Tag Archives: Concor Construction

WORK RESUMES COVID-STYLE ON CAPE TOWN HIGH-RISE

The highest residential block in Cape Town’s city centre – 16 On Bree – has resumed construction, but under demanding new Covid-19 conditions. The project is being developed by FWJK Developments.

This makes Concor Western Cape, the contractor on the project, a pioneer in the application of Covid-19 health protocols in a building of this height and complexity, says senior contracts manager Collin Morilly.

“With the large number of people on a site where space is severely restricted, we have introduced a range of new health and safety measures aligned with post lockdown Covid-19 regulations,” Morilly says. “These are in addition to Concor’s standard stringent health, safety policies and environmental procedures that have been fine-tuned over decades of experience.”

At the project’s peak, about 800 staff, labourers and subcontractors were active on site. The carefully phased on-boarding process in lockdown Level 3 will see 300 of the overall workforce allowed back in the initial intake, in compliance with regulations.

“The rolling out of construction activities will demand close adherence to our rules, and extensive training and monitoring will be introduced,” Morilly says. “We have revised our method statements to allow work to continue safely, as managing social distancing under these space-constrained conditions is a major challenge.”

He notes that the new health and safety specifications will require Concor Western Cape to take on additional staff who are specially trained and tasked with applying Covid-19 regulations. New processes will include screening and close monitoring of all workers by monitoring staff. Office space for construction management has been reconfigured, and rooms set up for screening, isolation and induction.

The project began in May 2018 and had progressed well until South Africa’s national Level 5 lockdown in March 2020. Construction is ramping up again in June 2020 under the Level 3 State of Disaster regulations.

“The main structure topped out in early March this year, just days before the Covid-19 lockdown,” Morilly says. “The apartments on levels 12 to 19 are complete, with only snagging work underway. The fitting out of levels 20 to 27 is returning to full swing including electricals, water infrastructure, fireproofing and air conditioning systems.”

The 120-metre high, mixed-use development has two floors of retail at ground level, followed by nine parking levels. The living area comprises 25 storeys of apartments with 380 units in all. There are also two floors for plant and equipment.

He says that work is underway to waterproof the final levels from 33 to 37. At these levels curtain walling will comprise a glass façade including installation of structural steel canopies that will be bolted to the main structure.

Despite a high demand for specialised building-related skills in Cape Town over the construction period to date, work has proceeded well with our chosen selected subcontractors, says Morilly.

“We split a number of the work packages to manage the risk effectively,” he says. “There were two drywalling contractors, for instance, each working on alternate floors then leapfrogging each other to keep an optimal workflow.”

The packages for the built-in cupboards, balustrading and tiling were also split. Close monitoring of work to maintain quality and schedules is achieved by deploying at least four foremen on each level.

Located on a busy city block, the project has had to deal with a restricted laydown area, demanding out-of-the-box thinking. Morilly says this has required upgraded safety plans including safety fans around the building, and required additional flagmen and banksmen to ensure compliance.

The early phase of construction was complicated by a 100-year-old front façade of significant heritage value. This 16-metre wall required a specially designed structural steel brace, which supported it while it was cut free from the rest of the building. It now provides an eye-catching feature affirming the city’s rich history.

Despite the challenges posed by lockdown and complying with Covid-19 requirements, the project is on track for completion later this year.

CONCOR PAVES THE WAY FOR REMOTE BOTSWANA MINE

Tackling the demanding conditions of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert, Concor Infrastructure is nearing completion of a 35 km access road for the Khoemacau Copper Silver Starter Project. Concor is also busy with constructing a parallel haul road , as well as conducting earthworks and concrete civils at the Khoemacau Boseto processing plant.

The Khoemacau Copper Project, located in the central Kalahari copper belt some 65 km southwest of Maun, is developing underground operations at its flagship Zone 5 deposit. The mine plan involves three adjacent underground mines at Zone 5, each producing over 1,2 million tonnes a year in their first five years of production. The haul road will allow mineralised material to be trucked 35 km from Zone 5 to the Boseto processing facility, while the access road will be used by light vehicles. After processing at Boseto, the mineral concentrate will be shipped out for smelting.

Good progress has been made on construction of the access road according to Jay Juganan, contracts director at Concor Infrastructure. The contract for both the access and haul roads was awarded in November 2018.

