Tag Archives: Concor

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.

CONCOR HEAD RALLIES SA TO FIGHT VIRUS

“South Africa has boldly taken the right steps to avoid the high number of coronavirus-related deaths experienced by many countries; we just need to stay strong, stay healthy and stay at home.”

This is the message from Concor CEO Lucas Tseki as the country enters an extended lockdown for another two weeks.

“This is an historic challenge facing the planet, and we are all called upon to make our own contribution in these difficult and uncertain times,” Tseki says. “The current crisis highlights more than ever how interconnected we all are – across communities, countries and continents. We are all in this together, and must act responsibly toward a common goal of stemming the spread of the virus.”

He commended President Cyril Ramaphosa “for his grit and courageous leadership in the face of adversity”, noting that the decision to extend the national lockdown could not have been easy. The lockdown’s impact on business was clearly front-of-mind for decision-makers, but the global spread of the deadly virus demanded that tough choices be made.

“For Concor’s executive team, our primary focus at the moment is the group’s sustainability, so we continue to engage our business partners and explore opportunities within the market,” he says. “We are doing everything possible to mitigate the financial impact of the coronavirus including preparation for responsible resumption of operations post the lockdown– and we are confident that together we will weather this unprecedented storm.”

Concor is one of the largest players in the sub-Saharan African infrastructure and construction sector, and is a proudly Level 1 B-BBEE company.

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.”

NEW CONCOR HEAD URGES QUICKER PACE TO CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY

Concor’s new group CEO Lucas Tseki is confident South Africa’s construction sector is turning the corner, provided there is no further delay in the adjudication and awarding of large infrastructure contracts by government agencies.

“Concor has weathered one of the industry’s worst downturns and emerged with a robust balance sheet to capitalise on our current and future opportunities,” says Tseki. He says government needs to send the right message by speedily awarding contracts and putting contractors to work.

“As Concor, we are battle-hardened by the past few years and ready to embrace the prospects of 2020 and beyond,” he says. “For my part, I am ready to listen, to learn and to lead.”

The black-owned infrastructure and building construction company, previously Murray & Roberts Construction, is leveraging over a century of experience to become the leading player in its segment.

Tseki acknowledges there are many challenges lying ahead for the construction sector. Not least of these is the rebuilding of trust between key stakeholders including contractors, government, banks, developers and labour.

“The pressures of a low growth economy have strained relationships between the players in the industry,” he says. “We must now generate a more collaborative approach that prioritises continuity and sustainability in how we deliver and maintain the nation’s infrastructure.”

He emphasises that South Africa’s future economic growth relies on sound and ongoing investment in quality construction projects. Given the poor state of the economy, it is likely that innovative funding and contractual solutions will be required to pursue the necessary infrastructural and industrial developments.

“Effective Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), for instance, are becoming more vital,” Tseki says. “These could advance infrastructure development in education, healthcare, water, transport and other areas, especially where state expenditure cannot keep up.”

He says Concor’s solid track record in project delivery, commercial management and safety performance equips it to manage complex projects of this kind. He notes that there is appetite among lenders for innovative project models that are based on sovereign risk, while contributing to national developmental priorities that will fuel broader growth.

“As a company, Concor’s world-class heritage and proven ability to execute on time and within budget makes us a valuable partner,” he says. “The country needs the confidence to move into PPPs, but there is no time to lose.”

Concor is active in both inland and coastal projects, and has a strong presence in SADC. It has also just been awarded a large ash disposal facility contract at Eskom’s Majuba Power Station.

CONCOR BUILDS WORLD CLASS DATA CENTRE FOR ORANGE BOTSWANA

Construction of the new Data Centre for Orange Botswana is well underway, with this fast track construction project being undertaken by Concor Buildings set to deliver the Tier III Data Centre before the end of 2019.

The Orange Botswana facility, situated in the Botswana Innovation Hub and Technology Park in Gaborone, will be a central point of connectivity for national and international networking and will provide data services to customers in the region.

Brian Carter, operations director at Concor Buildings, says that with an established track record of delivering quality projects including the recently completed Energy Centre at Bank of Botswana, the company offered the requisite expertise and access to resources including skilled local personnel.

Concor has been active in Botswana for more than 50 years and constructed many buildings in Gaborone and Francistown. This includes I-Towers 1 and 2, the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales Complex, the Bank of Botswana Cash Handling Centre and the FNB Head Office as well as infrastructure for Debswana’s Jwaneng Diamond Mine.

