Advances in precast concrete applications rewarded

by Tania Wannenburg
CMA Awards April Jnl 4 16

Winners announced at CMA Awards for Excellence.

The results of the CMA Awards for Excellence competition, which were announced at a gala dinner function in Johannesburg in April, suggest that advances in precast concrete technology were significant influencers in this year’s judging process.

The judges awarded the concrete cladding of No. 1 Silo at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront the Aesthetics Commercial Trophy. Besides its striking visual appeal, which showcases the beauty of precast concrete construction at its best, the project also involved high levels of skilled precast concrete engineering.

Similarly, the judges were unequivocal in nominating the Gouda Wind Farm concrete tower project for the Technical Excellence Trophy, which again reflects substantial levels of technical engineering input. It is a project with a pronounced innovative bias, being the first time that a South African wind farm used precast concrete segments in the construction of its towers, which in this instance were 100m high. Not surprisingly, the project was also entered into the Innovation category where it prevailed as a Commendation Winner.

Interest in this year’s completion was far greater than in 2012 when the CMA was celebrating its 40th anniversary. This is evident from the number of entries which spiked from 77 in 2012 to 117. As anticipated, Aesthetics Commercial was the dominant category, attracting an impressive 47 projects.  Submission numbers in the other categories were as follows: Aesthetics Residential 12; Community Upliftment nine; Technical Excellence 26; Innovation 15; and there were eight entries in the Precast for Life category.

CMA Executive Director, Frans Minnaar, said that although this year’s entry crop was generally of a very high standard, the judges felt that none of the entries in the Aesthetic Residential category stood out sufficiently to merit a trophy award; a single commendation winner was all it could muster.

This year’s five trophy winners were as follows:

•    Concrete Units – the Aesthetics Commercial trophy for casting the precast concrete panelling for No. 1 Silo at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.
•    Shukuma Bricks – the Community Upliftment trophy for providing concrete pavers for the paving of gravel roads in Walmer Township, Port Elizabeth.
•    Concrete Units – the Technical Excellence trophy for manufacturing 782 precast concrete wind tower segments for the Gouda Wind Farm project in the Western Cape.
•    Bosun – the Innovation trophy for introducing the Castle Bottom Kerb.
•    SmartStone – the Precast for Life trophy for supplying Fan Cobble paving blocks for the Waterfront at Knysna Quays project in Knysna.

“The CMA has always advocated the maintenance of high standards in the manufacture and application of precast concrete products and this year’s Awards for Excellence competition once again reflects this,” Frans concludes. “Although we would have been happier had all six trophies been awarded, the absence of a trophy winner in the Aesthetics Residential category does have a positive spinoff in that it emphasises that CMA awards are only made when they are merited. As always, the judges were briefed to apply strict appraisal criteria and not to allocate awards where the felt they were not fully justified.

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