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One of the major challenges facing the new South Africa is that of providing shelter for its burgeoning urban population. Current estimates of housing needs vary considerably because of the differences in assumptions on which they are based. One of the most authoritative commissions in recent years, the de Loor Commission, concluded that the existing housing backlog is 1 299 000 units and the number of shelters to be put up for new family formations amounts to 198 000 units p.a. Thus in order to provide for new family formation and to eradicate the existing backlog over 10 years,
approximately 300 000 units have to be provided p.a.
In the previous issue sponsored by the South African Division, in 1990, Trevor Geach (an ex Vice-president) commented on the changes which had occurred in South Africa since the creation of the Division by a group of enthusiastic members in 1937. At that time, and up to the end of World War 2, it was accepted that the sign of a competent structural engineer was membership of the Institution of Structural Engineers.
The paper describes the design and construction of an aluminium smelter at Richards Bay, South Africa, for Alusaf; which was justified on the basis of unique cooperation agreements regarding the major inputs to the process. Upon completion the smelter is one of the world’s largest, and is probably the largest constructed in one building phase. It describes the history of the project from feasibility studies in 1991 to completion in 1995.
R.F. Ford and C. Lilley