Tag Archives: Concor

CONCOR’S EXPERTISE PAVES SA’S RENEWABLE FUTURE

Concor is completing its 10th wind farm project where the majority was constructed as an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, highlighting its niche expertise and capability in this segment.

According to Concor contracts director Joe Nell, the company has been especially busy during the fourth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme.

“We were awarded five projects during this last round, and were able to successfully implement four of them at the same time,” says Nell. “This performance is testament to our highly skilled and experienced teams on the ground, and our strong balance sheet to apply all necessary resources to each project’s particular demands.”

He highlights the tight timeframes in these projects, which were capable of delivering power to the national grid within two years of the project agreement being signed off. In most projects, Concor met a schedule of just 16 to 17 months, which included an initial four-month design phase.

The company’s contracts began with one of the country’s first wind farms – the 60-turbine project at Jeffreys Bay. More projects followed near Noupoort, De Aar and Loeriesfontein – often remote and with challenging conditions related to geology or weather. Four projects were then run concurrently – Perdekraal East in the Witzenberg district, Excelsior near Swellendam, Golden Valley near Cookhouse and Kangnas near Springbok.

“The most recent wind farm is Roggeveld, in the mountains between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland, where cold conditions and snowfalls forced the site’s closure on numerous occasions,” says Nell. “This created its own challenges which added to the experience of our teams.”

The wind farms that Concor has constructed now contribute over 1,000 MW of electricity to South Africa’s grid capacity. Nell says the company’s success in these projects has been based on its corporate values: care, trust, delivery, agility and teamwork.

ANOTHER WIND FARM SUCCESS FOR CONCOR

Concor has put its stamp of experience and quality on another renewable energy project – this time the Roggeveld Wind Farm in the Karoo, 40 km north of Matjiesfontein. This project won the Civil Engineering category in Construction World’s Best Projects 2020. It also received a Highly Commended Award in the AfriSam Innovation in Sustainable Construction category.

The 47-turbine, 147 MW project has been developed by Red Rocket under government’s REIPPPP initiative, and constructed by EPC contractor Nordex Energy South Africa. Concor successfully completed the civil balance of plant work, including turbine bases spread over a construction footprint of 40 hectares.

Among the challenges was the area’s topography, with the highest point at 1 485 metres above sea level and the site offices a full 200 metres lower. Greg Oosthuizen, Concor’s project manager, notes that the wind farm is also in an environmentally sensitive area, with strict compliance standards applied to all construction activities.

Accessing the sites for the wind turbine bases and hard stands was over difficult terrain, and required the construction of 34 km of access roadway. The blasting, excavation and cleaning of each site was followed with the pouring of blinding and installation of levelling legs. About 2000 tonnes of steel reinforcing was used.

Then came the final installation of the levelling template, with corrugated sleeves in the foundation for anchoring the concrete towers, which are grouted into the foundation once assembled. Shuttering could then be installed, preparing the base for the readymix pour. Some 25 000 m3 of readymix was used, supplied from Concor’s own on-site batch plant.

Oosthuizen points out, however, that the batch plant presented logistical challenges of its own. It was some distance from the actual wind farm project, and about 12 km from the nearest turbine base.

“We operated ten readymix trucks on the project, and carefully managed efficiencies at the batch plant to reduce the turnaround time of these vehicles,” he says. “We also had to adjust the pumping rate when pouring the readymix at the bases.”

He emphasises that there was little room for error in base construction, especially regarding the tolerances for the levelling template. While different teams were working simultaneously on the base construction, it was viewed as one activity.

“We found that open communication between the teams was critical, and we relied on the Daily Safe Task Instructions to ensure that everyone was aligned with what was required,” he says.

Roggeveld Wind Farm will contribute 555 000 MWh a year of clean energy to the national grid, and its location in a wind channel with high wind speeds will make it one of the most energy efficient of South Africa’s wind farms built to date. With hub heights of 100 metres and rotor diameters of 130 metres, 40 of the wind turbines are 3,15 MW capacity while seven are 3 MW.

OXFORD PARKS PHASE 2 – ANOTHER CONCOR BUILDINGS SUCCESS STORY

Oxford Parks is an architectural focal point along Oxford Road in Rosebank. On completion, this site will house five buildings on a master basement structure. Oxford Parks Phase 2 is a testimony to meticulous coordination on the part of Concor Buildings to ensure the concurrent construction of three different buildings would run smoothly.

This phase includes the simultaneous construction of 203 Oxford Road – Life Healthcare’s new

10 000 m2 head office, 8 Parks Boulevard – a 4 000 m2 multi-tenanted building housing inter alia Metier Private Equity and G+D Currency Technology, and 6 Parks Boulevard – 3 400 m2 offices for Arup, Sony Music  and Sony Publishing.

The buildings, together with Phase 1, 199 Oxford Road, were designed to complement each other, and their respective footprints fit together in a jigsaw puzzle configuration, proportionately occupying the site to optimise the usage of this prime pedestrian precinct with its generous public environment.

Through bold yet sensitive design of the buildings, together with the hard and soft landscaping of the outdoor piazza area, a natural environment was created ensuring a harmonious blend of business, life and leisure for the end user. Accommodating all parking in basements has shaped a precinct that is pedestrian friendly and offers a safe retail experience.

Martin Muller, Concor Buildings’ contracts manager, explains that all the buildings are constructed to be compliant with Green Star design requirements. 199 Oxford Road in Phase 1 achieved a 5-Star Green Star rating. All specifications on the project are in line with Green Star requirements and the buildings in Phase 2 are also designed to achieve 5-Star Green Star ratings.

