Big structures, like towers, skyscrapers and bridges attract a great deal of attention. The Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Burj Dubai and, closer to home, the Sentech (Brixton) Tower and the Nelson Mandela Bridge are iconic in their representation of what architects, engineers and contractors can accomplish. But the awe of these structures is confined to their visual spectacle. Little thought is given to those critical feats of engineering where the end product is hidden, quite literally, beneath the surface. This is the domain in which Franki Africa works. The company's ingenious foundation solutions for a wide variety of structures, including its work on numerous bridges for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), have earned Franki the respect of its professional peers. While the structures themselves are dramatic, only a few will take note of the world-class geotechnical solutions provided by Franki, including, on some of them, a unique Franki solution - the Odex Percussion or Rotapile.
As South Africans we have much to be thankful for. We have been winning world cups, and we have been paraded as a successful nation and a country in transformation and transition. We are meeting enormous and substantial challenges in getting ourselves ready to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Our massive transportation upgrades are elevating us into a world-class tier of excellence. We are indeed living in exciting times!
When Anthony Stuart Murray was only a baby, his father held him up high above the crowds who were celebrating the coronation of the British King and Queen in 1938 and who were looking at the lights in Table Bay which showed the extent of the future harbour and reclamation works.
There is no doubt that infrastructure plays a major role in both economic and social development. In addition, construction activities form a significant part of a country's GDP - in South Africa the construction industry contributes 3,6% to the GDP (STATS SA 2008) and has been growing three times as fast as the total South African economy over the past five years.
The cry all the world over is for the more effective management of environmental resources and South Africa is responding, though much still needs to be done to assist government authorities in this endeavour. Already several government authorities have taken a lead in this regard and SRK Consulting is currently busy in four provinces developing Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs), and the associated Management Plans, for government authorities in six regions. One project involves the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site.
OR Tambo District Municipality (ORTDM) faces a particularly daunting challenge in extending reliable and affordable water supply to a predominantly low-income population in remote urban and rural locations. Qaukeni Local Municipality (QLM) in the Wild Coast drainage area (T60 on Figure 1) has exhausted its potential for conventional water development options and has an urban : rural sectoral water requirement of 1:3 (Figure 2). Water use by other sectors (forestry, irrigation, mining, power generation) is insignificant, which points to the dearth of economic activity - and thus the prevalent poverty - in the area. However, if the current population shrinks as expected, there will still be some 300 000 people living in T60 by 2025, without access to sufficient water for a decent living.
The construction of the US$60 million Metolong Dam, some 35 km outside Lesotho's capital Maseru, is being welcomed by people in the city and other communities in the region who will gain access to clean and safe drinking water when construction is completed in 2013. In all, around 1 million people will benefit from the Lowlands water scheme.
Few engineers in the 19th century went to university and most were articled to an established practitioner, by which means they would eventually be admitted to Associate Membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers. But in the early years the profession was not established, pupilages were scarce and the Institution did not exist. Many gained experience as labourers and artisans and were recognised as engineers when they emerged from the pack to plan and execute their own projects.
The infrastructural benefits associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup are deemed to be one of the tangible, longterm outcomes and legacies of hosting this mega event. For the City of Cape Town's urban designers and spatial planners, creating public space for public life has been foremost on the agenda. It is this legacy that is fundamental to the life of the city beyond 2010.
There has been a lot of discussion around the Gini-coefficient and its implications for South Africa in recent weeks. For those who are not familiar with this parameter, the Gini-coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion and is often used to measure the inequality of income or wealth in a country (a coefficient of 0 indicates perfect equality in income or wealth, whereas a coefficient of 100 indicates total inequality). Results of a survey published in August show that amongst the countries surveyed, South Africa has one of the highest Gini-coefficients at 57,8 (Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia) compared to India (36,8), Brazil (57), Nigeria (43,7) and the Peoples Republic of China (46,9). It also seems that in 15 years our Gini-coefficient has changed little.
Slotted storm water drain used extensively at Soccer City
New high-speed grease-dispensing system ups the ante by 500%
Corobrik for Kimberley Prison
Afrisam introduces industry first : CO2-rated cement
Relocatable reservoir for Gautrain
Armoflex concrete blocks for Gautrain draining channel
As part of its centenary celebrations this year, the SA Academy for Science and the Arts (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns) awarded centennial medals to 25 individuals who had, over a period of more than 30 years, performed with distinction, both nationally and internationally, in the sciences and / or the arts.
The SAICE-BKS International Bridge Building Competition took place at St Albans College, Pretoria, on 28 August. The bridge building competitions began in 1991 when the SAICE Durban Branch took active steps to whet the appetite of school learners for the civil engineering profession. This career guidance initiative has been going strong since its inception. Not only are skills gaps being addressed with the strong emphasis that the competition has on science and maths, but the gaps in educational issues are also closing as more and more previously disadvantaged schools start taking part. A case in point is the David Hellen Peta High School from Atteridgeville that won a competition held earlier on in the year for previously disadvantaged schools, and went on to win third place in the final international competition.