“The access road was little more than a sand track when we established on site and was accessible only by 4×4 vehicles,” says Juganan. “Essentially, we are creating a corridor for both roads in parallel, and for the powerlines to be installed by another contractor.”

The planning of the haul road also had to consider the large and ancient Baobab trees that are common in the area. Preservation of these trees is a vital imperative, requiring the haul road to be diverted on occasion to avoid about half a dozen Baobabs, which are hundreds of years old.

While the access road is 90% complete and due for completion in Q3 2020, the work on the haul road is also expected to be completed in Q3 this year. Road construction comprises a 600 mm deep cut filled with pioneer crushed rock followed by a G3 sub base and base layer. In some areas the crushed rock is replaced by a natural calcrete. The wearing course is a 9/19 mm double seal. Concor has had to crush all aggregate on site from the old mine waste rock stockpile at Boseto.

Concor Infrastructure contracts manager Tiaan Krugel notes the remote location of the site and the dry conditions are among the key challenges encountered on this project.

“The sourcing and timing of the supply of equipment, parts and construction material required careful and detailed planning,” Krugel says. “The majority had to come from the capital Gaborone – 900 km away, with the other challenge being that most of our equipment OEMs are based in Johannesburg, which is more than 1 300 km from site.”

The scope of Concor’s work at the Boseto process plant, the contract which was awarded in November 2019, includes earthworks and concrete civils to the existing and for the new process plant structures for the crushing, milling, flotation and concentrate handling circuits. The plant had previously treated material from an open pit copper mining operation at Boseto, under the ownership of a different company.

Krugel highlights the challenges of working with concrete on a remote site, especially where temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius during working hours.

“A special concrete mix was designed to accommodate on-site conditions,” he says. “This includes the use of admixtures to prolong the concrete’s workability as well as having to chill the water we use before it is added to the cement and aggregates.”

In addition to the refurbishment and upgrading work at Boseto, Concor has also contributed to preparing the infrastructure at the Zone 5 mining site, where underground development is underway. The work included all internal roads at the Zone 5 mine, terracing for the 650-person accommodation camp, the mine administration surface infrastructure area, the mine workshops and stores area and the explosives magazine together with construction of the ROM pads. The Khoemacau Starter Project expects to produce 62,000 tonnes of copper and 1,9 million ounces of silver each year over its planned life of more than 20 years.

“Despite the restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a reduction of staff numbers on site due to individual choices, we are working hard to ensure that programme schedules will be met,” says Juganan.

ICONIC MSIKABA BRIDGE TO BE BUILT BY CONCOR-MECSA JV

Destined to be the longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa according to www.highestbridges.com, the Msikaba Bridge is being constructed by Concor Infrastructure in a joint venture with Mota Engil Construction. Significant work has already been done on the establishment infrastructure to support the construction works. Work on the approach roads and the significant pylon foundations and anchor blocks for the bridge are currently under construction.

Being built over the Msikaba Gorge near Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, the Msikaba Bridge forms part of the N2 Wild Coast project being undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL).

When completed this spectacular bridge will also be the second longest main span bridge crossing ever built on the continent with a tower to tower distance of 580 metres. Its two pylons will be 127 metres high.

With a bridge deck at 194 metres above the valley floor, the Msikaba Bridge will be the third highest bridge in Africa, eclipsed only by the existing Bloukrans Bridge with a height of 216 metres and the Mtentu Bridge which, when completed, will be 223 metres high.

According to Eric Wisse, managing director of Concor Infrastructure, what is important is that that Joint Venture has overcome the initial community challenges through significant community engagement strategies with the various community stakeholders and businesses on board.

Concor has a strong legacy in the construction of iconic bridges, having constructed the Bloukrans Bridge back in 1983. At the same time, the company also built the Grootrivier and Bobbejaansrivier Bridges in the Eastern Cape.

The Msikaba Bridge itself will require 43,000 m3 of concrete, 2,700 t of structural steel and 1,090 t of cables and 3,100t of steel reinforcing.

Not to be overshadowed by the bridge is the balance of works contained in the contract which includes construction of 1,5 km of approach roadworks on either side of the bridge. Expressed in quantities, this will include 650,000 m³ of bulk earthworks of which 430,000 m³ is hard rock, a conventional three span bridge and four in-situ concrete culverts crossing some of the tributaries. A significant amount will be spent on projects to benefit of the wider community, including upgrading or repairing gravel roads in the district.

