SASFA Industry Feedback Meeting Johannesburg, May 2017

SASFA annually arranges industry feedback meetings in the major centres to inform its members and other interested parties about the progress with the development of the light steel frame building industry. The 26th Industry feedback meeting was held at the Country Club of Johannesburg during May 2017.

Guests were welcomed by David van Zyl (Kwikspace), current Chairman of SASFA. He briefly mentioned the highlights in SASFA’s 10-year history since its launch in October 2006. SASFA reports to an Exco meeting, consisting of representatives of the different membership groups. It also has a Technical and a Training committee, which meets every two months. David highlighted the challenges that SASFA faced in the beginning, and the actions that were taken to address each of the issues – such as the establishment of a building code, awareness raising and obtaining support of the banks and building authorities.

Mr Chifipa Mhango, Chief Economist of Arcelor Mittal gave a brief overview of the current state of the South African economy, with reference to the building industry. The recent credit rating downgrade prevented any optimism about growth in the South African market, but social infrastructure spend by government as well as the growing demand for infrastructure development in neighbouring countries present some opportunities for the local building and construction industries.

The major development and growth activities in the LSFB (light steel frame building) market were then discussed by John Barnard, Director of SASFA. The growth in SASFA membership numbers has levelled off, and he referred to the importance of growing SASFA’s membership in all categories, to ensure that the interests of all parties are served through SASFA’s activities. A premium is still placed on media articles, and on average four articles are published monthly. The annual Steel Awards provides a national forum to recognise deserving LSF projects – the previous year’s winners in the LSFB category, sponsored by Saint-Gobain, were the Hospital Clinic in Mbabane, Swaziland, and the Mall of Africa in Midrand. Twenty LSFB entries were received for the 2017 Awards, with the LSFB category sponsored by MiTek.

Training is one of SASFA’s core activities, and the 6-day course for building contractors was presented in Gauteng and Cape Twon, as well as Durban on special request by the SANDF. SASFA also presented a 1-day Code course covering SANS 517, and, in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch, a 1-day course on cold-formed steel design aimed at engineers. The latter courses were CPD approved, and presented in the major centres in RSA.

SASFA has embarked on a series of durability inspections. LSF projects in aggressive atmospheres (close to the sea) are visited and assessed for durability. To date the findings support expectations – even after 10 years there is very little, if any, corrosion detectable on the LSF structures inside the building envelope.

SASFA is ready to invite LSF builders to apply for accreditation assessments – successful applicants will receive compliance certificates.

As in previous years, a comprehensive survey was undertaken amongst SASFA members to confirm whether SASFA’s activities continue to serve the needs of its members. Another survey amongst LSF manufacturers determined the volume of LSF building activity during 2016. It turned out to be similar to that of the previous year – a laudable performance in view of the lack of growth in demand in the building industry.

A few of SASFA’s members made presentations on some of their exciting LSF projects: MiTek illustrated a few projects with very efficient Ultra-span LSF roof structures, and Futurecon a few of their LSF projects in the residential and commercial sectors (including additions to a 5th storey penthouse in Sandton!). Hage Projects presented a few Ohlhorst projects where LSF with ETICS cladding were used for curtain walls of multi-storey buildings – including an 11 storey office building in Summit Place, Menlyn, Pretoria.

The meeting was concluded by a networking session amongst all present. Similar feedback meetings are schedule for Durban (22 June) and Cape Town (28 September).