Tag Archives: Concor Buildings

CONCOR BUILDINGS DELIVERING FAST TRACK STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PROJECT

Concor Buildings is synonymous with delivering fast track projects to the desired quality, on time and most importantly within budget.

Martin Muller, contracts manager at Concor Buildings, ascribes this characteristic as one of the reasons why the company secured the contract to construct the new student housing accommodation in Streatley Avenue, Auckland Park.

Being developed by Century Property Developments, The Campus, when completed at the end of 2018, will provide accommodation for 800 students predominantly from Wits and UJ. This will mitigate some of the shortages being experienced with student accommodation close to the tertiary education institutions.

Construction work started in January this year and practical completion is targeted for November 2018. This will allow the finishing trades access to ready the apartments for occupation in early 2019.

Designed with an industrial look and feel, The Campus is a four and six storey building with two basement levels. The multi-storey structure will house several communal areas including study rooms, computer labs, conference rooms, a games room and a gym facility.

Significantly, The Campus will be pursuing an EDGE Sustainability Certificate through the Green Building Council of South Africa. This international rating system looks at three key areas being energy, water and materials.

Describing the construction methodologies being used, Muller says that an in-situ cast concrete base structure was cast up to the ground floor transfer slab and that everything above this level is a combination of load bearing brickwork with precast slab elements and various steel finishes.

The sections above the transfer slab vary from four storey to six storey structures with eight apartment blocks in total. The design of the complex features a central core area which will house the access lifts, a pool and gym, a canteen and other services. The basement area will accommodate both parking and storage facilities for the students. All apartments will be fully furnished making it an easy rental for students.

Once the load bearing brickwork is completed, the precast slab elements which include floor slabs and staircases will follow.

An interesting challenge for the contractor is that the construction site is taking place within a residential area which is rich in heritage and care has to be taken at all times to adhere to the local bylaws and residents’ requests.

Adding to this factor, there are additional logistical challenges as the site itself is spread over 235 metres with an extremely narrow roadway making access to site challenging. To mitigate materials handling activities, Concor Buildings erected two tower cranes which were strategically placed to service the entire construction site.

“Fast track projects are challenging at the best of times but with these logistical factors at play we have had to pay even more attention to detail in planning,” Muller says. “It is critical that materials are delivered at the correct time to the correct location as there is no space for the stockpiling of materials on site. This means delivery of all bulk materials must dovetail accurately with the construction programme.”

He explains that during the detailed planning process, the team used resource linking to the various activities to ensure sufficient resources are available when and where needed. In this manner, the company has been able to mitigate most issues.

“It is this level of planning and the control of information flow that makes a fast track project a success, and it also calls for close communication between the client, the professional team, us and the many sub-contractors that are on site,” Muller says.

Majority of the finishing trades will be done by selected sub-contractors, and Muller says that the focus here has been on ensuring overall quality while controlling the cost. The polished concrete floor and ceilings will have an off-shutter finish from the slab elements above. The walls will be mostly whitewashed, and the furniture and finishes will be modular with a modern industrial look.

Safety, as always, is a non-negotiable on Concor Buildings’ projects but constructing within a residential area has required an even more focussed approach. Maintaining absolute safety on the roadway is vital and additional personnel have been put in place to ensure this.

Another important factor is working at height, especially on a project which is fast track in nature. Skilled tower crane operators are essential and Muller says that they will play an important role when it comes to lifting and positioning the precast elements.

Concor Buildings’ Visible Felt Leadership strategy can be seen on site, and management often takes part in the daily safety task instructions briefings showing solid leadership and commitment to the company’s safety objectives.

“We are synonymous with delivering fast track projects on time, within budget and to the required specifications, and to be able to do this is all about team work and understanding what is required of each individual. We have a cohesive team and ongoing communication is vital. The team includes a lot of strong young professionals who bring energy to the project,” Muller concludes.

AGILE CONCOR BUILDINGS DISPLAYS CAPABILITIES ACROSS CONTRACTS

Remaining agile and the ability to see beyond the obvious is still a winning formulae for Concor Buildings. Rui Santos, managing director of the company, which forms part of the Southern Palace Group, says that it is critical to be flexible in an emerging economy where there is demand for new build as well as repurposing of existing structures.

