As a consumer you are protected by the Consumer Protection Act – however, in the event that you make the conscious decision to procure from unreliable sources, you are at fault and at risk of dubious material.

The South African market is currently being flooded with cheap alternatives for galvanised coated steel as well as aluminium-zinc coated steel. The applications of these inferior materials are being used in various market sectors, especially the lower income sectors and RDP homes, and therefore leaving a bad name in the market for coated steel, as well as creating a very unhappy family unit as the investment in their home has now been seriously affected.

Know your rights
The National Building Regulations have been set out to protect the customer – it is the contractor’s prerogative to have the end-use in mind and the home owner’s best interests at heart – however, as the global world is getting smaller through technology it is also in the customer’s best interest to become equipped with technical information on the different material types available.

When designing a home, office block, parkade, warehouse or any form of dwelling, one needs to take the following into consideration if using coated steel:
•    What are the different material options available?
•    What is the lifespan of the material?
•    Where is the product going to be used (i.e. environment factors)?
•    Are you trying to achieve energy-efficiency?
•    Who manufactures the material/brand of product? (Local manufacturer or imported material?)

What are the different material options available?
The traditional coating methods on offer to consumers is aluminium-zinc coated steel and galvanised steel, whilst there are also other coatings such as  aluminium, zinc and titanium coatings, all with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. In the South African market, aluminium zinc and galvanised steel are the most commonly used.

Coating comparisons:
table SafalSteel jnl5

What’s the lifespan of the material?
Aluminium-zinc coating:
The mild steel substrate is continuously hot-dipped in a formulation of 55% aluminium, 43,5% zinc  and 1,5% silicon.  The combination of aluminium and zinc increases the sacrificial properties, therefore extending the service life of a steel roof up to four times that of a galvanised steel roof.

The aluminium components of the coating provide a tough physical barrier between the extreme atmospheric conditions and the inner core of steel. The zinc in the coating protects the steel where exposed.

Galvanised steel:
The mild steel substrate is continuously hot-dipped in an almost pure zinc formulation. Zinc has inherent sacrificial properties and corrodes first before the mild steel core. A unique spangle appearance gives galvanised steel its signature in the market.

Where is the product going to be used?
One must always look at the environmental factors which could therefore accelerate the corrosion of the material. The coating is the method of corrosion protection, not the gauge (thickness) of the material.

Are you trying to achieve energy-efficiency?
In terms of SANS 10400 XA, new buildings are required to meet the new regulation that will ensure a building is energy-efficient – note the reflectivity of aluminium-zinc roofs versus other competitors. Insulation will play a part in ensuring that the efficiencies are increased.

Who manufactures the material/brand of product (local manufacturer or imported material)?
Safal Steel (Pty) Ltd, part of the Safal Group, is the first to have set up an aluminium-zinc coating mill based in Cato Ridge, South Africa, using the patented aluminium-zinc technology (AZ) under licence to BIEC International Inc.

When used in the correct application, you can be assured of a considerable increase in service life, a cost-effective solution, superior thermal protection, eco-friendly credentials as well as added aesthetic value.

Always ensure that the sources you procure from are licensed aluminium-zinc producers. For more information on licensees, go to www.galvalume.com.
Based on the information provided, make the decision to offer longevity to your project, specify Safal Steel’s branded products, ZincAL® (unpainted) and ColorPLUS® (pre-painted).

Safal Steel
Tel: 031 782 5500
E-mail: sales@safalsteel.co.za
Website: www.safalsteel.co.za