#12 Will ABTs hold the public purse to ransom?

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It is expected that new programs like the ASIDI or Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative program will stimulate crucial education projects. ASIDI targets over 3000 schools across South Africa for reconstruction or service improvements – great news for local communities.

In the Eastern Cape, 168 000 schools are planned. This will tick some boxes in the region come election time. Unfortunately the “need for speed” is resulting in decisions that appear to sacrifice quality, longevity, usability and pupil safety.

The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) Council resolution (approved by the Cabinet) requires 60% of government's social infrastructure buildings to be constructed from pre-fabricated ABTs by 2017.  This decision is based on the assertion by CSIR Built Environment division that ABTs can offer significant savings in building time and costs”.

The CSIR Built Environment division is claims that Alternate Building Technologies or ABTs, are not only faster to erect, they also offer “significant savings in energy and life-time costs of ownership”.

Dr Llewellyn Van Wyk, CSIR Principal Researcher Building Science and Technology Department is quoted as saying: “Of the 40 systems that have been identified for use in the construction of schools, 32 of them perform better (generally) than conventional buildings”.

The Clay Brick Association of South Africa took a closer look at the performance of five schools built with these alternate building systems to establish the validity of the CSIR’s support of ABTs. These schools were built during the past three years

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