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Local sector a major player

GUINESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER The Pick n Pay Distribution Centre East Port project earned a place in the Guinness World Records for the innovative solutions for handling and installation required of the unprecedented roof sheeting lengths

Photo by SAISC

CATALYST FOR GROWTH The Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market, constructed for the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency, was the overall winner of the Steel Awards 2023, with the project acting as a regional catalyst for growth, job creation and improvement of food security.

Photo by SAISC

24th November 2023

     

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The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction’s (Saisc’s) 2023 Steel Awards highlighted the collaboration between steel value chain participants, including architects, designers, engineers and construction companies, who delivered “world-class” projects across the African continent.

The event was held on October 19, 2023 at Emperor’s Palace with the theme ‘Game of Thrones’, and celebrated the legacy of steel throughout the ages, its “pivotal contribution to civilisation” and the significant achievements of the local steel sector.

Many of the notable projects nominated this year were not confined to South Africa, but were exported, and at times executed, across the continent. This was reflected in the number of pan-African projects that won awards, indicating that one of Saisc’s long-held goals, namely achieving Africa-based growth, had been realised.

“Fabricators and manufacturers have really forged ahead and made a big leap into Africa! They have built structures in a way that has never been seen before, delivering products and innovations which have never been seen before – not only locally but across the continent,” states Saisc CEO Amanuel Gebremeskel.

He explains that, for over a decade, Saisc has encouraged the steel industry to not only be a centre of manufacturing excellence, but to also be involved in more advanced projects to produce world-first innovations.

He notes that oftentimes many major projects in Africa are created by Chinese, Indian or American contractors, but states that this does not have to be the case as the local industry has the capacity and engineering capability to achieve a similar level of quality and project delivery.

He adds that many of the projects showcased at the Saisc 2023 Awards are iconic structures that have made a lasting contribution to the built environment and that will stand as a testament to the skill of the South African steel sector for many years.

Noteworthy Projects

The overall winner, with several awards, was the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market, as it was the winner in the Factory and Warehouse category, the Tubular category and was the recipient of the Best Project Mpumalanga award.

The project had been nominated by Tass Engineering, designed by Orbic Architects and constructed by the main contractor Enza Construction and steelwork contractor Tass Engineering, among others.

The produce market was constructed for the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency to act as a regional catalyst for growth, creating jobs and improving food security, servicing the local and international food industry more effectively and efficiently than the traditional fresh produce markets.

The steelwork roof covers a 29 000 m2 floor, designed to provide the most usable floor space with the least support columns, while accommodating future alterations and expansion.

The sheer size of the roof structure and its structural framing system posed a significant logistical challenge. To address this, modular components were transported in smaller sections, then erected on site.

The joint winner of the Factory and Warehouse category, and winner of the Innovation and Sustainability category and recipient of the Best Project Gauteng award, was the Pick n Pay Distribution Centre East Port project, in which structural steel played a pivotal role.

A noteworthy feature of the project was the use of long roofing sheets, that ranged from 68 m to 280 m. These unprecedented roof sheeting lengths required “innovative” methods for handling and installation, with the project earning a place in the Guinness World Records.

The design features a distinctive curved profile with a radius of about 600 m, making use of the ‘sky-forming’ method to roll and shape the roofing sheets.

Gebremeskel acknowledges that many of the nominees this year were far greater in size and financial budget than previously, though Saisc does not judge project nominations according to those criteria.

“Our retailers are looking for greater efficiency, so these buildings are getting larger every year. South Africa is becoming the vanguard for the construction of distribution centres throughout the region,” he explains.

He continues, adding that these are the kinds of buildings that many other countries in Africa require moving forward, creating a need to develop the local steel sector’s expertise to deliver similar projects cross-border in the future.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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