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CSIR alternative housing and infrastructure asset management expert wins esteemed 2012 JD Roberts Award

26 September 2012

Dr. Kevin Wall's life-long career in innovative solutions for the built environment was recognised at the coveted annual JD Roberts Award yesterday evening in a ceremony which was held at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

In recognition of his leading role in developing solutions for alternative housing and infrastructure asset management, as well as for an innovative approach to maintenance of sanitation systems, Dr. Wall received the 2012 JD Roberts Award.

The annual JD Roberts Award, sponsored by Murray & Roberts, is held in partnership with the CSIR. Instituted by Murray & Roberts in 1980 in remembrance of one of the group's founding fathers, Dr JD ‘Douglas' Roberts, the award recognises and promotes competitive and environmentally-sustainable solutions to human dilemmas and encourages scientific research into technology that will enhance the quality of life of all South Africans.

Dr. Wall developed franchising models for the routine maintenance of municipal infrastructure. These social franchising partnerships have the potential to create many jobs for small entrepreneurs and workers. The model also assists municipalities to meet their service delivery targets. Dr. Wall's franchising model has been deployed in 400 schools in the Eastern Cape with another 1,100 to follow.  In addition, 600 households have also benefitted with another 2,400 to follow.

Dr. Louis Waldeck was announced as runner-up and was nominated for his leading role in establishing the Urban Dynamics Modelling Platform at the CSIR Built Environment. Dr. Waldeck's resulting system allows for the modelling of a city and the behaviour of residents in choosing, amongst others, a place to live and travel routes.  This information is used for high level decision making in the development of a city.

Douglas Roberts was a doyen of the construction industry in South Africa, well known for his innovation, entrepreneurial flair and passion for seeking and trying new techniques and ways of doing things. It is in this spirit that the JD Roberts Award is presented annually, recognising talent and research within the CSIR.

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