Tag Archives: Concor Engineering

AGILITY KEEPS CONCOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT ON TRACK

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) project on the N2, between Mtunzini and Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, has brought with it its own challenges and in so doing has allowed Concor Infrastructure to demonstrate its agility as one of South Africa’s leading roads contractors.

The project, which includes substantial works such as the building of 11 bridges, comprises the construction of a new northbound carriageway and the rehabilitation of the existing road to form the future southbound carriageway on this 34 km section of the N2.

Jonathan Pearce, Concor Infrastructure’s contracts manager on this project, says that while it is certainly not unusual to fine tune the construction programme on a major roads project such as this, the level of adaptability and flexibility required on an almost daily basis bears testimony to the company’s reputation for delivering on complex roads and infrastructure projects.

“Detailed planning forms the basis of all successful projects, however the high level of agility required on this project places it in a category of its own,” he says. Significantly, agility is one of Concor’s intrinsic values together with teamwork, care, trust and delivery.

Among the challenges experienced since the contract start in March 2016 has been the unpredictable tropical climate of the region with some weather events causing significant damage to works with consequential delays. Geotechnical difficulties were also experienced during piling activities on some of the critical bridges leading to delays to the construction programme for these structures.

Pearce says that the project remains on track and this is largely due to the team’s ability to adapt the sequencing to accommodate the various challenges as these have been confronted on site. “Not only is it about having a quick and appropriate reaction to situations as these arise, but it is also about having the necessary in-depth technical knowledge and practical experience as well as the necessary resources to minimise the impact of the consequential delays.”

A critical requirement of all major roads projects today is the up skilling of SMMEs from within the local communities. It is critical to be able to identify those individual enterprises that have the requisite basic knowledge and skills sets required for a particular task, and then to develop, mentor and grow these small businesses to become sustainable in their own right.

“In many instances, the learning curve for these SMMEs has been massive and it has required the construction programme to have the in-built flexibility to change at short notice to accommodate issues with the works packages where SMMEs are involved,” he says.

Careful planning applied to these areas of work which have included sub-soil drains, pipe culverts and head and wing walls has allowed the impact to be minimised wherever possible, while still ensuring that the quality of workmanship meets the high standards that Concor Infrastructure imposes on itself and its subcontractors.

An example where an SMME has contributed positively to the project is the construction of the v-drains which is being done using slip forming. The mechanisation of this task has ensured consistent quality and eliminated wastage, saving both on time and cost.

Commenting on the status, Pearce says that the road works have progressed to the point where most of the earthworks have been done as well as a significant portion of the layer works.

Asphalt work is also underway. The project will consume around 220 000 tonnes of asphalt and Concor Infrastructure established its own Comar asphalt batching plant on site, resulting in additional time and cost savings.

Of the 11 bridges, three are at a point where desk construction is underway and on the remaining eight only parapet work is still to be done. The two largest bridges are road over river structures with the eight span uMhlathuze River bridge being the longest at 240 metres while the uMlalazi River Bridge is 120 metres long. The former is at 75% completion while the latter is 90% complete. The extension of all four overpass bridges has been completed and Empangeni interchange bridge is almost finished.

INSERT BOX
Concor Infrastructure achieved the massive milestone of 2 million Lost Time Injury Free (LTIF) hours on the Mtunzini project. What is particularly significant is that the work is conducted on numerous faces on this complex construction project with a vast array of engineering facets being employed.

“Safety is an important focus at Concor, and the achievement on this site shows that the objective of zero-harm is within reach,” Pearce says. “Attention is given to ongoing skills development and training to ensure that all stakeholders, not just the Concor people, understand the safety requirements that have enabled us to reach this milestone.”

The site follows a stringent safety protocol on all its activities, which is underpinned by Concor’s Visible Felt Leadership approach.

CONCOR INFRASTRUCTURE TO CONSTRUCT NEW WIND FARMS

Concor Infrastructure has been appointed, in a consortium with Conco, by global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power as the construction contractor for two large scale wind farms.

The wind farms, located in the Northern and Western Cape, represent an investment of approximately R6.6. billion and construction will commence in June 2018.

Eric Wisse, managing director of Concor Infrastructure, says the company is well positioned to undertake these two major projects with its depth of experience and expertise. He points to the successful completion of the Loeriesfontein and Khobab Wind Farms in 2017 and prior to that the Jeffreys Bay and Noupoort Wind Farms.

“Concor Infrastructure has an established reference base that speaks to our capability and responsiveness, which enables us to deliver complex projects on schedule, within budget, and most importantly safely,” he says.

The 140 MW Kangnas wind farm is situated 52 km east of Springbok in the Northern Cape while the 110 MW Perdekraal East wind farm is about 80 km northeast of Ceres in the Western Cape. The wind farms are expected to begin commercial operation in 2020.

