Although the hot dip galvanizing industry sees its future in construction in the protection
of structural steel, one must not forget that, especially in South Africa, concrete structures
dominate in buildings. In the UK the movement away from concrete to structural steel
has been phenomenal over the past 15years or so such that structural steel now represents
74% of the new construction market versus 25% in the past. Clearly, should this
transition become a reality locally the opportunities for all those involved in this industry,
including the hot dip galvanizing industry would be outstanding. However, this article
will focus on the opportunities presented by the existing building practices.
Infrastructure structures, which are critical in nature, such as bridges, must be designed
with longer life expectancies than in the past. In the UK bridge design lives have to be
120 years+, in the USA in excess of 75 years is mandatory. Is this an opportunity for hot
dip galvanizing? Worldwide yes, but what about locally? The total market for reinforcing
steel (rebar) in South Africa is of the order of 300 000 tonnes per year. If 5% of this could
be converted to HDG (as in Australia) the added consumption of zinc would be 750
tonnes. How can hot dip galvanized rebar assist in the construction industry?