Many global realities are impacting Africa’s, especially Southern Africa’s construction industry, going into 2017. Last year the world experienced many unexpected developments, from Brexit to falling commodity prices, and waning GDP growth across Africa.

Soren Du Preez, programme director of the African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo, highlights some of the top trends to watch that could impact Southern Africa’s construction industry this year:

  1. Spatial transformation

South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) identifies spatial transformation as one of its key objectives and neighbouring countries are following suit.  At a technical level, changes in regulation and the introduction of many new building, planning and environmental regulations require expert technical and scientific input at the early stages of architectural design. The project design process is moving towards a cyclic and iterative rather than linear model, which will translate into the spatial transformation of the built environment in the medium to long term.

  1. Building information modelling (BIM)

Building information modelling is an innovative technology and process that is transforming the way buildings are designed, analysed, constructed, and managed across the globe. “The time for us to rethink our quality control systems is now and for us all to benefit from information technology that is constructed and developed efficiently for a construction environment,” says Vaughan Harris, executive director of the BIM Institute in South Africa.

Du Preez explains that 3D Modelling is just part of the BIM process and will only drive transformation if it’s combined with wider and deeper support from the industry, including behaviour, culture, transparency and processes.

  1. Demand for green cement

The global market for green cement is expected to grow to US$38.1 billion by 2024 from US$14.8 billion in 2015.  Green cement reduces the carbon footprint of construction activities through the substitution of cementitious industrial wastes, such as fly ash from coal-fired power plants and slag from the steel and iron processing industry, as a replacement for traditional cement.

Demand for green cement in Africa will provide an increasingly lucrative market over the next few years due to growing trends in sustainability and energy efficiency for both buildings and infrastructure.

Du Preez believes that 2017 will witness an increase in demand from local African marketplaces for more sustainable products in the local built environment.

“The Southern African construction industry is a growing market offering attractive business opportunities,” he says.

  • The fifth annual African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo is taking place from 23 – 24 May 2017 at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg. It will provide access to the African built environment.