Walls & Roofs magazine takes a look at the Steel Awards 2014, which took place in September. We look at the projects that won awards as well as the steel architectural structure that was erected at the Malapa site in the Cradle of Humankind.


The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction’s 33rd annual Steel Awards 2014 took place on 18 September. Over 1 100 guests attended the flagship event, which was hosted in three locations on the same night (Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town). The purpose of the night was to award and inspire local excellence in the use of structural steel, as well as increase awareness of structural steel in general.

LSFB winners and commendations
There were many first-rate examples of light steel frame building (LSFB) projects entered into the Steel Awards, but McDonald’s entry of seven fast food outlets won the LSFB category thanks to its speed of construction, as well as their ability to meet their energy-efficiency goals.

The Lutheran Community Outreach Foundation Recreation Centre in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, won a commendation in the LSFB category. The project is described as “a lantern of light” in the city, due to the installation of fluorescent tubes alongside the steel framework.

The Malapa Fossil excavation site wins top honours
The Malapa Fossil excavation site claimed top honours, being the overall winner as well as the winner of the Association of Steel Tube and Pipe Manufacturers of South Africa’s tubular category.

“It is surely the first time since I have been managing the Steel Awards process that the overall winner has ticked so many boxes as to why this project represents excellence in the use of steel,” said Steel Awards convenor, Spencer Erling, who has been managing the process for 13 years.

About Malapa: the winning project
In 2008, Professor Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) found a fossil- bearing deposit in the World UNESCO heritage site, the Cradle of Humankind. Upon further inspection, the site has also yielded two partial skeletons, a juvenile male and an adult female of a new species called Australopithecus sediba, as well as other adult and animal skeletons. Geological studies showed that hominids and animals fell into the cave and then either died on impact or were not able to get out.

The project team was tasked with creating a removable structure over the proposed dig site to protect the site as well as the exposed fossils. The structure needed to blend in with the “ring of trees” as well as the rest of the bush, the structure needed to have a tourist viewing point, access walkways that don’t hinder the movement of natural wildlife with handrails and the structural elements needed to resemble parts of the shoulder, the scapula and clavicle. The final shape when viewed from above is like a beetle with eight legs.

A rondavel-like steel roof
A roof that looks similar to that of an elongated rondavel was created via a Toblerone profile compression ring at lower and upper levels of the roof. A viewing platform was hung off the lower ring. A hoist supporting structure is suspended below the walkway. Spiral Engineering was responsible for the detailing and fabricate of a tubular structure extraordinaire in order to pull this off.

The judges concluded that due to the determination of the whole team, especially the site team, the quality of their work, the fact that when you visit the site the roof is not visible from more than just a few metres away, and that the construction team has left the site virtually as they found it, except for the structure, there is no doubt that this project represents excellence in the use of steel for every possible reason and is a truly deserving overall winner Winner of the Steel Awards 2014.
For more information, visit www.saisc.co.za, to whom full thanks and acknowledgement are given.