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.

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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.