The character of entries – 57 in all – received for the Steel Awards 2011 reflects a shift in the activity of the steel construction industry since the high intensity period leading up to the World Cup last year.
Spencer Erling, education director at the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC), says, “Overall the projects are smaller. As opposed to the large stadiums and airports of recent years, together with industrial and mining projects we are seeing more housing developments, pedestrian bridges, malls and community centres.”
One of the projects submitted is the Waterkant pedestrian bridge, which showcases how structural steel can be used to develop a unique and attractive bridge at an economical price. The use of standard steel tubular sections and the development of efficient construction techniques played an important part in minimising the cost of the structure. The bridge was designed for the City of Cape Town and is located in the city centre.
Another entry, the Lynwood Glen pipe and pedestrian bridge, spans 72.5m over 12 lanes of the N1 highway east of Pretoria. Central to the brief was that the bridge be an ‘aesthetic’ structure to suit its residential and commercial context. The bridge was designed as a hybrid of a warren truss girder and a bowstring arch, enabling quick erection over the busy freeway. Construction phases, which included the demolition of the old bridge, were planned in detail in order to minimise disruption of the freeway traffic and the local water supply network. The pre-assembled 142-ton steel structure was lifted from the side of the freeway into its final position with an 800-ton crawler crane.
Erling highlights that a number of foreign entries have been received. One of these is the All Africa Games Athletes Village in Maputo, Mozambique, which is also one of the bigger projects entered.
The Athletes Village comprises 27 apartment buildings, providing a total living space of more than 97 000m², and will accommodate 6 500 athletes. After the games the buildings will be converted into permanent housing. The planning and construction of the village had to be completed within a two-year timeframe. A light steel frame building (LSFB) system was chosen because it could be erected fast and offered a greater strength-to-weight ratio than traditional methods of construction such as poured-in-place concrete.
Erling notes that the number of LSFB entries received this year confirms that this method of construction has finally gained acceptance in the Southern African region.
The announcement of the winning projects in Steel Awards 2011 will be staged simultaneously in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Cape on September 15, 2011.