Santos says that construction companies must be able to offer a depth of capability as projects vary from exclusive high end mixed use developments to affordable student accommodation and basic infrastructure to the refurbishment of older structures.

“All our projects are important to us. We believe that it is our commitment to quality workmanship underpinned by sound construction methodologies and stringent safety protocols that gives the market confidence in our ability to deliver projects on time and within budget,” Santos says. “Our current projects aptly demonstrate our capabilities.”

Work in currently underway on phase 1 of the prestigious Oxford Parks, being developed by premier property development company Intaprop. Set to become a vibrant mixed use precinct, Oxford Parks will include upmarket green star rated offices (A & P Grade), apartments, penthouses and hotels, as well as niche supporting retail and cafés. Significantly, this has been selected as a pilot project for the Green Building Council of South Africa, to create a green precinct rating tool for public environment projects.

An important new construction contract is the Streatley Student Housing project being developed by Century Properties in Auckland Park. This is a fast track project and when completed will provide fit-for-purpose accommodation for 800 students.

Another fast track project secured by the company is the BMW Midrand Campus Project. This project will see the repurposing of the existing BMW distribution warehouse into a new training centre and will include the building/erecting of two new double storey office blocks under the existing roof of the warehouse.

With an established reputation in the reconfiguration of major shopping malls, it is no surprise that Concor Buildings secured the Maluti Crecent Shopping Centre project. The scope includes the reconfiguration of the existing mall and extensions to the shopping centre, which also include structured parking.

Work continues on the new Skukuza Safari Lodge for the South African National Parks Board (SANParks). This 128 bedroom three star double storey hotel is designed in a figure eight configuration with bedroom wings on either side of the centre’s double volume area. It also includes a thatched public facility with lounge, restaurant, kitchen and rest rooms.

Concor Buildings was also awarded a building contract by Sasol at its Impumelelo Mine. This fast track project scope includes the construction of surface production offices, management offices and change house facilities.

Santos says that the company is committed to collaborative partnerships that create shared value for all stakeholders. This strategy underpins its activities on all projects.

CONCOR BUILDINGS SECURES PHASE 1 OF OXFORD PARKS

Concor Buildings has secured the contract for the construction of Phase 1 of Oxford Parks. Situated at 199 Oxford Road, the entire Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this prestigious project will comprise four buildings totalling approximately 34,000 m2 and will include the new Johannesburg head office for BPSA.

Being developed by premier property development company Intaprop, Oxford Parks is set to become a vibrant mixed use precinct, comprising upmarket green star rated offices (A & P Grade), apartments and penthouses and hotels, as well as niche supporting retail and cafés.

Rui Santos, managing director of Concor Buildings, says that the current contract includes the construction of three basement levels and BPSA’s six office levels as part of Phase 1.

Work has begun on site, and he says Concor Buildings, formerly Murray & Roberts Buildings, is proud to be associated with this project which has been selected as a pilot project for the Green Building Council of South Africa, to create a green precinct rating tool for public environment projects. Significantly, all buildings within the Oxford Parks Precinct will be designed to a minimum standard of 4 Star Green Rating in terms of the GBCSA standards.

Concor Buildings has an established track record of delivering quality fast track projects, and contractual completion is set for November 2018.

CONCOR BUILDINGS SHOWCASES FLEXIBILITY ON MAKRO RIVERSANDS PROJECT

Visible Felt Leadership is a philosophy that Concor Construction drives and an excellent example of a project where this is reaping significant rewards is the Concor Buildings Makro Riversands contract.

Concor Buildings, previously known as Murray & Roberts Buildings, is part of Concor Construction which was recently acquired by a consortium led by Southern Palace Group.

This is an extremely busy construction site with activities on all faces with people and machinery moving everywhere, yet it does not seem congested and everyone seems to have a thorough knowledge of what needs to be done and why. It is apparent when one walks through the site that there is ongoing interaction between all levels of personnel on this contract and this high level of communication is ensuring the success of the project.

When completed the massive new Makro will be a 12 metre high single storey structure that includes the store, offices and outbuildings. Roadways and parking areas are also included in the scope of the contract.