CIVIL ENGINEERING SECTOR CONCLUDES THREE YEAR WAGES AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

Today, the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) announced the signing between all parties in the civil engineering sector of a three-year settlement agreement with respect to wages and conditions of employment. The settlement will come into force from promulgation by the Minister of Labour later this year.

The negotiations were characterised by a deep understanding by all parties of the pressure under which the civil engineering sector has been operating for the last few years.
The employers were represented by South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) and Consolidated Employers’ Organisation (CEO) and the employees by the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union (BACWU) and National Union of Mine Workers (NUM).

The parties agreed to a 7.5% wage increase across the board for the first and second year. The increase for the third year will be 7.5% or CPI , whichever is the greater.

Negotiations began in the last week of March 2018, and what is significant is that during negotiations real industry issues were dealt with.

The BCCEI is a sector specific bargaining council created in terms of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA), and it responsible for overseeing the funds and benefits administration, compliance, enforcement and exemption of the various Collective Agreements concluded within the BCCEI.

WHITTLESEA ROAD GETS UPGRADE BY CONCOR INFRASTRUCTURE

A busy section of the R67 route between Whittlesea and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape will soon be safer for motorists and communities alike, as Concor Infrastructure, under the supervision of KBK Engineers, makes good progress on its contract for the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) to widen the roadway and improve vertical and horizontal alignments.

Scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2019, work has been ongoing since November 2016 on a 15,4 km stretch of the road between Whittlesea and the Swart Kei River, including a 740 metre section that runs through the town of Whittlesea.

According to Concor Infrastructure site agent Lwandiso Reve, the road remains a single lane carriageway, but a three metre shoulder is being added on each side, making for safer driving conditions. The widening has also meant extensions to culverts and cattle crossings under the roadway.

Lwandiso Reve, Concor Infrastructure site agent on the Whittlesea contract.

“SANRAL wanted us to ensure that traffic flow was disrupted as little as possible, so we have created six diversions around the areas where culvert and other extensions were necessary,” says Reve. “This has allowed us to keep any stop-go arrangements to a minimum.”

Even in town, where the main street is a hive of activity and traffic during daylight hours, Concor Infrastructure is conducting roadwork at night to ease the disruption for residents and motorists. While this section of the road is receiving patching and a 40 mm asphalt surfacing, the rest of the work involves the full reconstruction of the roadway.

Aggregate has been quarried, crushed and screened at a nearby source, providing material for two 150 mm selected layers of G5 material, one 300 mm sub-base layer of G5 material with G4 grading, and a 150 mm G1 base layer. AfriSam’s Roadstab is being utilised for road stabilisation, and the surface is completed with a bituminous single seal with 20 mm aggregate and slurry, or Cape seal.

Infrastructural work includes the extension of seven major culverts, as well as six livestock crossings under the road. Partnerships with small businesses from the local communities including the Enoch Mgijima local municipality, the Chris Hani District and the Eastern Cape Province are key to the project as part of Concor Infrastructure’s transformational focus on enterprise development, says Reve. This is also a SANRAL requirement.

Some 45 SMMEs have been contracted for work including subsoil drains, concrete line drains, kerbing, gabions and permanent fencing for the road reserve. Local enterprises have also been engaged to manufacture precast concrete bricks, blocks and kerbs, and have also laid paved roads in the communities themselves.

CONCOR INFRASTRUCTURE BOOSTS ORDER BOOK WITH NEW CONTRACTS

Concor Infrastructure recently secured two significant contracts in the mining sector, and managing director, Eric Wisse, says the company, formerly known as Murray & Roberts Infrastructure, is well positioned to take advantage of the recently increased optimism in the mining space.

As part of Concor Construction, which was acquired by a consortium led by Southern Palace Group, the company is a proudly Level 1 B-BBEE contributor.

Concor Infrastructure was awarded the Belfast Implementation Project for Exxaro’s new coal operation in Mpumalanga. This 22 month contract comprises major bulk earthworks and civil infrastructure that will be the enabling works for the mining operation. It also includes the upgrading of a provincial gravel road to surfaced standard that will facilitate access to the mine.

Wisse says that the company’s extensive experience in mining infrastructure projects will allow its teams to leverage this expertise on the project.

“We also secured the contract for the earthworks and civils for the box cut at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef mine in Limpopo,” Wisse says. This is the first step of the Shaft 2 project and site mobilisation of Concor Infrastructure’s team has already begun. Shaft 2 will become the main production shaft for Platreef. The company’s initial scope of work will require the excavation of a surface box cut to 29 metres below surface, and the construction of a concrete hitch for the head frame. This 103 metre structure will house the shaft’s permanent hoisting facilities and support the shaft collar.

