We talk to one of the designers behind Ultra-Span

MiTek Software & Product Research Manager Paul Gadzikwa to tell us why he’s an ‘Ultra-Span evangelist’.
MiTek Software & Product Research Manager Paul Gadzikwa.

“I joined MiTek back in 2003 as a timber engineer, but it wasn’t until I moved to South Africa that I was introduced to Ultra-Span and began learning how to design with it.

“I liked what I saw, but I could already see ways I would like to improve it, so when I was asked to work on the project to develop Ultra-Span 2020 and Pamir, I jumped at the chance.

“We made a lot of improvements from the design, polishing it up to make sure that it was fully up-to-date and compliant with SANS codes and specification requirements, and ensure the software was easier to use.”

Design led

“We wanted people to be able to navigate the software, come up with strong, accurate designs and quotations without having to keep going back and making revisions. A streamlined, flexible and intuitive version with less manual intervention, which makes it more accessible to more users.

“This makes it so much better for the customer, enabling them to order just what is needed and providing the manufacturer with detailed, accurate orders.

“I know I’m biased, but I do think this is a great product that, together with the smart software, offer architects, designers, developers and builders a whole host of features.”

Winning features

“Number one, it’s very light. That’s one of the biggest things. When you look at some of the spans that we do, you look at a weight per square metre of a roof. You’re looking at about between 4kg to about 10kg per square metre of the structure. Compared to if you want to use timber, it will be way over that. Or take auto-works steel – this works out to about 14 to 16kg. Ultra-Span is just half the weight on average, if not less.

“Then the product is both vermin- and waterproof – the former being important if you’re building in a terrain where there are termites. And it’s non-combustible, which is obviously a great safety feature.

“Another big benefit is that you don’t need skilled labour to install Ultra-Span because we manufacture it made-to-measure and send it to site, ready labelled and with a small amount of on-site training, which we can provide, so everything can be simply put together with no fuss. The product is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, so it’s easy to handle and install.

“And it’s versatile in application – it works equally well in everything from small housing developments and apartments, through to warehouses and hospitals. It’s currently more competitive in the commercial sector because of steel prices.”

Spanning distances

“I think there’s a lot more potential in the warehousing sector in particular that we haven’t yet tapped into – but I can see Ultra-Span being a great solution.

“Depending on the customer’s experience and requirements, we can design for them, produce drawings, manufacture the product and deliver it to site – it’s a great all-round service!

“Of course, we also have clients who do their own designs and that’s fine too. We want to be responsive to what each customer needs.

“Something else that is useful here in SA is that you can fit pretty much everything Ultra-Span that you need for your project in one lorry container, and transport it in one go to even the remotest destination. This is already proving a great benefit in other parts of Africa where we have a market for Ultra-Span – something our clients really appreciate.

“I’d say Ultra-Span has so much to offer, it would be foolish not to consider it for your project – its lighter, stronger, more cost-effective, fire-, water- and vermin-proof, easy to assemble and arrives on your site made-to-measure and ready to assemble with the minimum of training. What’s not to like!?”

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