Background to Reinforced Concrete

Concrete has been used as a constructional material for centuries because most of those parts of the world where early civilisations were established had natural cement deposits. In Mediterranean countries there are many remains of Roman concrete construction. Early in the 19th century, the artificial cement, Portland Cement, consisting chiefly of clay and limestone chalk, was invented. This allowed for a more uniform and economic cement to be manufactured almost anywhere in the world. Relying on the great strength of concrete in compression, numerous splendid concrete structures were build.

It was only in the latter half of the 19th century that the weakness of concrete in tension was overcome. The tension areas were reinforced by imbedding steel in the concrete to carry the tensile stresses. The development of this technology has resulted in the construction of all the wonderful sophisticated concrete structures, all over the globe, that we take for granted today.
"Encyclopedia Britannica"


South African Reinforced Concrete Engineers' Association


Our Goals

Established as a non-profit trade association, SARCEA exists to preserve the good name of the industry; to promote the interests of members; to encourage fair and equitable trading conditions; to establish optimum standards of design, workmanship and service and to ensure fair conditions of employment for all employed in the industry.

Membership is open to any company in the Republic of South Africa involved in the design, supply and placing in position of reinforcing steel for concrete structures. Associate menbership is also available to companies in neighbouring countries.

South African Reinforced Concrete Engineers' Association
South African Reinforced Concrete Engineers' Association


History of SARCEA

In January 1934, four reinforcing firms were admitted to the Witwatersrand Master Builders Association. At the time this was considered by some as the setting up of a monopoly, and after a legal battle a fifth member was admitted. In due course, however the steel reinforcement firms, who were specialist engineering contractors operating both in the building and civil engineering industries, felt that their interests would best be served by becoming affiliated to the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA).

An Association was constituted on 15 October 1942 with a membership of eight firms. This association was registered with the Industrial Registrar in April 1944, re-registered with the Industrial Registrar under the Labour Relations Act of 1956 and confirmed recently in terms of the Labour Relations Act 1995 (Act 66 of 1995).
"Fifty Years in Construction", SARCEA 1992"



South African Reinforced Concrete Engineers' Association





SARCEA Today

The reinforcing industry has advanced technologically, particularly in the handling, quick and efficient cutting, bending and placing in position of reinforcing bars. Members still face challenges similar to those faced by previous generations. Today however, the problems are of greater complexity and are solved at a greater pace.

It is through affiliation to, and active participation in SEIFSA, MBSA and SAFCEC, that the various SARCEA committees make their contribution to our industry, the construction industry in general and indeed to the whole country.

The Contractual committee is active in ensuring fair and equitable conditions of contract. The Technical committee is involved in all the technical matters affecting the industry, including SABS specifications while the Steel Supply committee ensures the smooth acquisition of materials. The Public Relations committee is charged with the duty of enhancing our relationship with the rest of the industry and encouraging participation from our members. The work of the Training and Development committee, as well as that of the Industrial Relationsa committee, is ever increasing in line with the latest legislation and the desire to enhance the lives of all who are employed in the industry