Leading concrete materials supplier AfriSam is the anchor sponsor for the 2019 biennial Fulton Awards, hosted by nonprofit organisation the Concrete Society of Southern Africa (CSSA).
According to AfriSam, the event recognises the possibilities that concrete structures create for society and, therefore, honours excellence and innovation in the design and use of concrete. “The types of projects revered at the event speak to what AfriSam is all about – creating concrete possibilities,” says AfriSam sales and marketing executive Richard Tomes.
He cites the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town, which opened in September last year, of which AfriSam was a proud sponsor, as an example of what concrete can make possible and the innovation that can be achieved using concrete.
Engineering News previously reported that the V&A Waterfront’s historic grain silo was transformed into the world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa.
Partnerships and Possibilities
AfriSam works closely with industry bodies and tertiary education institutions to fund research and initiatives aimed at advancing excellence in concrete. Tomes emphasises that the company’s work is always about partnerships, “as none of us can create these concrete possibilities on our own”.
He further mentions that AfriSam works with architects to show them what concrete makes possible, with their pushing the boundaries in terms of what can be done with concrete.
The AfriSam-South African Institute of Architecture (SAIA) Award for Sustainable Architecture and Innovation, a prestigious biennial award founded by AfriSam and the SAIA, recognises the importance of ‘green’ building and acknowledges the contributions made by forward-thinking industry players towards bringing sustainable innovation to human living environments.
Tomes explains that, for a business like AfriSam to be sustainable, the entire industry needs to be sustainable and it is, therefore, important for the company to be involved in the industry by establishing partnerships and working with the likes of nonprofit organisation The Concrete Institute, the CSSA, the SAIA and the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.
Meanwhile, he asserts that Africa is in dire need of infrastructure investment. “We have seen massive urbanisation and our infrastructure cannot cope. AfriSam must play a role in working with the various industry bodies and associations to make sure we address the developmental challenges facing our continent.”
Infrastructure plays an important role in creating opportunities in society. Tomes points out Sandton and Alexandra, located alongside each other in Johannesburg, as examples. “There is a bridge that connects the two areas, which is a perfect symbol of the possibilities that concrete creates.”
Concrete structures, such as bridges, create possibilities because these connect communities, enabling integration and opening doors to opportunities, such as employment, he says, adding that this is the role industry needs to play – connecting communities with the opportunities that exist.
“It is important that relevant stakeholders believe in the importance of the cement industry for infrastructure development. Concrete is the most used man-made material and plays an important role in the advancement of our continent and its people. “It is therefore important to ensure that we sustain the industry and continue to advance research and growth,” he concludes.