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Game of Steel: Steel Awards 2023 to celebrate the power of steel past, present and future

Home Metals Fabrication Game of Steel: Steel Awards 2023 to celebrate the power of steel...

NOMINATIONS for this year’s Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) Awards have featured in everything from local community newspapers to the Guinness Book of Records and have taken shape everywhere from Cape Town to West Africa.

The judging of almost 40 diverse nominated projects showcasing pioneering innovation and courageous design is complete, and planning for this year’s flagship event in Johannesburg on October 19 is rapidly gathering momentum.

“This iconic annual steel industry event, which enables the Institute to promote the capabilities of steel – an infinitely diverse, resilient material of construction – provides an important platform for honouring the hard work of individuals and companies across the entire value chain,” says SAISC CEO Amanuel Gebremeskel.

Glamour and fun meet technology

SAISC marketing and management consultant, Denise Sherman, says that although the red carpet event – commonly referred to as the ‘Oscars of the steel industry’ – will add some glamour, it is the ongoing hard work and innovation invested in the nominated and award-winning projects which will be the real drawcard.

Sherman says that the SAISC is expecting to host more than 750 industry attendees, at what promises to be a very colourful ‘dress up’ event, with its mediaeval Game of Thrones theme.

She hints that many popular aspects of former events have been retained – such as plenty of time for networking in the evening’s programme – however, a few changes can be expected. These include fun elements such as prizes for the 3 best-dressed individuals; and one for the best-dressed table.

This year’s Game of Thrones theme will not only add a fun element, taken as it is from the hit HBO series – but also highlights the importance of steel throughout the ages.

“Over thousands of years, few things had had as significant an impact on the development of the world as steel, which has effectively defined the way that people built structures, cultivated food, fought wars and travelled – to name but a few socio-political elements of life through the ages hallmarked by steel,” Sherman observes.

She adds that the entire process of nomination and presentation of projects has also been completely digitised this year, featuring an online template provided to assist with submissions to the SAISC’s recently revamped website. This has significantly improved the quality of entries this year.

“Both the nominators and project teams have embraced technology to showcase their projects. The quality of the project entry information is what makes the Steel Awards work so well, and is integral to their success,” she says.

Pan-African punch

“On a more serious note, the Game of Thrones portrays turbulent geo-politics and intense competition – very similar to what the world is experiencing currently, and which is impacting the steel industry not only internationally, but also across the African continent,” Gebremeskel comments.

This year, he notes, the Steel Awards have a distinctly Pan-African flavour, with the addition of a new Pan-Africa Trailblazer category: “We have a number of entries from all over the African continent. This year, the Awards demonstrate very tangibly how South Africa’s products are being used all over the continent, and feature projects which range from mining to the construction of a church,” he says.

“The quality of the projects featured through these awards is particularly important. We are highlighting that the South African steel construction sector can successfully execute quality, world-class projects throughout Africa,” he adds.

Furthermore, as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement gains momentum and supply chains across Africa combine to drive growth, enabling companies to supply, process, fabricate and construct steel structures in many industries, Gebremeskel advises that it is important that an event such as the Steel Awards has evolved into a truly continental one.

A celebration of diverse collaboration

He also says that the number of nominations has increased this year, as have the number of entries from outside South Africa – as well as the number of projects featuring project interviews with steel supply chain professionals, such as engineers and architects.

“We always want to hear from the people who are engaging with our industry, for example specifying and designing in steel. This year, a number of architects, engineers, contractors and even project owners have participated in project interviews and entries. This also signifies the importance they ascribe to the Steel Awards, investing their time and efforts to ensure high standard entries,” he says.

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