Wisse explains that due to the remoteness of the project as well as the logistics travelling from the northern side to the southern side (a three hour drive), a cable way will be installed as part of the temporary works. Due to the specialist nature of this installation, a company from Switzerland has been appointed to install the cable way. It is anticipated that the cableway will be complete and operational by May this year.

“The cable car system will be used to transport people and small amounts of material from one side to the other,” he says.

Work on the project was suspended following the declaration of the National State of Disaster, but has been resumed under the Level 4 restrictions with all the necessary measures having been put in place to ensure the health and safety of all stakeholders.

CONCOR WINS ASH DUMP PROJECT AT KENDAL

Concor Infrastructure’s order pipeline has received a further boost with the awarding of a contract to extend the ash disposal facility (ADF) at Eskom’s Kendal power station near Ogies in Mpumalanga.

According to Concor Infrastructure managing director, Eric Wisse, the work focuses on the construction of a continuous lined ash dump and its associated infrastructure. The extended facility will be capable of accommodating the ash generated by Kendal until the year 2032.

The 24-month project will commence on 1 July and also includes the construction of two dams, a stream diversion and site services, as well as the lowering of the wall of an existing Farm Dam. The Kendal award comes just months after the company signed another Eskom contract in January– for the ADF at Majuba power station near Amersfoort.

“News of the Kendal ADF award has certainly been most welcome given the uncertainty and disruption related to the Covid-19 pandemic in recent weeks,” says Wisse. “It is also encouraging that contracts of this type and scale are coming available for our civil engineering and construction sector, which has faced difficult trading conditions for many years.”

The project will require about 109 hectares to be cleared and grubbed,  almost 1,5 million cubic metres of excavation and approximately 1million cubic metres of fill / layerworks to be processed. To ensure adequate environmental protection, over 750,000 square metres of 1,5 mm HDPE liner will be used, with the same amount of 1,000 gram-per-square-metre geotextile. Concrete works will require 39,000 cubic metres of concrete, and there will be 4,400 metres of pipeline laid.

Wisse highlights that the Kendal contract will be conducted in a fully-integrated joint venture with partner company Lubocon Civils. Having previously worked as a subcontractor to Concor Infrastructure, Lubocon Civils has proven the quality and reliability of its work. The JV is an indication of Concor Infrastructure’s commitment to empowering younger firms to grow their contribution in the sector, he says.

“Among the attributes that Lubocon Civils brings is its relationships with QSE and EME contractors, where they can assist the JV to effectively award the relevant portions of work to local firms, to manage subcontractors and to develop small enterprises,” says Wisse.

He notes that the two ADF projects won by Concor Infrastructure, in their JV partnership with Lubocon Civils, is an indication of the company’s strong capacity and broad range of expertise in the civil engineering and construction space.

MAJUBA ASH FACILITY GIVES 2020 A GOOD START FOR CONCOR

Concor has kicked off the year strongly, winning a significant Eskom contract for the extension of Majuba Power Station’s Ash Disposal Facility (ADF).

“This award signals the faith of the market in Concor’s stability, depth of expertise and engineering heritage,” says newly appointed Concor CEO Lucas Tseki. “As always, there is considerable urgency to complete this project. We look forward to completing it on time and on budget with our well-established commitment to safety and project delivery excellence.”

While power stations are generally designed for a life of around 50 years, support facilities like ADFs are often built in phases to optimise initial capital costs. The design for this ADF extension has also considered the changes in environmental legislation.

The contract secured by Concor includes three lined ash platforms and two lined rehabilitation dams; each of these requires subsoil drainage systems, intakes and spillways. The scope of work also includes clearing, bulk earthworks and embankment construction required for the new ash deposition liner terrace, with a subsoil herringbone drainage network.

In addition to constructing a liner system to the terrace area, Concor will install a leachate collection network and system draining to a pollution control dam. The whole contract will include various associated access and other civil works, including extending the ash conveyor route canals on the existing ADF.

The liner systems for the ash facility and the various dams comprise 300 mm of clay as a primary impermeable layer, with a 1,5 mm HDPE geomembrane liner as a barrier. For the ADF, this will be topped with a 300 mm screened coarse ash ballast or protection layer, while in the dams it will be ballasted with a 300 mm layer of cement-stabilised sand and topped with Armorflex blocks.

The contract will involve over 1,3 million cubic metres of bulk earthworks, almost 540,000 square metres of HDPE lining, 11,600 metres of HDPE drainage piping and 14,000 cubic metres of concrete.

