In launching the Southern African Metal Cladding and Roofing Association (SAMCRA) in Johannesburg, the newly elected chairman, Johann van der Westhuizen, said that in an industry which uses about 650 000 tons of metal and colour-coated coil a year, the need for an industry association was essential.

SAMCRA is a sub-association of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC), with its executive committee reporting to the SAISC Council.

“It should be borne in mind that much of our industry involves installing roofs on buildings, including housing across the entire economic spectrum. It was incumbent on companies in the industry to ensure that standards, both from a product and ethical perspective, were effectively policed.

“Unfortunately, this has been difficult as the relevant technical committees are reluctant to engage with individuals, and we required a formal structure to ensure that there are comprehensive, appropriate and widely accepted SANS standards for metal roofs and cladding as well as metal tiles,” Van der Westhuizen said.

He added that it is advantageous that SAMCRA is a subsidiary of the SAISC.

“The SAISC is a professional organisation with an excellent reputation among all the relevant standards and specifying authorities. It is recognised both locally and abroad for its contributions to the construction industry. Being part of such an organisation enables us to focus on what has to be done to achieve our goals,” he said.

Central to these goals will be:
• The establishment of an accredited testing facility to verify the performance of products.
• The creation of a campaign to have all metal cladding products sold in South Africa branded with the relevant product information.
• Providing information to specifiers, building inspectors and other decision-makers along with the facilitation of training for artisans.
• The implementation of a programme to certify roofing contractors and have “roofers” formally recognised as a trade.

Dennis White, SAMCRA’s inaugural director working full time for the association, says it is clear that the main beneficiaries of SAMCRA will be the end-users.

“Our customers deserve this and it’s time it happened,” he said.

White added that everyone acquainted with construction in Southern Africa agrees that the extensive metal roofing industry, which plays an important role in the environmental performance of buildings, is in urgent need of an overhaul.

“The substitution of specified materials with inferior products, particularly in the emerging sector, is rife, with price considerations prevailing over structural performance and durability.

“The formation of SAMCRA is, in essence, aimed at restoring credibility to this dynamic and important industry,” he said.
 
On the membership issue White says that the intention is to include anyone with a stake in the industry, from the manufacturers of coated coil, metal cladding and tiles and related products to the professions and anyone with an interest in the industry, such as the NHBRC, relevant government departments, developers, financial institutions and insurance companies.

Founder members of SAMCRA include ArcelorMittal SA, BlueScope Steel, BSI Steel, Clotan Steel, Global Roofing Solutions, Heunis Steel, Macsteel Roofing, Pro Roof Steel Merchants and Safintra.

Southern African Metal Cladding and Roofing Association (SAMCRA)
Tel: (011) 726 6111
Email: info@saisc.co.za
Website: www.saisc.co.za