Scaffold activities for brickwork and plastering.

The contract was awarded to Concor Buildings by Massmart in February 2017, however external issues outside of the contractor’s control led to a delay in being able to start concrete casting.

This, according to contracts manager, Martin Muller, had a 41 day impact on the critical path of the baseline programme but also provided the opportunity to showcase Concor Buildings’ flexibility and responsiveness to the changing needs of the project due to the delay.

“We were able to mobilise the necessary competent core team initially, and implement the necessary acceleration in the programme to bring it back on track to ensure that the newly agreed store opening would not be compromised,” Muller explains.

He say that the original sequence of works had been to proceed from the east to the west but, because of the unprecedented delay, the programming was resequenced with construction starting from both ends at the same time.

This required a change in the level of resourcing on the project to accommodate the accelerated works programme.

“The resequencing and accelerating of the programme has crashed all the activities with some of these now completely out of sequence. This has put pressure on ensuring that all information is received on time and requires monitoring of all activities on site to ensure that everything is done correctly the first time,” Muller says.

Formwork being stripped and stacked.

One of the primary challenges on the project is to keep close track of the actual costs versus the budget especially because of the accelerated programme. Also important is the close management of people and productivity including sub-contractors. There are currently 565 people on site, but this is expected to increase to over 1000 at project peak.

Muller says that several initiatives have been implemented aimed at keeping rework and wastage to an absolute minimum. One of these is the daily monitoring of brick and concrete usage, while another is tracking of the labour cost to complete these elements.

“These are important aspects on this contract and have involved the ongoing education and training of both our people and sub-contractors. Often the focus is on construction methodologies only but we believe it is essential to empower all our people on site to understand the ramifications of wastage and rework,” Muller says.

Following site establishment, the contractor started on the foundation work while simultaneously procuring the long lead items.

Levelling off the external hard stands in preparation for concrete casting.

The first concrete was eventually poured on May 3rd and shortly thereafter the structural steel and concrete structure activities began concurrently.

Significantly, on the Makro Riversands structure the complete perimeter walls are being constructed with brick and mortar as opposed to the use of conventional dry wall and sheeting above the three metre level.

Muller says that not only is this type of building activity more labour intensive, the height at which these construction activities is taking place has necessitated the use of additional access handling equipment to be able to access the full extent of the 12 metre structure. Increased focus has also been placed on all activities related to working at height.

Safety has also been a critical element of Concor Buildings approach to all projects, and this one is not different.

Services and other trades working together to achieve the end date.

Muller explains that contractor has mitigated the risks with the high number of people on site, the accelerated programme and the fact that construction is being undertaken on more than one face, by increasing the number of safety officers and representatives on site.

“In addition to the daily site task instructions which are held every morning by the respective foremen and the weekly toolbox talk on site, there is a high level of interaction from supervisory level as well as management, and this visible felt leadership is paying huge dividends in terms of productivity, quality workmanship and safety,” Muller says.

A significant portion of the labour force on site is from the local community, and while largely unskilled people, wherever possible skills transfer is being done to ensure sustainability of the community.

In addition to this, there are a high number of interns on site as well. This is an extension of the existing Concor Construction programme with Go for Gold students and underpins the company’s commitment to supporting continued knowledge sharing, development and up skilling of graduates.

Commenting on specific construction activities, Muller says that the actual monolithic concrete floor which is an important element for Makro is on the critical path of the project. The floor is designed to accommodate the high levels of vehicular traffic and storage as well as the requisite load bearing capacity of the store.

Before the floor can be cast it is essential that the entire structure be completed; this includes the roof structure and all the perimeter walling and ensuring that the entire construction is watertight. The flooring itself will take about three weeks to be cast under stringent quality control measures, and this one of the reason why the contractor is pushing to complete the programme.

Once the flooring has been cast, access will need to be given to Makro so racking and other internal structures can be assembled.

Once completed Makro Riversands would have consumed a total of 1 million cement stock bricks, used 9 000 m3 of readymix.

Muller is ably assisted on this project by site agent, Andrew Kagaso and general foreman, Petrus Nthombeni.