“This type of project amply demonstrates Concor’s capability, expertise and indeed capacity as South Africa’s leading black-owned infrastructure and construction services company,” says Tseki. “Our order book for the year is looking positive, and we are hoping to secure a number of important contracts still to be adjudicated.”

HEALTH & SAFETY KEY DRIVERS FOR CONCOR AT OXFORD PARKS PROJECT

Health and safety are key drivers for Concor Buildings at the construction of Oxford Parks Phase I which is due for completion in stages during 2020. This project comprises the construction of four mixed-use premium office and retail buildings, and a fifth building which will house a hotel.

Accommodating the workforce and all subcontractors required for the simultaneous construction of the various structures, means that there can be no compromise on health and safety.

Godfrey Baloyi, Concor Buildings HSE practitioner on site, explains that Concor’s internal health and safety policies are applied in line with those of ComPrac Holdings who has been appointed health and safety compliance consultant.

As part of the stringent safety requirements, Baloyi audits and ensures that the safety files of all subcontractors are aligned with those of Concor Buildings. All site staff undergo an initial safety induction before they can commence their duties, and issues of concern are addressed at weekly toolbox talks. Daily planning and safety meetings confirm the priority given to health and safety on site.

Safety is enforced through a policy of Visible Felt Leadership (VFL). The implementation of this policy is a two-way approach. When a potential health or safety infringement or a life-threatening situation is observed, activity is stopped immediately, and corrective coaching is given.

Major incident prevention (MIP) is the second approach. To this end, foremen and section leaders are required to check that the site is safe, while the contract manager ensures that all documentation relating to competence and certification are in place in terms of the OSH Act.

Bennie de Koker, Concor Buildings HSE Manager, says that in the past safety on site was the responsibility of safety officers only. “Today, safety is fortunately no longer seen in isolation, but as a collaborative effort on the part of everyone on site. Continuous coaching and awareness campaigns are critical.”

A new innovative concept has been introduced on this site by Concor Buildings. “Understanding the impact of visuals, workers are shown a picture and are asked to identify unsafe or potentially hazardous practices and to suggest corrective action,” De Koker says. “This method of interactive discussion is proving to have great impact when used in conjunction with traditional safety instructions.”

De Koker and Baloyi jointly have more than 30 years of experience and both are registered Construction Health and Safety Professionals with The South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), attesting to Concor’s commitment to observing safe practices.

DOORS OPEN FOR STUDENTS AS CONCOR BUILDINGS PROGRESSES UPMARKET DIGS

Students have moved into the stylish rooms at The Campus student accommodation in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, as Concor Buildings fast tracks the project. The project has been developed by Century Property Development.

The 850-bed development, conveniently located close to both the University of Johannesburg and Wits University, is a welcome addition to the country’s limited stock of high quality housing for the growing student population. It comprises four main blocks – or towers – with the two south towers at six floors high and the two north towers with four floors. The two basement levels make space for 166 vehicles.

The high-end project includes a roof-top recreation area with swimming pool and built-in braais, study rooms, Wi-Fi throughout and a 25-seater cinema room. Starting on site in December 2017, Concor Buildings took the project to full fit-out of rooms with furniture including beds, fridges, TVs and curtain rails. The project was completed in the third quarter of 2019.

According to Concor Buildings’ site agent Justin de Villiers, challenges on the site included tight space constraints. Built between the Campus Square retail centre and Streatley Avenue, there was little laydown space for building materials and components, which included more than 7,500 m3 of readymix concrete and about three million bricks, as well as numerous precast items.

“An important innovation applied in the interests of saving time was the use of precast slabs and staircases, with structural load bearing brickwork,” de Villiers says. “The logistics of receiving, lifting and placing the precast elements – especially in the limited space – required careful planning and close supervision.”

Adopting the load bearing brickwork approach allowed Concor Buildings to start more quickly with the finishing trades as it eliminated the wait for the in-situ concrete frame to cure and for propping to be stripped off. The project utilised precast slabs over an area of some 20,000 m2, on all levels above the in-situ transfer slabs in the basement.

Building with structural brickwork does require special bricklaying skills, he highlights, and this is not a skill set in plentiful supply in South Africa. An important part of the value that Concor Buildings brought to this project is its experience in a range of building methodologies, and its network of reliable sub-contractors.