The data centre comprises two plant yards, built on either side of the main data hall, to provide concurrently maintainable and fully redundant electrical and mechanical systems to the data centre. The main MEP plant supplying the data hall and other auxiliary facilities are due for installation.

The data centre itself comprises data space – live and future – with electrical rooms on either side facilitating the feeding of the data centre from two sources. Services within the centre include access control, an integrated fire monitoring and alarm system with fire suppression, data trays, air conditioning units, plumbing and drainage and the complete low voltage and medium voltage electrical installation.

The plant yards which feed the electrical rooms are equipped with standby diesel generators, diesel storage tanks and air-cooled outdoor condensers.

External works include the construction of a guard house, parking with carports, bulk diesel and transformer yards, paving, landscaping and perimeter fencing.

Carter says that allowance has been made for future phased expansion in data space and electrical rooms as well in vertical extension.

“While the structure is a standard concrete frame with brick fill, the external walls are cavity walls with an internal vapour barrier. This construction will significantly reduce the building’s mechanical and electrical loads making it more energy efficient and ensuring a stable environment for the data hall,” he says.

In line with Concor Buildings’ operating strategy, Major Incident Prevention (MIP) and Visible Felt Leadership (VFL) programmes are in place on the project. Ongoing safety awareness and risk assessment is further facilitated by a full-time safety officer on the project.

Areas that have received special focus include working at height and activities which need to be conducted in and around the open exterior services excavations on site. These include data sleeves, electrical sleeves, diesel sleeves, fire and plumbing installations and manholes. In addition to this, access to finishes below the 1,2 metre access floor need to take priority.

While the use of local labour was not a prerequisite on the project, some 95% of the on-site people, including employees and subcontractors, are local. Carter says ongoing skills development forms a part of Concor’s commitment to the country and the company’s sustainability model.

The Orange Botswana Data Centre is scheduled for completion in the last quarter of 2019. The centre is expected to cover 81% of the population with 2G network capability, 62% with 3G and 45% with 4G.

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.

EXXARO’S BELFAST MINE GETS CONCOR EXPERTISE

Concor Infrastructure is building dams, roads, platforms and other works at Exxaro’s new digital coal mine near Belfast in Mpumalanga province.

At work since October 2017, Concor Infrastructure is constructing four major dams, 26 concrete platforms and terraces, 37 internal roads of 16 km in length, and the upgrade of almost 13 km of provincial roads, among other aspects of the mine.

According to Concor Infrastructure contracts manager Pierre van Vuuren, dams are being lined with both a geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) and high density polyethylene (HDP) sheets, in compliance with the water use licence and related environmental regulations. Various structures around the dams are also being installed, including large silt traps, drying beds, inflow chutes to prevent scouring, and spillways and sumps.

Among the concrete platforms and terraces are two primary crusher bases being built for the run-of-mine crushing facilities. The various structures being built by Concor Infrastructure on the mine will demand almost 350 tonnes of steel reinforcing, and nearly 2,700 tonnes of bulk cement. Other inputs will be around 15,000 tonnes of 19 mm aggregate and nearly 13,000 tonnes of crusher sand.

Dams are lined in compliance with environmental regulations and best practice.

Extensive upgrading is being done on the D1770 and D1110 provincial roads – for the transport of coal to the rail siding – including eight major culverts under the roadway. For all the project’s road works, almost 9,5 km of subsoil drains is to be installed, as well as 2,7 km of stormwater culverts. G5 and G6 construction material comes from an external quarry and crushing plant located about 30 km from site towards Carolina.

Contracts manager Mabandla Dlamini highlights the substantial local impact of the project, including the accommodation of a core labour complement of about 180 personnel in the Emakhazeni municipal district. The overall workforce managed by Concor Infrastructure, with contractors, totals closer to 700 – who are all transported 30 km daily by the local taxi network.

Dlamini also points out that various subcontracts are outsourced to local small enterprises, such as drainage, stone pitching, paving, kerbing, fencing, security services and catering. Diesel is also sourced from a local fuel depot in Belfast; the project is expected to consume about 4,3 million litres of diesel in site-wide applications.

Over 150 items of plant and equipment are active on the site, says site agent Sarel van der Berg, with about 40 items such as articulated dump trucks, tippers and graders from local plant hirers.