The Africa-UK Engineering for Development Partnership continued their quest to build and sustain engineering capacity in Africa with their second workshop, held in Arusha, Tanzania, during the last week of November 2010.
The quest for uniting organisations and integrating effort will never cease and, although there are many pitfalls and many drawbacks within united organisations, it does make sense in terms of credibility, mass and voting power. In addition, united structures can contribute substantially to the aligning and harmonising of initiatives.
We, the delegates from 22 countries in Africa gathered at Cairo, Egypt, acknowledge the work done by the president-elect of WFEO to facilitate this assembly of African Engineering Organisations. We appreciate the work done by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) to host FAOE in the past and the good work done by the Africa Engineers Forum (AEF) in capacity building. We agree to set up an interim committee under the patronage of the president-elect of WFEO or his representative.
The new status of the South African Academy of Engineering (SAAE) as a member of CAETS (Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences) has increased the challenges for the Academy to fulfil its mandate. This includes participation in CAETS activities, meaningful participation in bilateral activities with sister Academies and mobilising local and international expertise for the benefit of South Africa.
The Durban Heights Booster Pump Station (BPS) has been built at the head of the Northern Aqueduct, a water main (initially 1,6 m NB concrete 'Soccoman' pipe, thereafter more than 100 km of 1 050 mm NB and 750 mm NB steel pipes) installed in the 1960s and fed by the 361 Mℓ reservoir (Reservoir 3) located within Umgeni Water's Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant (WTP).
In geotechnical engineering, reinforcement can be any material used to achieve a higher performance of the soil. The first use of a soil reinforcement material (as per the author's knowledge) is dated about 4 000 years ago when Sumeris, in order to avoid settlement of the Ziggurats, constructed a foundation using clay bricks combined with sand and gravel layers reinforced with woven mats of reed laid horizontally. Today the reinforcement of soil is an important task for design engineers, whereas 50 years ago nobody could imagine how these materials would develop.
In the aftermath of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, there has been a distinct, if not dramatic downturn in work for both consulting engineers and contractors. Order books have shrunk and staff numbers have been reduced as the country seeks to return to normal, and to focus again on the delivery of infrastructure. It will, however, take some time for a flow of work to be achieved which will satisfy the needs of designers and contractors. A turnaround will not come early in 2011; there are many obstacles to delivery and bottlenecks in the system which must first be overcome.
The philosophy of mentoring has been around for several millennia and most of its original application seems to have been particularly popular in the preparation and development of royal heirs and military leaders, great philosophers and astronomers, the engineering and architectural fields, various religious orders, and by gifted craftsmen in order to pass on their skills. Indeed, this diverse set of popular early applications of mentoring bears testimony to the flexibility and robustness of mentoring as a means of effectively transferring appropriate skills, knowledge, behaviours, values and experience to the next generation.
Meeting service delivery deadlines according to tight specifications is the aim of every engineering project. This was especially true for the restricted time frames and fast-tracked processes leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with infrastructure investment in the air, rail and road transport networks boosting much-needed development. Projects such as the Gautrain were fast-tracked - in this case into a period of 40 months in its first phase, compared to the five to ten year time frame that is usual for construction of this size and nature.
The history of building walls is centuries old, as humans have been piling stone atop stone or, in the case of retaining walls, block on top of block, for thousands of years. Locally, indigenous tribes were using this dry-stone wall construction in southeastern Africa as early as 1350 to 1500 AD.
Concrete retaining blocks (CRBs) producer ReMaCon Products of Kempton Park, Gauteng, recently gained SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) certification on its main products - the first producer of CRBs in South Africa to do so.
The use of precast hollow core concrete slabs supplied by Elematic South Africa (ESA) has helped keep construction on track at the parkade for the Gautrain's Rosebank Station, which is scheduled to be operational by March 2011. ESA supplied and installed some 7 000 m2 of slabs for the suspended floors of the building, which is two storeys high and has a total area of approximately 12 000 m2.
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