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National standards aim to make living on dolomite-based land safer

Studies conducted by various departments within the engineering sector in collaboration with National Department of Public Works and the Association of Engineering Geologists, indicate that 25% of Gauteng is located on dolomite-based land.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) launched six national standards (SANS) dealing broadly with the subject of land development on dolomite during the annual SABS Convention, held at the Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg on 11 October 2012. The objective of the SANS 1936 series is to set requirements for the development of dolomite land in order to ensure that people live and work in an environment that is seen by society to be acceptably safe, where loss of assets is within tolerable limits, and where cost-effective and sustainable land usage is achieved.

Risk is mitigated

The importance of these standards lie in the fact that between four and five million South Africans currently live on dolomite areas, which makes it impractical and impossible to move these people to other, safer areas. 25% of Gauteng, the commercial, mining and manufacturing centre of South Africa, is located on dolomite land. Development can therefore not be prohibited - the risk can only be mitigated.

"It was therefore deemed necessary to provide a standard solution which will provide guidelines through an integrated risk management approach," explained Dr. Sadhvir Bissoon, standards executive at the SABS. Development in areas located on dolomite-based land cannot be prohibited due to the vast demands of our economy - the risk must be mitigated to ensure that the safety of all those who reside, work or play on the land.

Soil and rock profiling

SANS 633:2012 soil profiling and rotary percussion borehole logging on dolomite land in Southern Africa for engineering purposes was developed for the purpose of soil and rock profiling for dolomite areas. The standard serves to standardise the methods, procedures and nomenclature required to accurately define ground profiles for the purposes of infrastructure development and the repair of subsiding dolomite land.

SANS 634:2012 geotechnical investigations for township development identifies the applicable requirements for a preliminary and two-phase detailed geotechnical site investigation on unoccupied undeveloped parcels of land for settlement development purposes. SANS 633 and SANS 634 are complimentary to the SANS 1936 series and all six standards represent a world first in terms of national standards for land development on dolomite.

"South Africa's growing population and influx of workers from outlying areas requires the vast development of land for residential and business purposes. SABS's series of national standards is a safety net for both the government and private sector when developing such land for South Africans," concluded Bissoon.