“Ensuring the right quality of bricklaying expertise, especially for a project like this, means knowing your supplier base well and monitoring their performance closely, even providing training to fine-tune skills where this is necessary,” de Villiers says.

The technique also required Class 1 mortar with a 15 MPa strength – compared to the normal strength of just 7 MPa – to provide sufficient compressive strength for the wall structures. A specialised mix was designed for the purpose and was regularly delivered by a service provider. This addressed the lack of space on site to mix mortar, and also allowed more effective quality control.

“The mortar and readymix supplier was able to conduct the necessary quality control tests at their facilities, while we also sent samples for independent testing,” he says.

The limited space also meant close supervision of the more than 40 sub-contractors, who often needed to occupy the same spaces simultaneously. At times there were as many as 800 workers on site, in addition to Concor Buildings’ 24-strong management team.

This made safety a key factor, says Margaret Dube, safety manager at Concor Buildings, especially with two tower cranes lifting and placing materials and the narrow access roadway requiring flagmen on constant duty. Working in a suburban area also meant special efforts to reduce noise, while observing restricted working hours.

CONCOR ON TOP OF STYLISH NEW FWJK ILLOVO DEVELOPMENT

The elegant Illovo Central mixed-use block near Sandton being constructed by Concor Buildings has topped out at 15 floors and is due for completion in March next year.

In a format driven by developers FWJK and increasingly popular in South Africa’s urban designs, the building will be a combination of office space and residential units. With parking taking up levels 1 to 5, there will be offices on floors 6 to 8 and apartments from floors 9 to 15. The living units are a combination of sizes including 80 studio apartments, 36 one-bedroom units, 43 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom penthouse apartments.

Bulk earthworks began in May 2018, when 27,800 m3 of spoil was removed for the first three levels. According to Concor Buildings contract manager Fanie Stadler, this phase required the removal of considerable quantities of rock. In the southern corner of the property, the rock layers almost protruded at ground level.

Given the close proximity to other buildings in this well-developed suburb, Concor Buildings conducted smaller, controlled blasts to ensure the highest levels of safety. The planning and monitoring of these blasts also considered a Gautrain servitude tunnel below, and a school across the road.

“Dust control was also a key issue, which we implemented and monitored closely in line with our stringent health and safety standards,” Stadler says.

The concrete structure has been built around a lift core for four passenger lifts and a fireman’s lift. Two tower cranes have been a feature of the skyline on this project, improving efficiencies on a site that is severely space-constrained. One tower crane with its 60 m jib has focused its lifting on horizontal decking, while the other with 55 m jib provided additional hoisting for column and the shaft core formwork and concrete.

An interesting innovation that Concor Buildings has applied in constructing inner walls has been the use of Everite Hebel autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks. This lightweight building block has a number of benefits for modern buildings, Stadler says.

“The lighter load on the concrete slabs means that these slabs can be designed slightly thinner and with less reinforcing bar,” he says. While a typical brick and mortar wall is about 350 kg/m2, an AAC block wall load is closer to 90 kg/m2.

The uniform surface of an AAC wall also allows for a thinner skim coat finish, rather than the usual 12 mm of mortar required for a normal brick wall. This has positive material and logistical implications as less water, sand and cement need to be transported to and around the site. There is also mixing of mortar on site which makes for a generally cleaner site, with less dust.

Stadler highlights that the inclusion of AAC blocks has allowed Concor Buildings to demonstrate its building expertise and precision, while also further developing the skills of its subcontractors.

“With the benefits of these lightweight blocks come the demands of accuracy and attention to detail,” he says. “Added skill is required in the block laying, as well as in the plastering.”

As part of Concor Buildings’ development programme, the company worked with the block supplier to train and mentor subcontractors in working smarter and enhancing their skill levels with new techniques. This delivered the exact tolerances demanded to closely match the building’s structure with the blockwork and the glazing.

The performance glass on the outside of the building is low-e, reflecting long-wave infrared energy to keep the inside of the building cool and reduce load on the air conditioning system. A Marmoran wall coating is applied as a protective and aesthetic layer.

As with many developments in dense suburban areas, space to work has been at a premium at Illovo Central. The site office has even had to move into the building itself.

The project’s location on Rivonia Road has demanded meticulous coordination of materials delivery by Concor Buildings, while council bylaws have meant no overtime can be worked in the suburb. The construction team has therefore had to maintain tight working efficiencies to keep the project on track.