Despite the prevailing ‘doom and gloom’, the South African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) has remained true to its role of industry champion during this challenging time, focusing on innovation, positivity and creativity – particularly with regards to this year’s Steel Awards. This is the winner…

The Durban Christian Centre is a very bold project. Image credit: SAISC

The Durban Christian Centre is a very bold project. Image credit: SAISC

This approach has borne fruit, with the SAISC 2019 Steel Awards achieving record entries and sponsorship – as well as growing the diversity of the entries received.

This year the SAISC received a record-breaking number of 94 entries for the awards as opposed to 70 in 2018 and 59 in 2017. In addition, sponsorship of the Steel Awards has grown by remarkable 40% from 10 sponsors in 2018 to 14 this year.

This is according to Paolo Trinchero, CEO of the SAISC, who explains that the marked increase in sponsorship was largely due to a restructuring of the Awards sponsorship options, which made these more affordable and accessible to potential sponsors.

“Another important factor which definitely contributed to the increased entries and sponsorships in 2019, is the very intensive and dynamic communications campaigns undertaken to market the Awards – across all platforms from social media to online, print and broadcast media – which also significantly increased the overall visibility and traction of the Awards throughout industry,” Trinchero adds.

“This year, we can really say that a wide range of stakeholders in the greater built environment – from architects and engineers to riggers, welders and even university students – actively participated in Steel Awards and have started to recognise the pivotal importance of steel. We are particularly pleased with the greater diversity of entries received this year,” he remarks.

The aim of the awards is to highlight the use of steel in the built environment. “The annual Steel Awards are intended to create a sense of inclusivity and community and to resonate with a wider audience including a wider representation of gender, generational and ethnic groups,” explains SAISC Chairperson Nicolette Skjoldhammer.

This aim was brilliantly realised by the entry of the overall Steel Awards 2019 winner and winner of the SAFAL Steel Innovation category, the Durban Christian Centre. This building was commissioned to replace an earlier church, built in the shape of a large dome, which had burnt down. Here, the innovation lay in the geometry of the large roof arches, inclined in different planes which provide support for the roof; as well as the very tight site access.

“The Durban Christian Centre is a very bold project. For the engineer to realise the form the architect envisioned must have been very complex,” Skjoldhammer continues. The nominator and structural engineer was NJV Consulting, the architect, Elphick Proome Architects and the steelwork contractor Impact Engineering.

“The members of the Durban Christian Centre project team epitomise all the aspects of diversity which the SAISC is striving for within the steel industry, all working in harmony to achieve an amazingly creative and innovative outcome,” she adds.