South Africa’s professional body for the timber construction sector, the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), recently appointed three new directors. Professor Walter Burdzik of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria, Werner Slabbert Jnr, Managing Director of Eco Log Homes and Dr Benson Wekesa, Technical Group Leader at the CSIR, have many years’ experience in timber design, timber construction and the engineered timber sectors.


Professor Walter Burdzik

Prof Burdzik, BEng (Mech), BEng (Civil), M Eng (Structural), PhD, PrEng, has been involved with teaching timber design in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria since the early 1980s when the Hans Merensky Trust sponsored the timber research in the department. Since then, he has developed the timber design courses for the civil as well as architectural students at the University of Pretoria. The development of a post graduate timber design course was a natural progression.

Prof Burdzik was on the first committee of the South African Truss Plate Association, which later developed into the ITC-SA. He has been involved in numerous research projects that were driven by what he perceived as shortcomings in the design codes. Investigations of failed roofs are of special interest to him as he believes that these should be used to adjust the codes to prevent further failures.

Prof Burdzik has more recently joined Unilam Pressings in the capacity of structural engineer.

Werner Slabbert Jnr

Managing Director of the award-winning timber construction company, Eco Log Homes, Werner Slabbert Jnr is deeply passionate about quality timber construction and contributing to improved and elevated standards in the industry. He is of the mind that quality timber construction has a profound role to play in the future of sustainable construction in South Africa and would like to see all South Africans join the growing trend towards a sustainable, greener future built with timber.

“I am honoured to have been elected as a board member of the Institute. With a long-held affinity for structural timber construction, I look forward to playing my part in upholding and improving standards in the sector, and educating all role players in the value chain on actively reducing the construction industry’s carbon footprint by making use of timber,” Slabbert says.

Dr Benson Wekesa

Dr Benson Wekesa is a registered Professional Engineer and is currently the Technical Group Leader at the CSRI, Built Environment operating unit, Agrément South Africa competency area. His highest academic qualification is a doctorate degree in Civil Engineering and he has extensive experience as a lecturer, consultant and researcher.

Amanda Obbes, ITC-SA National Coordinator remarks, “The role of the ITC-SA is to ensure consumer protection in the use of timber engineered products entered into with its membership and to regulate the professional conduct of its members. The Institute’s board of directors, now comprising 10 members, who are elected based on their unique guiding expertise, governs the workings and direction of the Institute in achieving this vision.”

“We extend a warm welcome to Prof Burdzik, Werner Slabbert Jnr and Dr Wekesa, who bring invaluable expertise and energy to the board, and wish them a long and fruitful tenure,” she concludes.

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