Infrastructure & Construction
South Africa’s Construction and Infrastructure industry is responsible for a significant part of the country’s economic growth and development. As one of South Africa’s lucrative and fast growing industries, its key sectors – roads, railways, electricity and power, water and sewerage, communication, airports and ports – has increased in market value by almost R70 billion between 2010 and 2015 and is set to further grow by another R113 billion by 2020.
With diverse global transformation taking place which impacts the African continent and in particular Southern Africa’s construction industry, it is important to highlight the top trends:
- Spatial Transformation
Identified by South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) as one of its key objectives, spatial transformation focuses on moving from a linear model in the project design process to a more cyclic and iterative one. This allows for defects in initial design that may result in costly over-runs or possible cancellations to be accurately identified and mitigated earlier in the life-cycle, for a more refined product. With neighbouring countries following suit, it is beneficial in the medium to long term in ensuring synergy in the country’s operations with the rest of the world.
- Building Information Modelling (BIM)
This is innovative technology transforming the design, analysis, construction and management of buildings. It makes use of a collaborative approach with one coherent system of digital models rather than a separate set of drawings, making it easier for architects, engineers and constructors to simultaneously visualise what is to be built in an accurate simulated representation.
- Demand for Green Cement
With increasing demand for a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, green cement technology has become very popular in the sustainability of cement and concrete production. The technology’s reduction of the amount of clinker used in the production of ordinary Portland cement is a way of the future! The use of less clinker, which is made from limestone, means less emissions and less energy used; providing more sustainable products in the local and African built environment. This in turn offers the market attractive business opportunities, with the elimination of the prospect of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade markets. Green building maybe expensive compared to conventional building in the short-term but promises greater returns in future.
The growth of South Africa’s infrastructure, as well as the African continent at large presents opportunities at various levels, from smaller to large scale contractors standing to benefit from various scheduled government projects as supported by the National Development Plan (NDP), and private sector developments funded by international investors.
The industry does not however come without its challenges such as regulatory uncertainty and the slump in commodity prices that has cut private sector demand. These obstacles have also contributed to positive expansions within the industry such as the enhancement of management oversight, the use of streamlined operations and advances to risk protocols.
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