Nico Pienaar, director of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (SARMA), says events of recent years have shown that local construction businesses are directly affected by global economic and environmental occurrences. Local companies therefore need to make future decisions based on international trends and practices, as well as local market requirements, to ensure future sustainability.
“For this reason the organisers of this year’s Southern Africa Readymix Association (SARMA) conference, which will be held at Emperor’s Palace on 18-19 June, have put together a hard-hitting conference programme aimed at helping companies in the concrete, construction and related industries to identify these issues that affect the industry and find ways of profiting from resulting future trends,” says Pienaar.
The conference has been structured to assist the ready-mix industry, as well as building and construction industry role-players and users of concrete and aggregates. On top of the agenda will be finding ways of growing the construction industry by making use of the many opportunities that exist in the industry, including private and public sector projects.
There will also be in-depth discussions on business leadership and management by a well-known business commentator, Dr Piet Naude, who will examine the roles of industry leaders in a changed global economic environment.
Sustainability and environmental awareness will feature strongly on the conference agenda. In the future users and producers of ready-mix concrete will face increasingly stringent environmental legislation. Mariette Liefrink, CEO of the Federation for Sustainable Development, will identify environmental issues that will affect the construction industry in future.
Key legislative issues will be unpacked in order to help industry role-players to identify requirements and adapt their businesses to comply. These include legislation that will affect ready-mix concrete delivery including quarrying, environmental, safety and health legislation, as well as company documentation and record-keeping obligations. “Companies that fall foul of either one of these could face severe consequences,” adds Pienaar.
Bargaining council for workers
Another potentially contentious topic is the establishment of a bargaining council for workers within the mining industry. Although the establishment of this council has been met with scepticism by member company representatives, new insights that will be presented by Dr Elize Strydom of the Chamber of Mines will shed light on some of the positive aspects of bargaining councils. As mining plays such an important role in the supply chain of building material, this topic is very important.
“A quick insight into the topic shows that the introduction of a bargaining council in our industry may be good for everyone. It could mean that everyone has to play on a level playing field and that labour is treated the same by everyone and paid similar wages. In that way nobody gains an unfair advantage by exploiting workers,” Pienaar points out.
Focus on quality
A recurring topic at the conference will be the issue of quality throughout the supply chain from the provision of ready-mix concrete, aggregates and sand to the industry, to government’s new build plans. Albert Moloi of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) will look into the requirements for ready mix in the government’s new infrastructural programmes, as well as uncovering standards for aggregates on these important projects.
Dr Ron Watermeyer of Soderlund & Schutte Engineers will also focus his attention on the new projects and look at procurement practices that will be in force, as well as quality requirements, which are becoming more important in the building and construction industry.
Other important issues that will be discussed include the macro outlook for the local economy, the state of the mining industry, environmentally-friendly plants and factories and how to save costs on production. The best practices in trucking and transportation will also be discussed.
For more information regarding the conference, contact Mary-Ann Sutton on 011 791 3327 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.