International Conference on
Construction Materials and Structures
24-26 November 2014   I   Johannesburg   I   South Africa
                     Post-Conference Report on ICCMATS-1, 2014

The International Conference on Construction Materials and Structures (ICCMATS-1) was successfully held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24-26 November 2014. Organised and hosted by the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the core value of the conference was embedded on science and engineering as a necessary vehicle for addressing world-class infrastructure needs and related modern socio-economic impacts on the global community. The ICCMATS conference provided a broad scientific and engineering treatment of the major construction materials comprising cement, concrete, steel, bitumen, timber, masonry, polymers; with the aim of cutting across the major forms of physical infrastructure as a whole. In the same vein, the conference intended to bridge the modern scientific advances between construction materials and structures. 
The conference Call for Papers received an excellent response of which about 200 peer-reviewed papers were accepted and published. The Proceedings were published by IOS Press, BV Netherlands in two (2) volumes of 1545 pages. Despite the intense global scare of Ebola scourge that affected the travel plans of several delegates, approximately 140 delegates from 40 countries participated in the event viz: Nigeria, Libya, United Arab Emirates, USA, Pakistan, UK, Iran, Netherlands, Italy, Algeria, Canada, Uganda, Latvia, Belgium, Ghana, China, Australia, Estonia, Indonesia, South Korea, Sudan, Russia, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, India, Ukraine, Oman, Malaysia, Egypt, New Zealand, Turkey, Mauritius, Hungary, Japan, Lebanon, Namibia, South Africa. The photographic record below captured some of the highlights that unfolded and transpired during event.

Welcome function photos
Opening and plenary photos
Session breaks photos
Conference dinner photos
Delegates visit Univ of JHB
The proceedings in a nutshell
The conference was opened by the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovations at the UJ, Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala. Following his Opening Address that extended an exuberant and warm welcome to all international guests, the DVC presented the first keynote paper of the conference, which delved into theoretical and practical updating of Finite Element models for structural applications. This was followed by a stimulating keynote speech by Prof. Douglas Hooton from the University of Toronto and holder of NSERC/CAC Chair in Concrete Durability, who gave an exposition of the evolving scientific approaches to evaluation of the service life of concrete structures. The afternoon keynote speeches of the day were delivered by Dr. Klemm on use of superabsorbent polymers in cementitious systems and Prof. Murat Dicleli who described an innovative damper system proposed for protection of structures against seismic damage. Three keynote papers were presented on the second day, Tuesday 25th November 2014 with Prof. Nawawi Chouw providing a provocative presentation of alternative mechanisms of achieving ductility and mobility, so as to minimize earthquake damage in heavy duty structures. Prof. Caijun Shi then highlighted one of the exciting modern concrete technology advances which allows the design of ultra-high performance concrete for a variety of engineering applications. The single afternoon plenary lecture of the day was given by Prof. Kejin Wang who detailed the opportunities and the tremendous potential available in employing concrete nanotechnology. The final day of the event had two keynote lectures with Prof. Henry Alinaitwe vividly elucidating the common scenarios of construction failures in concrete structures, a plight that was echoed by delegates from Africa and other developing countries. The final keynote speech by Prof. Hiroyuki Miyamoto discussed some advanced techniques being employed in research, for enhancement of the characteristics of metallic materials.
Consistent with the technical focus of the conference, the papers presented in the Conference Proceedings covered a range of fields, categorized into nine (9) sub-topics and five (5) main themes viz. materials and characterization, durability of construction materials, structural implications and service life, sustainability and the environment, building science and construction. Table 1 gives the distribution of the published papers among the various sub-topics.

The conference dinner took place at Usambara, a fully-fledged multipurpose function centre set in the beautiful foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains. Musical entertainment by an accomplished saxophonist and UJ student, Mr. Heinrich Kritzinger provided a perfect setting for the colourful evening. The dinner was a highlight of the event, with delegates giving feedback of a memorable time. The evening was crowned with a Vote of Thanks delivered by Prof. Kejin Wang, on behalf of the international delegates, for the conference well-organised and conducted.
The closing function on the last day of the event, saw the giving of ICCMATS Awards for Excellent Papers by Students. The purpose of the Awards was to inspire and encourage emerging young researchers towards future research excellence. Four students received Awards, two of international category and two of local category. Mr. Matthew Scott and Mr. Musliu Akinropo won the local category Awards while Mr. Dans Naturinda and Ms. Hang Fang won the International category awards. The Awards were handed over to the winners by Prof. Douglas Hooton.
Researchers and high profile academics took few hours to pay a post-conference visit to the UJ Civil Engineering Science Department. There was a tour of research facilities and an interesting interaction between delegates, UJ students and staff.
The ICCMATS-1 Organizing Committee wishes to thank delegates, participants and all those who contributed to the running and success of the conference. ICCMATS-1 was a rewarding event and a fresh output of research contributions for the global scientific community. We are looking forward to inviting your participation for ICCMATS-2, 2017. Until then, Best Wishes.