SAFEGUARDING EXCELLENCE IN PRECAST CONCRETE
The Concrete Manufacturers Association NPC (CMA) is the primary representative of the precast concrete industry. Now in its 42nd year, it initiates standards in close cooperation with StanSA and collaborates with its members in developing new products and services.
Precast concrete is a building material which slots very comfortably into the modern world of fast track and modular construction, in many instances leading the way with innovative technologies and applications.
SETTING THE STANDARDS
The CMA’s promotional activities target architects, engineers, developers, contractors and property owners and the pooled knowledge and expertise of its members fosters an environment which encourages the development of innovative, environmentally and community-friendly products.
The Association’s prime focus is on ensuring that its members’ products are applied correctly. A CMA mark serves as a guarantee of quality and the CMA takes responsibility should a problem arise.
Members are encouraged to hold accredited product certification such as the relevant SANS standard or to manufacture to specifications laid down by the CMA. Should a problem arise the CMA will carry out an investigation, and, if the product does not conform to the required standard, the member company is obliged to rectify the situation.
Down the years the CMA has published numerous manuals, brochures and audio visuals on the practical application of precast concrete and this material is available at a nominal charge. It also runs refresher courses and holds seminars to introduce new technology and methodology, often featuring overseas experts.
Over the past 15 years the CMA has virtually re-written, amended or upgraded nearly all the national standards on precast concrete.
These standards focus on both the manufacture and application of precast concrete. The preparation of new and the revision of existing standards is undertaken in collaboration with bodies such as The South African Bureau of Standards and Agrément South Africa.
An example is the revised paving standard, SANS 1058:2012, which replaced the old compression-based standard with three new performance measurement techniques in 2010. Another is SANS 508:2007 which covers the manufacture of concrete retaining blocks (CRB).
Moreover, the Association was instrumental in getting approval from Agrément South Africa to license precast concrete slab producer members to manufacture precast concrete foundation beams for the construction of entry-level single-storey houses.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Research is an important CMA function. For instance, the Association has been running an ongoing programme at Virginia, Free State, in which concrete pipes’ capacity in handling anaerobic conditions associated with high levels of H2S and H2SO4, has been closely examined and analysed.
Another initiative was the introduction of the CMA Roofing System in 2004 which foreshadowed a surge in the use of concrete roof tiles for low-cost housing. Similarly, the Association has made a significant contribution to the provision of subsidy housing by offering CAD-based architect-designed plans for a 40m² house built with modular masonry.
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