Globally, the structural engineering and concrete construction industries are facing a number of challenges that will change the way that concrete structures are designed and maintained in the future. The effects of premature deterioration of national infrastructures, often linked to material degradation or structural insufficiencies, are increasingly apparent and need to be addressed urgently. In addition, many existing structures are reaching the end of their design service life and need to be assessed for an extension of their usage. The above results in many structures needing revised structural design, service life extension, efficient repair, strengthening and rehabilitation. Furthermore, requirements for sustainability are becoming an integral part in modern materials technology and have also affected the way in which we address the aspects of maintenance, repair and strengthening of concrete structures.
The above challenges need to be met with innovative technology and creative thinking. New durability design methods such as performance-based design and associated testing of concrete durability properties can help to address some of these issues for structures built in future. For the assessment of existing structures, modern assessment methods have emerged and are increasingly applied in practice. For successful application of such methods, interactions between equipment suppliers, researchers and practicing engineers is imperative. For repair, rehabilitation and retrofitting of structures, novel materials and system solutions are being developed worldwide on an ongoing basis. Performance evaluation and long-term behavior of novel materials and systems still need to be investigated in order to update existing codes of practice in the field. ICCRRR 2024 aims to address these matters and showcases how modern, innovative design and technology can help in creating a sustainable and durable concrete infrastructure for future generations.
South Africa is a perfect host country for an event addressing the themes of the conference. As one of the worldwide leading emerging economies, South Africa is facing significant challenges with respect to the maintenance of existing infrastructure, representing the situation in many of the other large emerging and established economies around the world. Novel concrete technology and construction methods are commonly adopted from overseas, providing the grounds for international cooperation and exchange of knowledge. Additionally, South Africa has always been influenced by European structural design procedures and is expected to adopt the Eurocode in the near future. The exchange between the regional industry in Southern Africa and international leading structural engineers, researchers and concrete technologist supports the efforts to channel future developments in the broad fields of concrete durability and repair towards meeting the global requirements for sustainability, durability and structural safety.