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We are respected as an association for our authority, technical knowledge, and role as the collective voice of the steel construction industry. Our proactive approach and small but dynamic staff compliment enable us to provide insight and support to professionals and companies in the building and construction industry.

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An invitation for building innovation

The SAISC would like to challenge anyone who has novel ideas about how to create new buildings to come forward. We promise to use our resources to help realise viable dreams where there is a role for steel.

The invitation is for people from all walks of life since novel ideas can involve any aspect of building construction and use. Structural engineers and architects are obvious candidates to make significant contributions to this venture because they are primarily involved in planning and designing buildings. However, steelwork contractors, software vendors, builders, developers, building operators and even building occupants can make very valuable contributions.

We at the Institute believe that creating an environment that fosters collaboration and creativity will result in innovation. Innovation in building design, construction and use is a proven force for transformation. At the beginning of the 20th century innovations based on steel framing and light cladding made dynamic urban centres like Chicago possible. Over the next century building construction constituted a primary economic driver all over the world with innovations in design and construction providing the basis for people’s improved quality of life.

We believe we now live in an era when the new demands being made on buildings require innovations. Environmentalists have identified mainly the operation, but also the construction, of buildings as contributing a significant percentage to manmade carbon emissions. This means there is great scope for working to find ways to reduce the energy consumption of our buildings. Moreover, owners now seek to have buildings which pose minimum risk to the safety of workers and occupants. At the same time they demand fast project delivery and the ability to change the use of the buildings or to sell them for a healthy financial return.

We also believe that the tools for realising novel ideas are now available and affordable.

Advanced off-site manufacturing capabilities coupled with powerful analysis, detailing and Building Information Management (BIM) software can now be married by clever project managers to produce viable new business models for contractors. In this regard we believe modular construction is surely the way of the future. Innovation in how to interconnect elements and modules on site can open up new opportunities for structural engineers and manufacturers.

We would like to help create an environment where people can come together to innovate but we also wish to reduce technological, business and other risks. For instance, we realise that we have to bring practitioners and researchers together to
support viable innovations. But their mere collaboration is also a way to reduce risk because potential pit-falls can be caught early. Protection of rights over ideas is also critical and we will support innovators’ intellectual property through patenting and promotion of transparent mediums.

This then is a challenge and invitation to each reader. If you feel that you have innovative ideas regarding buildings involving steel, feel free to contact Amanuel Gebremeskel at amanuel@saisc.co.za.