Concor Infrastructure has also received a contract for road rehabilitation on the Bakwena highway, on the section from Pumulani Plaza to Hammanskraal. Over the last five years, the company has worked on the Bakwena highway on sections stretching from Pretoria northwards. The work involves asphalt milling, and asphalt inlay and overlay work.

Wisse says that work continues apace on the company’s other major roads projects in the Eastern Cape, North West, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.

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.

DOUBLE-HEADER FOR CONCOR IN SA BEST PROJECTS AWARDS

Concor has made a great showing in the 17th annual Construction World Best Projects competition, showcasing excellence in the South African building and civil engineering sectors.

Experienced members of the construction fraternity judge the awards, which are hosted by Crown Publications, the publishers of Construction World magazine. There are six categories available for project entries, and they are judged according to a range of criteria that include construction innovation technology, design, cost, quality, risk management, health, safety, corporate social investment and environmental impact.

In the Building Contractors category, Concor Buildings won the top award for its Menlyn Shopping Centre project; and in the Civil Engineering Contractors category, Concor Infrastructure received a ‘highly commended’ award.

MENLYN SHOPPING CENTRE
Winning the Construction World’s Best Project award in the Building Contractors category is a huge accolade for Concor Buildings, especially given the scale and complexity of this contract. In a R2,2 billion extension and refurbishment, this project has made Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria the ‘biggest shopping experience’ in Africa.

The Aviary Hall before and after refurbishment. Tenants traded during construction.

The length of the malls – on four levels – is now over 3,4 km, and the shops cover 173 500 m2 of floor space. In addition to all the refurbishment work – which included 14 000 m2 of mall ceilings and tiling – some 60 000 m2 of retail space was added. All this was completed in less than 15 months. There were close to 60 subcontractors on site when the project hit its busiest phase, with about 100 bricklayers placing 3,5 million bricks.

The Celestial Hall before and after refurbishment which included skylight construction.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this job was that tenants and shoppers still had access to the existing mall areas so there could be business as usual. This meant that many of the teams worked at night, so that tasks were done before the mall opened each day at 08h00.

The project even received a Green Building 4 Star rating for its environmental and sustainability considerations – a ‘first’ for the retail sector in South Africa.

To fast track the construction programme, the project made use of steel elements which were fabricated in advance in a controlled factory environment. These were used to achieve a contemporary and timeless atmosphere with light-filled spaces, also including aesthetic features.

With limited space, all logistics were carefully planned so that delivered materials could be quickly erected, creating space for the next deliveries. Innovative use was made of smaller cranes and spider cranes on the decks to move steel to required areas.

An aerial before and after view of the Menlyn Shopping Centre.

LOERIESFONTEIN AND KHOBAB WIND FARMS
In the Civil Engineering Contractors category of the Construction World’s Best Projects competition, Concor Infrastructure was highly commended for the two pioneering renewable energy projects in the Hantam Municipality of the Northern Cape: the Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and the Khobab Wind Farm.

In a consortium with CONCO, Concor Infrastructure was responsible for the construction of all 122 wind turbine generator foundations, as well as the adjoining hard stands and internal roads on both sites. Each of the wind turbine bases is 19 metres in diameter, and holds a 99 metre high turbine tower with an 80 tonne nacelle.

Concrete design was key to the performance of this contract, demanding the right strengths while limiting the carbon footprint. The plinths at Loeriesfontein, for example, were constructed using high strength 60 MPa concrete with a design mix of 75% ground granulated corex slag (GGCS) in place of cement. Concor Infrastructure used 50% waste material for both the plinth concrete and the 30 MPa conical base concrete. This helped reduce the project’s estimated overall carbon footprint by 31%.

All this was done in an efficient and continuous work process that allowed each foundation base to be completed from excavation in just 10 days.

In line with Concor Infrastructure’s skills development strategy, these remote projects managed to source and train much of their workforce from the Loeriesfontein community 60 km away.

Situated in such an arid area, the project conserved water through re-use and re-treatment, using a screening system to remove the heaviest solids and bacteriological rollers for the remainder. Many environmental issues were addressed, including protecting and trans locating threatened and endangered plant species, and reclaiming contaminated soil through bioremediation.

Safety was always a high priority, allowing the project to achieve two million Lost Time Incident Free (LTIF) hours in August 2017.

About Construction World’s Best Projects awards
These are the only awards that recognise excellence across the entire built environment from contractors (civils, general builders and specialists) to suppliers to professional services (such as architects and consulting engineers).

The credibility of the awards is ensured by the experience of the three judges, each of whom has been in the industry for decades. They also represent various professional bodies of which they were presidents, namely the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Master Builders Association (MBA).

Final base pour – number 122 on Khobab.