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The Department of Human Settlements has announced its support of the 5th annual African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo. Taking place from 23 to 24 May 2017 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, the Expo aims to increase communication and collaboration among public and private sector operators in Africa’s built environment.

Construction industryThis year’s event includes the Women in Construction Awards hosted by Susan Shabangu, Minister of Women in the Presidency, as well as the Captains of Construction and Infrastructure Leadership Forum. This event will open with a keynote address delivered by Lindiwe Sisulu, the Minister of Human Settlements.

Speaking ahead of the Expo, Programme Director Soren Du Preez said the Southern African construction industry is a growing market offering attractive business opportunities. According to him, there are a number of trends that will be highlighted in the industry this year.

South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) identifies spatial transformation as one of its key objectives and neighbouring countries are following suit, Du Preez says. “At a technical level, changes in regulation and the introduction of many new building, planning and environmental regulations require expert technical and scientific input at the early stages of architectural design. The project design process is moving towards a cyclic and iterative rather than linear model, which will translate into the spatial transformation of the built environment in the medium to long term”.

Similarly, building and information modelling (BIM) is transforming the way buildings are designed, analysed, constructed, and managed across the globe. “The time for us to rethink our quality control systems is now and for us all to benefit from information technologythat is constructed and developed efficiently for a construction environment,” says Vaughan Harris, Executive Director of the BIM Institute in South Africa. Du Preez adds that 3D Modelling is just part of the BIM process and will only drive transformation if it’s combined with wider and deeper support from the industry, including behaviour, culture, transparency and processes.

As an industry, construction will be greatly affected by the stricter sustainability legislation that is sweeping the globe. According to World Green Building Trends, global green building continues to double every three years. Emerging economies like Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa will be engines of green growth in the next three years, with development varying from twofold to sixfold over current green building levels. The percentage of companies expecting to have more than 60% of their projects certified green is anticipated to more than double from a current 18% to 37% by 2018.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the global market for green cement is expected to grow to US$38.1 billion by 2024 from US$14.8 billion in 2015. Green cement reduces the carbon footprint of construction activities through the substitution of cementitious industrial wastes, such as fly ash from coal-fired power plants and slag from the steel and iron processing industry as a replacement for traditional cement.

“Demand for green cement in Africa will provide an increasingly lucrative market over the next few years due to growing trends in sustainability and energy efficiency for both buildings and infrastructure. 2017 will witness an increased demand from local African marketplaces for more sustainable products in the local built environment,” Du Preez says.

Image credit: Copyright: potowizard / 123RF Stock Photo

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