21 June 2011
Innovation excellence in concrete
The South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) has become the first recipient of the Cement and Concrete Institute’s new award for Innovation Excellence in Concrete.
The award was presented to SANRAL at the Fulton Awards ceremony on June 4. C&CI is the anchor sponsor of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa’s Fulton Awards which are presented biennially for excellence in concrete.
Bryan Perrie, managing director of C&CI, presented the C&CI award to Nazir Alli, chief executive officer of SANRAL. The citation read: “SANRAL has consistently promoted, researched, developed, and adopted new technologies for concrete construction. Regarding innovation, it has led by example. At a challenging time in terms of technical skills and capacity, it has been willing to take risks and push the boundaries of concrete construction in new areas. SANRAL has shown leadership in embracing and developing innovative and novel technologies.”
The citation further noted two particular examples of SANRAL’s use of new technologies.
- Ultra-Thin Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavements (UTCRCP) are being constructed over significant lengths on SANRAL contracts in Gauteng and the Western Cape. This technology is highly innovative and has truly pushed the boundaries for concrete pavements. While this technological introduction has not been without its problems, these are being addressed using engineering application. In terms of economics, pavement life, and reduction of materials for pavement construction, this approach has been very successful.
- Performance-based durability specifications for reinforced concrete construction – using the South African developed ‘durability index’ approach – have been adopted by SANRAL in key infrastructure such as concrete bridges and other highway elements. SANRAL’s bold willingness to innovate has allowed this genuinely South African innovation to be taken from the laboratory into practice. This has resulted in a far greater awareness of the need for durability in concrete and the beginnings of a ‘culture of durability’ in the concrete construction industry.
Hanlie Turner, marketing manager at C&CI, says the new C&CI Award for Innovation Excellence in Concrete is complementary to the CSSA’s Fulton Awards – presented for excellence in the use of concrete – in that it recognises innovative solutions to practical problems as well as a commitment to providing South Africa with quality infrastructure.
She said the award aims to honour organisations with concrete construction applications, manufacturing processes, or products that display both innovation and excellence. The award would apply to innovation in the use of concrete and cement-based products.
The criteria for the award require that the innovation should:
- Be practice-orientated or have strong potential to be adopted in practice;
- Show the elements of technical innovation by reference to practice or literature;
- Advance scientific or engineering knowledge by way of basic or applied research – it must be founded on sound, demonstrable, scientific principles;
- Have a major impact on practice and knowledge, or potentially such an impact; and
- Be accessible to the concrete community for adoption and use – it cannot be a proprietary product or innovation.
A panel convened by the C&CI is responsible for the nomination and adjudication of the new award.
In the picture: From left: Louw Kannemeyer, Edwin Kruger and Nazir Alli (CEO) of SANRAL, and Bryan Perrie, MD of C&CI.