Close to 300 built environment professionals gathered at the Bytes Conference in Midrand on 23 March to explore urban design at the latest DAS Conference, hosted by WALLS & ROOFS and FLOORS magazines.
Kicking off with “Positive impact urban design”, the inspiring keynote speaker, Piet van Zyl from Positive Impact Forever, remarked that people tend to fight nature in a lot of their designs, but if one fights nature, one loses. He also explained how the goal of any design should be zero waste.

Lood Welgemoed and Helen Henzen from Studio 3 Design House teamed up to discuss some of the pressing questions when building green buildings, suggesting that architects should lead rather than wait for government regulations to force change.

In addition to unpacking the cost of green building, a passionate Mike Aldous from Mott Macdonald discussed a new set of solutions involving green infrastructure, green buildings, for example using graphene as building material, and green technology such as 4D printing.

“What is wrong with our cities? How should they be designed?” These are the questions Marloes Reinink from Solid Green Consulting answered, comparing high-density, 20-minute neighbourhoods with sprawled areas which cost three times as much to maintain. She also explained the guidelines of the new Green Star Communities tool.

Representing the Green Building Council of South Africa, Sian Cohen unpacked the EDGE certification for residential developments.

Applying theory to practice, Dirk Henzen from Studio 3 Design House gave insight into the Loftus precinct project, with Greg Reid from Boogertman + Partners presenting an in-depth case study of Menlyn Maine and Kuka Mofu from StudioMAS talking about the Kgoro precinct development in Sandton.

The panel discussion was a big hit with the audience actively participating in the conversation around urban design, engaging communities, the role quantity surveyors play and council approvals.

The building blocks of construction
The sponsors also impressed the audience with their inspiring presentations.

Corne White from Marley Building Systems spoke about passive fire protection and how the spreading of smoke can be contained in buildings.

The first flooring manufacturer in South Africa to be Green Tag certified and achieving an industrial six-star Green Star rating, Belgotex’ Frank Moffat spoke about the company’s green journey and how the company saves millions recycling waste back into its products.

Dekton’s Neil Sterley introduced the company’s ultra-compact surfaces which will make up the facade of The Leonardo in Sandton, and left the audience intrigued.

Talking trends, Theresa Venter of FloorworX presented some of the latest inspirations for interiors.

Flowcrete’s Emile Venter explained how resin flooring can make a positive impact on green building design by highlighting the material’s many benefits.

A community of support
A big thank you to all the sponsors who support progressive design and construction: Belgotex Floors, FloorworX, Marley Building Systems, Flowcrete, Dekton by Cosentino, Tal, a.b.e. Construction Chemicals, Arcelor Mittal, Finfloor, Avance, Den Braven, Sika and Ceilspray.

The next DAS Conference will be held later in the year in Pretoria. It will be a half-day event. For more information, visit or phone 012 347 7530.

Book now – space is limited.

What did the attendees enjoy?
•    Excellent variation in speakers and their backgrounds. – Shaun Bestbier
•    How environmentally focused the conference was. – Elzanne Pieterse
•    Discussion around sustainable urbanism. – Brent Clark
•    It was design-orientated, not just technical. – Joe Ferreira
•    The sponsor presentations were as interesting as the speakers’. – Lynn Forsyth
•    Great exposure to the latest green practices. – Tienie van Rooyen

Marley Building Systems’s Product display.
The Den Braven Sealants stand
Dirk and Helen Henzen from Studio 3 Design House, Mike Aldous from Mott Macdonald and Piet van Zyl from Positive Impact Forever took part in the panel discussion led by Marloes Reinink from Solid Green Consulting.
Close to 300 built environment professionals attended the event

“Sustainability is dancing to the music of nature.” – Piet van Zyl