Survive or prosper? Innovation is a 'good' buzz word. Everyone approves of innovation, and everyone supports the need to be more innovative - but what does this really mean in practice? How innovative is the civil engineering industry? There is a growing international and local view that if the industry is to prosper rather than merely to survive, it has no option but to innovate - and fast.
The concept of sustainable development was introduced in a 1987 report entitled Our common future by the World Commission on Environment and Development of the United Nations. This report has been referred to as 'The Brundtland Report' in honour of the chairperson, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway. The Commission defined sustainable development as ' ... development that meets the needs for the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.
The Alliance of Development Professions (ADP) was established at the beginning of 1994 to provide a single point of contact for the private consulting practice interests of the professions concerned with the built environment - architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and town and regional planners. The ADP is committed to ensuring that the professional talents, expertise and experience of the planning professions in South Africa are developed and effectively utilised to serve the needs of clients and to make a constructive contribution to South Africa's development.
Just as road networks are common to all parts of the world, so are the problems related to them, concludes the International Road Federation. Modern, safe road networks are crucial to all societies. They are the main arteries of trade, urban development and personal mobility and form the key underpinning of humanity's social and economic progress to date. In many regions, roads carry up to 90 per cent of passenger traffic and up to 70 per cent of all freight transported.
Technology and civil engineering have walked hand in hand with social and environmental concerns to create a development that falls just short of a miracle in the former homeland of KaNgwane. The R180 million Nkomazi Irrigation Expansion Project (NIEP) has created 96.3 farms-on 7 200 ha of previously under- utilised land. This Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture initiative was funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, which insisted that the social, environmental and technical components all supported one another.
While engineers can build structures to reduce the effects of disasters, the aim should be prediction to help avoid disaster situations in the first place. Arising from the alarming world-wide increase in loss of life and physical damage owing to natural disasters, with the resultant secondary effects of lost income, unemployment and reduced productive capacity and economic growth, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 1990-1999 to be the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR).
Various aspects of options for optimal use of water from the Orange River are being considered in current studies. The current focus of the Orange River Replanning Study (ORRS) is to propose the best scenarios for development and use of the Orange River water. Preliminary indications are that better management of existing infrastructure together with some new infrastructure could result in 20 m3 to 30 m3 of water per second being available from the Orange River over and above the requirements of current users and the first phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Die ingenieurs professie staan voor 'n professionele uitdaging. Vanwee hul professionele status, vervul ingenieurs leierskapsrolle in die samelewing. Die onus wat op ingenieurs rus om leiding te gee, plaas besondere druk op die professie om die regte besluite te neem.
What started off with the germ of an idea in the mind of Knight Pisold director Dr Bob Harrison is now a reality and, as a result, mass access to clean water is possible. The prototype Penducone, a suspended water tank fabricated in stainless steel, has proved so successful that it was judged one of four winning RDP Products of the Year by Engineering Week. It also received SAICE's Mpumalanga Branch Award and an SABS design award for pre-production prototypes in 1996.
Hot in situ recycling of asphalt surfacing highlights the use of alternative and innovative technology for a common engineering problem The process of hot in situ recycling (HIR) of asphalt surfacing provides a cost-effective method of road surface rehabilitation with an exceptional reduction in road user delays - rehabilitation is completed in a single pass and completed sections are opened to traffic within one to two hours. When this technology was used for the first time in Cape Town, the project, which involved the rehabilitation of the existing asphalt surfacing layer on various streets within the municipal area of Cape Town, was completed five weeks ahead of schedule and below budget. A total of approximately 406 000 m2 on different road sections were recycled.
A game has been brought out to encourage an interest in civil engineering among school pupils. Technology as an academic subject is becoming increasingly common in South African schools and teachers are constantly on the look-out for subjects that can combine conceptualisation of the solution to a practical problem with the opportunity to create the conceived object and see it work. SAICE's local and national bridge-building competitions for schools have neatly satisfied these two conditions by requiring pupils to conceive the most efficient structure that they can make from supplied thin wooden sticks and then to build it so that it can be tested.