virtually every scrap of it can be recycled,” he adds.
“While judging was under way in June, the judges, including Erling, visited project sites across South Africa, including remote areas such as Makapanstad, Lephalale and Sedgefield,” he says.
One of the projects, which made the Steel Awards shortlist, is the potentially iconic Soweto Theatre. It features two curving fortress walls, which define the edges of the theatre complex. These walls contain three theatre boxes and all the other ancillary spaces, which a well-known architect describes as “an astonishing feature”.
Prefabrication of facade elements reduced construction timescales, but to achieve a high standard of finish, Erling says, some of the supporting substructures had to be adjusted to ensure they fitted well with the concrete structures.
He describes the steel facade of the theatre as “amazing”, noting that it will encourage building owners, architects, as well as designers and financiers, among others, to consider a “composite index that not only is an economic reflection of the construction cost per square metre, but also takes into account the environmental impact of the structure and its contribution to the social wellbeing of its users”.
“From a functionality perspective, the properties of steel, such as strength and malleability, were not only exploited but also supplemented with multiple layers of cladding that provided heat and sound insulation, which made the structure watertight,” says a project team member, adding that the strength of the steel shingles as a finish ensures that the Soweto Theatre will remain iconic for many generations to come.
Another shortlisted candidate is the Vodacom Altech Shandukani Centre for Specialised Services, which, in its entry brief, promised to be “a happy place with unintimidating materials, finishes and furnishings – more like a living room than a hospital”.
The objective of the project was to create a maternity hospital and research centre from an existing building that was once part of the former Hillbrow Hospital. The task was to reconstruct the old operating theatre and X-ray building into prenatal, delivery and antenatal facilities, as well as a research centre.
The project team’s central challenge was to preserve the facade of the old structure, while adding new extensions. Architect Henry Paine & Partners decided that a comparatively lightweight structure would be needed to form the new accommodation on the existing flat roof after a few old, out-of-date services buildings had been removed.
The structure had to be erected quickly and easily in a precinct where buildings in the area were already occupied. Because of the strong conservation requirements, the team decided to add onto the building in a way that clearly differentiated the new from the old. “Steel was the only structural material that had the requisite characteristics,” the project team reports.
Environmental concerns were paramount in the design of the building. About 80% of the new steel structure can be recycled, while the old structure has been recycled in sustainable ways.
“One of the benefits of this approach is the reinstatement of the magnificent old stair- cases and the balustrading,” says Erling. “All electrical, liquid and gas services are mounted onto the old internals, making it unnecessary to chase into the old walls. Any demolished materials have, wherever possible, been recycled into new steel.
The project team points out that using steel makes it possible to dismantle the structure, if need be, and reuse the steel, while leaving the initial building in its original state.
“Considering the issues of recycling, the limited use of new materials and climate control, it would be difficult to design a building with a smaller carbon footprint than the Shandukani Centre – as it is now known,” they say.
Awaiting the Big Day
Forty companies entered their designs this year, compared with the 70 entries received in 2011.
De Clercq assures Engineering News that this is nothing to worry about, noting that the lower number of entries is a reflection of fewer unusual projects having been implemented in the last year as well as the effects of the state of the global economy.
“We’ve come through an incredible high in recent years in terms of the number of available quality projects that were entered for the Steel Awards,” he says, citing the build-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup as one of the key reasons for higher entry numbers in recent years.
De Clercq believes the number of new and unusual projects being implemented today is standard as far as the steel construction industry is concerned.
“However, despite the slow economy, many interesting and well-executed projects, showing a lot of imagination, have been included in the entries,” he says.
The Steel Awards 2012 will take place in Johannesburg on September 6, with local climatologist and environmental consultant Simon Gear as the master of ceremonies.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Other Construction Materials News
In order to achieve the African Union’s (AU’s) vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena by 2063, it is imperative to source innovative means to reduce the costs of...
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2016: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Automotive 2016 Report provides an overview of South Africa’s automotive industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into local demand and production, vehicle imports and exports, investment and competitiveness in the sector, as well...
Energy Roundup – April 2016 (PDF Report)
The April 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for March 2016 and includes details of a North Gauteng High Court Judge’s dismissal of a court application to postpone the 9.4% electricity tariff increase, which the National Energy Regulator of South...
Electricity 2016: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2016 report provides an overview of South Africa’s electricity sector, focusing on State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Energy Roundup – March 2016 (PDF Report)
The March 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for February 2016 and includes details of the Department of Energy’s plans to announce the preferred bidders for the first tranche of the coal independent power producer procurement programme; the Council...
Steel 2016: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2016 Report examines South Africa’s steel industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the global steel market and and particularly into South South Africa’s steel sector, including production and consumption, main...
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
This Week's Magazine
The two spent-fuel pools at Eskom’s 1 800 MW Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape, will be full by 2018, increasing the urgency on the State-owned utility to begin pursuing alternative storage options. Koeberg has, over the past 32 years, accumulated a...
South Africa lacks the skills necessary to implement the government’s plan to build 9.6 GWe of new nuclear energy capacity, warns nuclear-qualified Quality Strategies International CEO David Crawford. “Apart from the concern about the affordability of the programme,...
Cybersecurity multinational Check Point has released its latest 700-series cybersecurity systems for small businesses, which draw on its international threat intelligence to provide up-to-date cybersecurity, says Check Point South Africa country manager Doros...
Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) saw a marked slip in new-vehicle sales in 2015 compared with 2014, with sales dropping from 5 897 units to 5 300 units. The decline came as the South African new truck and bus market declined from 31 558 units in 2014...
Group of 20 (G-20) economies threatened to penalise havens that don’t share information on their banking clients after the leak of the Panama Papers provoked a global uproar over tax evasion. The G-20 will consider “defensive measures” against financial centers and...