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A new forum for the roads industry, the Road Pavements Forum (RPF), will formally take over the functions and expand the objectives of both the Bituminous Materials Liaison Committee (BMLC) and the Cementitious Pavement Forum (CPF). The inaugural meeting of the Road Pavements Forum will be held at the CSIR Conference Centre, Pretoria, on 7 and 8 August 2000

The Bituminous Materials Liaison Meeting and the Cementitious Pavement Forum:

Since its inception on 22 September 1967 by the National Institute for Road Research (now CSIR Built Environment), the Bituminous Materials Liaison Committee (BMLC) has served as an invaluable forum for the roads industry. The overall objectives of the BMLC, established at the inaugural meeting in 1967, were "to keep the binder-producing sponsors of the Institute, and users, fully informed of activities and findings in the field of bituminous materials research, and to provide a forum for the discussion of problems of mutual interest to industry, road practice and the CSIR".

These initial objectives were subject to dynamic changes over the years. As a consequence, membership of the BMLC expanded from the initial "sponsors from the binder industry, a member of the Department of Transport, and some representatives of Provincial roads departments" to a comprehensive roads industry body with a membership of at least 500 people. Sessions on Asphalt Technology in Practice, together with the work conducted by the well-represented BMLC Standing Committees, underlined the forum's vital role in the blacktop industry.

Since 1991, the BMLC has been managed by a Steering Committee chaired by CSIR Built Environment and Sabita. These two organizations also agreed to co-fund the meetings of the BMLC. The well-established partnership between CSIR Built Environment and Sabita, based on a productive partnership in research and development, supported the BMLC in all its activities and directed improvements where deemed necessary. During this period a winning agenda was formulated to meet the needs of roads industry, with particular reference to bituminous materials technology to serve the developmental needs of the region.

Similarly, CSIR Built Environment and the Cement & Concrete Institute (C&CI) established the Cementitious Pavement Forum (CPF) in 1998. The objectives of the forum were to disseminate best practice to practitioners and to address issues of common interest to the roads industry. Similar to the BMLC, the CPF was managed by a Steering Committee providing direction as to the issues that needed to be addressed at the CPF meetings. CSIR Built Environment and C&CI jointly funded the CPF meetings.

Establishment of the Road Pavements Forum (RPF):

As the BMLC and the CPF were both addressing issues of common interest to the roads industry and both promoting excellence in road pavements technology, the need arose to combine the BMLC and the CPF, forming the Road Pavements Forum (RPF). Such a combination would serve the additional purpose of providing a single forum for interested parties in the interests of improved productivity. The objectives of the RPF would be similar to those of the BMLC and the CPF in that the RPF would essentially serve as a forum to share and exchange information and technologies and to discuss issues of strategic importance to the roads construction industry.

Specific goals to be achieved by the RPF include:

- Providing a perspective of overarching strategic issues as it affects pavement engineering.

- Promoting best practice;

- Co-ordination and linkage with other groupings;

- Establishment of task groups with specific national objectives;

- Provision of sufficient time for participation/discussion/advice and for social interactions;

- Dissemination of new technologies;

- Provision of a forum for acceptance of technological changes;

- Provision of a forum for interaction between theory and practice and for identification of technology development needs.

The RPF will also make provision for wider representation and participation from the broader roads industry, particularly new urban and provincial authorities, previously disadvantaged tertiary institutions and emerging contractors. It will also allow for broader regional representation. South Africa can play an important facilitating role as a catalyst for technology transfer in the southern African region, and the RPF could become a vital part in this process. It is envisaged that future development in the communications arena will allow regional participation at affordable rates.

For more information, please contact :

Benoit Verhaeghe

Tel : +2712 841 2907

Fax : +2712 8412690

E-mail :




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Last Modified on 06 July 2000