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 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 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 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.
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.
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).
Extensive realignment and rebuilding of the R72 route from Port Alfred to the Fish River by Concor Infrastructure will make this busy route safer and more suited to heavier traffic.
Concor Infrastructure, previously known as Murray & Roberts Infrastructure, is part of Concor Construction which was recently acquired by a consortium led by Southern Palace Group.
According to Concor Infrastructure project manager Bennie Hook, the road has become much busier in recent years with vehicle numbers climbing to about 5,500 a day. Up to 40% of this traffic is commercial or heavy transport trucks.
The Concor Infrastructure contract awarded by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) covers the 27.5 km between Port Alfred and the Fish River Bridge, and includes the addition of alternate passing lanes in each direction. The project is expected to be completed by October 2018.
Hook says the work begins in Port Alfred, and will improve the urban road through the town, and also add shoulders, kerbs, drains and even pedestrian walkways in places. The bulk of the work is taking place on the rural road with rebuilding, broadening and realigning to make it stronger, safer and longer lasting.
SANRAL required that the project be implemented in such a way as to avoid the ‘stop-and-go’ traffic management method as far as possible, due to the traffic disruption this causes as well as the associated safety hazards. The project roll-out first proceeded on the ‘left-hand side’ (facing west towards the Fish River), and will move over to the other side only when traffic can flow on the new lanes.
Concor Infrastructure site agent, Michael Stiebel says an important improvement on the new road will be better ‘line-of-sight’ for drivers.
“The existing road was constructed essentially along the lie of the land,” says Stiebel, “The realignment gives motorists a much better view of the road’s contours and bends, as well as on-coming traffic at a distance.”
Some of the vertical realignments have been up to three metres in height. The volume of crushed stone comes mainly from a new quarry at Shaw Park, which has produced about 1,5 million tonnes of crushed stone including aggregate, rock fill, drain stone and slurry dust.
Ensuring a better rideability of the road is another priority that has influenced the execution of this project, with the help of some high-tech equipment, says Hook.
“Our graders are equipped with Trimble grade control systems to help achieve these higher rideability levels,” says Hook. “We use the model that employs global positioning system (GPS) technology, and have now also employed an upgraded model that works from a robotic total station.”
The realigned new road will comprise a 300 mm thick selected sub-grade layer and a 300 mm thick crushed G4 sub-base layer, stabilised with 2,5-3% of AfriSam 32.5 Roadstab bagged cement. On top of that comes a 150 mm base layer, and a final 20 mm Cape Seal on the rural road; the section through Port Alfred will receive an asphalt wearing course after widening and strengthening.