Professor of Construction Management in the Department of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela University, and the Principal, Construction Research Education and Training Enterprises
Prof John Smallwood is the Professor of Construction Management in the Department of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela University, and the Principal, Construction Research Education and Training Enterprises (CREATE). Both his MSc and PhD (Construction Management) addressed construction health and safety (H&S). He has conducted extensive research and published in the areas of construction H&S, ergonomics, and occupational health (OH), but also in the areas of health and well-being, primary health promotion, quality management, and risk management.
Publication outputs include papers in international journals, conference proceedings and reports, chapters in books, and articles, interviews and an H&S column in industry magazines. Completed chapters for books include the H&S chapter for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Architect’s Handbook of Construction Project Management in the capacity as principal co-author in 2004.
He supervises research at Honours, Masters, and Doctoral level, and has promoted 20 Doctoral studies, most of which were H&S-related. He has developed, organised, and co-presented a range of H&S courses, programmes, seminars, and workshops, and initiated and co-organised numerous construction H&S conferences.
He has 35 years of diverse H&S experience, including as a Contracts Manager, and is registered as a Pr CM, and a Pr CHSA, is a Member of the Association of Construction Project Managers (ACPM), Association of Construction Health and Safety Management (ACHASM), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), and a member of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA), International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), Institute of Safety and Health (IOSH), Institute of Safety Management (IOSM), and South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Saiosh). He is a Past-Councillor of the Council, South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP). Other leadership contributions include, Coordinator, Africa and Middle East, International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) Work Group 99 (Safety and Health in Construction).
Preventing the Collapse of Reinforced Concrete (RC) Structures, and Support Work During Construction
In recent years, there have been a spate of collapses in South Africa, in terms of buildings, slabs, and support work. Given this, a study was initiated to determine, inter alia, the importance of factors relative to preventing the collapse of RC structures during construction, and optimum support work and formwork and the integrity of structures under construction.
The study reported on entailed a self-administered survey of a convenience sample of six (6) ‘better practice H&S’ general contractors (GCs), a construction project management practice, as well as alumni of a South African university.
In terms of preventing the collapse of RC structures during construction, and optimum support work and formwork and the integrity of structures under construction, it can be concluded that the requisite ‘cocktail’ of factors must be in place and to an optimum extent. Competencies, design, registration of built environment professionals, HIRAs, supervision, quality management, H&S management, risk management, planning and H&S planning in various forms; integration of design and construction; the construction work permit; a range of support work aspects; inspections, circumspect loading, and conformance to requirements are all important as clusters or individually.
Recommendations include that conformance to requirements is the key, that such recommendations be scientifically evolved and communicated, a pre-requisite being that the required competencies exist, which can only be assured through a formal registration process, including that of contractors. Ideally, multi-stakeholder project H&S, quality, and risk plans should be evolved, and design and construction must be integrated. Then, general construction management and H&S planning must be a hallmark of all projects, and then optimum management and supervision to ensure execution of such planning.
Keywords: Collapses, Construction, Structures