Construction industry supports research in CoMSIRU

29 Apr 2015 - 08:30

Professor Moyo, Professor Alexander and A/Professor Beushausen

The Concrete Materials & Structural Integrity Research Unit  (CoMSIRU) has been successful in securing new funding for its research. In the past, the Unit was mainly funded by the Cement & Concrete Institute (C & CI), who channelled funding from the cement industry to tertiary institutions. Due to dynamic changes in the industry, the Institute closed down in 2013.  Efforts were made to replace C & CI, and The Concrete Institute came into being, with the same mandate around education and training, but with a significantly reduced staffing and budget.

Professor Mark Alexander, CoMSIRU Director, is to retire at the end of 2015 and is keen to see the Unit in a strong financial position going forward.  Together with his co-directors, Prof Pilate Moyo and A/Prof Hans Beushausen, it was decided to approach construction companies for further funding.  They have been successful in securing funding from Haw & Inglis and Aveng Grinaker-LTA, with another two companies still in the pipeline.

Mr Enzo Menegaldo, MD of Haw & Inglis, graduated from UCT in 1983 with a BSc in Civil Engineering. The company’s core focus is major national and provincial arterial roads and urban highways, its expertise extends to urban infrastructure and select industrial, commercial, residential and sporting building projects.  The group has strong vertical integration with in-house crushing and concrete work operations to support its roadwork activities.

Mr Chris Botha, MD of Aveng Grinaker-LTA, is looking at ways of retaining young graduates in the company. He has decided to give young graduates the opportunity to register for the MEng degree in CoMSIRU, which will take three to five years to complete. The research projects they will be working on will feed into the company, and Aveng-Grinaker-LTA will give funding for the research work.

CoMSIRU has 30 to 40 full-time Master’s and Doctoral students at any time, with some part-time MEng students. Over the years, the Unit has received strong financial and other support from major agencies and companies such as The Concrete Institute, The National Research Foundation (NRF), Sika (SA) Pty Ltd., PPC Ltd, AfriSam, The Tertiary Education Support Programme (TESP) of ESKOM, The Water Research Commission (WRC), as well as UCT.

Professor Mark Alexander will step down as director of the Unit at the end of the year, and Professor Pilate Moyo will be the new director.