by Daniel Petrov, Peikko South Africa

In the bustling metropolitan areas of South Africa, you don’t need to look far to find a construction site, commonly characterised by towers of building material, gritty surrounding roads and sporadic puddles hinting at burst pipes. It’s not a pretty sight, and with the International Energy Agency predicting that Africa's floorspace will triple in the next 40 years, from under 30 billion m2 to almost 90 billion m2, these sights aren’t going away any time soon.

Sustainable infrastructure development South African construction industry

South Africa is in need of further infrastructure development, and this development needs to be sustainable to meet the needs of a developing nation. However, with the local construction sector facing challenging times, it is pivotal that quality of construction is not compromised in the fight for contracts. Famously slow to innovate, the local construction industry should consider new-age construction methods to achieve sustainable infrastructure development.

Space-saving technology with revolutionary load-bearing capacity, Peikko’s PSB punching shear prevention systems protects concrete slabs against punching shear forces in cast in-situ slabs. It offers a simple and reliable solution against to reduce the risk of structural failure in concrete flat slabs. This innovative technology is designed to replace traditional construction elements such as thick slabs, drop-down panels, column capitals or downstand beams. Using punching and shear reinforcement systems enables total slab thickness to be reduced, without the risk of punching failure or loss of capacity. Not only does this mean a reduction in the building’s height, but the systems can also be used in foundations, thus reducing the amount of excavation required.

PSB Punching Reinforcement is applicable to various kinds of structural systems and installation situations. PSB rails consist of double-headed studs, welded to a non-structural flat bar. The system is available as 2- or 3-stud elements, which can be used to construct the required reinforcement, or as complete elements where all studs are welded to one assembly profile. Being fully integrated in the concrete elements, it is an ideal reinforcement system for monolithic slim structures or flat concrete structures in general.

A greener solution

In addition to the promise of buildings that last, new and innovate construction methods also offer greener solutions. South Africa’s construction sector contributes more CO2 than most other African countries, putting us in a poor position to achieve the country’s National Development Plan and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the manufacture of building material is known to be a large contributor to CO2 emissions. Using Peikko’s innovative space-saving reinforcement system means that less construction material is needed, with 15% slimmer slabs. The optimised structural efficiency also has implications on building costs.

A unique combination of vertical and horizontal studs allows for a cost-effective increase in capacity against punching shear failure of a reinforced concrete slab. These studs are installed according to the project drawing at the building site. Each element is identified by a code that is printed on a sticker as the assembly profile. Installation can be done simply and easily from either the top or the bottom, depending on the building requirements.

No compromise on quality

To truly contribute to sustainable development, the South African construction industry should consider the vast benefits to be gained from new-age construction methods. The perception that new technologies are difficult or expensive to implement needs to change, as we strive for quality construction despite the difficulties facing the industry and the country as a whole. We should work towards a zero compromise of quality, to really get the most out of new building developments.

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