CMA Awards for Excellence – setting the standard for precast products

Technicrete Beany Blocks form a central water-catchment channel on the N4 highway in Mpumalanga.The entries in this year’s CMA (Concrete Manufacturers Association) Awards for Excellence competition evidence the growing scope and significance of the precast concrete industry in South Africa. They represent a diversity of products and applications and illustrate the commitment of CMA members and other manufacturers to maintain and improve standards in the production and application of precast concrete.

Former CMA director and awards organiser, John Cairns, says that only six years ago the use of concrete tiles as the default roofing material for economic housing would have been considered unrealistic, whereas in today’s affordable housing developments – such as at Cosmo City, Pennyville, Boitekong and Soshanguve – concrete roof tiles are very much the norm.

Although the 2010 competition did not draw a record number of entries, the standard of the submissions is considered exceptionally high. The judging took place in July and the 10 judges appointed to the adjudication panel this year included architects, landscape architects, quantity surveyors and civil engineers.

The results, based on three tiers of regional, national and premier awards, will be announced later this year. The regional coastal awards ceremony will take place in Cape Town towards the end of October and the regional inland, national and premier awards will be presented at an awards banquet in Gauteng in November.

Since they were first staged in 1985 the awards have become the highlight of the industry’s calendar. They provide an opportunity for designers and project developers to establish themselves as trendsetters and, in doing so, to gain national recognition.

Some of the entries in different categories for the 2010 CMA Awards for Excellence are featured here.

Infrastructural & Innovative concrete products: N4 highway – Mpumalanga

A safety hazard on the N4 highway in Mpumalanga has been overcome with the installation of Technicrete’s Beany Block combined concrete kerb and drain system.

Heavy rains in the hilly sections of the N4 frequently closed the highway between Belfast and Wonderfontein as stormwater flooded across the road. The Beany Blocks now installed down the middle of the highway act as a catchment channel for the overflow and form a practical middle island, effectively creating a safer, dual-lane highway.

About 14 000 Beany Blocks were installed at intermittent stretches over some 13kms of the highway. Installations began in late 2008 and today the Beany Blocks are functioning effectively.

The Beany Block system consists of a series of standard channel section base blocks and inverted channel section top blocks, with an opening in one side face. Laid end to end, they form a combined kerb and surface-water drainage system strong enough to withstand normal traffic loading.


Inca concrete blocks were used for the construction of houses at Thuthukani.Concrete masonry: Thuthukani Peoples Housing Project – Mfuleni, Cape Town

This low cost housing project involved the construction of 40m² and 50m² houses using recyclable concrete products and incorporating other environmentally friendly features such as solar water heating and wind-driven electricity.

Inca Concrete Products’ M140 concrete building blocks were used to build the single-leaf external walls. The M140 block has a thermal resistance approved by the NHBRC and this, together with ease of laying, makes for a very economical unit. The blockwork on this development is neat and the external rendering is smooth. Internal finishes are smart and attractive.


SmartStone’s Fan Cobble paving – 10 years on at Palazzo Monte CasinoConcrete block paving (Vintage category): Palazzo Monte Casino Hotel – Fourways, Sandton

The Palazzo Monte Casino is a five-star hotel adjacent to Monte Casino. SmartStone’s Fan Cobble paving blocks and barrier kerbs were used to pave the parking grounds and complement the Tuscan design theme. Laid in 2000, the paving looks as good today as it did when new.


Greenery is now starting to grow over the Technicrete Florawall blocks used to construct the retaining wallsConcrete retaining block walls: The Grove retail mall – Nelspruit

This retaining wall offers an example of how plain grey concrete can come alive with the colour of planting.

Extensive earthworks for this development necessitated the construction of high retaining walls at each end of the sloping site, one five metres high and the other six metres high. Technicrete’s Florawall earth retaining interlocking garden blocks, which allow for the planting of flowers and small shrubs, provided an attractive solution. Some 15 000 blocks were used in the construction of the retaining walls, which together cover an area of 1 127m².


Echo Prestress concrete flooring panels were used to fast track construction of the Strelitzia complexSuspended concrete floor slabs: Strelitzia townhouses – Greenstone, Johannesburg

Hollow-core prestressed concrete flooring slabs provided the logical construction solution to the design challenges of this 24-block complex comprising 376 apartments. The use of Echo Prestress concrete flooring panels enabled the developers to complete the project much earlier than would have been possible had a conventional flooring construction method been employed.


Infraset’s Horizon concrete roof tiles at Carlswald Creek.Concrete roof tiles: Carlswald Creek – Midrand

Infraset Building Products’ Horizon roof tiles in standard slate were chosen for this project because the developers were looking for roofs that would enhance this upmarket development, both aesthetically and functionally. In addition, the client was guaranteed minimal breakages on these roof tiles.

CMA CMA Awards for Excellence concrete infrastructure products Concrete Manufacturers Association concrete masonry concrete paving concrete products concrete retaining blocks concrete roof tiles excellence in concrete products precast concrete flooring panels precast concrete products
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