With some important road contracts already secured for this year, building materials company AfriSam notes that it is well placed to bring more capacity on stream as and when there is an upswing in South Africa’s roadbuilding sector.
“The construction materials market is now only about a third of its 2012 level, when roadbuilding in the country was at its peak. The whole construction sector is looking forward to the release of more road upgrade projects this year, especially on the N2 and N3 national highways,” says AfriSam Construction Materials executive Avi Bhoora.
He notes that there are nine work packages expected to be released by road authority the South African National Roads Agency, which could together add up to about R40-billion in contract values.
Meanwhile, AfriSam has recently been active in the Watt street interchange project, in Wynberg near Sandton, where it provided almost 9 000 m3 of readymix for concrete works. This contract included two large, challenging concrete pours of over 550 m3 each, highlights the company.
It has also been active in KwaZulu-Natal, including a bridge upgrade in the bus rapid transit (BRT) project at Inanda road and interchange upgrades in Westville, Richmond road and Camperdown.
AfriSam’s strategy for the future includes gearing up for more rural work, further to its traditional focus on urban centres.
“This means becoming more flexible and mobile in our operations, such as converting equipment to a modular format that can be readily moved to and operated from outlying areas,” says Bhoora.
He notes that roadbuilders who are concerned about their carbon footprint will prioritise having a commercial supply of construction material as close to the road project as possible. This will reduce emissions from the trucks transporting the material.
With AfriSam’s commitment to quality and environmental management, Bhoora emphasises that customers can always be assured that their construction material will be compliant and to specification – irrespective of location.
“Road contractors look to AfriSam for solutions to two important aspects of achieving a quality road: modification and stabilisation. When contractors must deal with lower quality material on site – with high clay content and plasticity index (PI) – this generally needs to be modified with the use of lime,” says Bhoora.
This means that higher quality – or ‘bluer’ materials from the underlying rock layers rather than from the overburden – may require additional strengthening through stabilisation.
AfriSam highlights its Roadstab cement as a solution, with its 32.5 classification in terms of the SANS 50917-1 standard. It is manufactured at the company’s Dudfield and Ulco factories.