A comprehensive Environmental Management Plan was adopted that amongst many criteria, specified the installation of waste management systems to maximise recycling from waste generated on the project. Another environmental intervention was the installation of state-of-the-art HVAC systems in all the buildings presenting energy saving, efficiency and sustainability features including air-cooled systems to eliminate water usage.

To optimise energy usage during occupation, different striking façades provide the respective buildings with both aesthetic interest and added energy benefits.

Muller emphasises Concor Buildings’ commitment to health and safety on site. “Creating a strong safety culture is always a challenge on bigger projects with a large number of subcontractors but Concor’s pledge to its Stop.Think.Act initiative has seen active involvement becoming a trend on site.”

“Visible Felt Leadership from the entire production and safety team ensures that contractors, subcontractors and tenant contractors execute work safely at all times. This is vital as on average there are 350 workers from 22 different contractors on site and this will increase as tenants start with their fit-out activities,” he says.

The COVID lockdown added a new level of challenges and anxiety to the construction industry. According to Muller, through early preparation and policy implementation, Concor Buildings ensured it was ready to start again on site once the lockdown restriction relaxation allowed construction to commence on 1 June 2020. Implemented daily scanning points, wash stations, social distancing measures, signage and continual communication led to construction activities being back on track from day one after the restrictions were removed.

Risk management became a particularly important part of this project considering that the lockdown delayed construction by more than two months. Concor Buildings has clearly demonstrated its agility value by completing the buildings in, or close to, the originally contracted completion dates.

During this period, Concor Buildings ring-fenced long-lead manufacturing items and key focus points with the client, subcontractors and suppliers. These pro-active interventions ensured all materials were delivered on time allowing subcontractors to finish off when the client required the areas for tenants to take occupation. These measures also ensured the contractor could mitigate most of the additional costs due to the COVID lockdown period, ensuring practical completion (PC) dates are achieved as per the contract.

Sony Music, Sony Publishing and Arup have taken occupation of 6 Parks Boulevard, which was completed on time. The first and second tenants in 8 Parks Boulevard took official occupation on 1 September 2020, a week earlier than the extended practical completion date of 9 September 2020. Again, testimony to Concor’s agility and commitment to meeting project targets.

The Life Healthcare tenant installation in 203 Oxford Road started ground and first floor handover on 10 August 2020 with all other floor level handovers on track with overall building practical completion on 2 November 2020. This date, which was extended due to lockdown delays, will be achieved through client and professional team assistance, identifying risks and dealing with these before they occur, dedicated resources and time management on the buildings.

Muller adds: “As is the case on all the projects we undertake, quality plays a major part in the execution of this project. Progressive snagging is implemented to ensure that works are checked and signed off as completed by each trade. This practice results in a minimised snag list of items to attend to once the buildings are complete, ensuring that the end user experience is not spoiled by contractors fixing incomplete works once tenants have taken occupation.”

This was a particularly challenging period, but through Concor Buildings’ commitment to its values, one of which is care, the contractor is still producing an upmarket and modern product while demonstrating care towards all parties on site and careful attention to the various features of this complex project.

OXFORD PARKS PHASE 2 TAKES BUILDING CONTRACTOR WIN AT BEST PROJECTS

Meticulous coordination by Concor on the Oxford Parks Phase 2 project facilitated the smooth and simultaneous construction of the different buildings and was one of the reasons Concor won the Building Contractor category at Construction World’s Best Projects 2020. The project was also acknowledged with a Highly Commended Award in the AfriSam Innovation Award in Sustainable Construction.

Oxford Parks is a focal point along Oxford Road in Rosebank and on completion will house five buildings on a master basement structure. The buildings are designed to complement each other, fitting together in a jigsaw puzzle configuration to optimise usage of this prime precinct.

The project includes Building 2 – Life Healthcare’s new 10 000 m2 head office, Building 3 – a 4 000 m2 multi-tenanted building housing inter alia Metier Private Equity and G+D Currency Technology and Building 5 – 3 400 m2 offices for Arup and Sony Music.

Construction work of Building 5 started in February 2020. Initially designed as a three-storey structure, these plans were modified to meet requirements of the tenants, Arup and Sony. An additional slab was added to accommodate a private entertainment area, as well as recording studios on the fourth level.

A number of energy-saving and sustainability features were incorporated on this project. A waste management system maximises recycling, while the buildings feature elements such as air-cooled systems to eliminate water usage, primary variable flow pumping, distributed digital control for central comfort monitoring, load control under standby conditions and linear diffusion to isolate the solar loads. Unique external façades provide aesthetic interest to the individual buildings and optimise energy usage.

The COVID lockdown added new challenges, but through Concor’s commitment to its values, one of which is care, the contractor is still producing an upmarket and modern product while demonstrating care towards all parties on site.

Concor has clearly confirmed its agility value by ensuring practical completion (PC) dates were achieved as per the contract despite construction delays, mitigating additional costs.

Both Sony and Arup engineers have taken occupation of Building 5 which was completed on time. Tenants in Buildings 3 took official occupation on 1 September 2020, a week earlier than the extended practical completion date. Tenant installation in Building 2 started on 10 August 2020 with all other floor level handovers on track with practical completion on 2 November 2020.

Progressive snagging ensured that works were signed off as completed by each trade thus minimising the snag list once the buildings are complete.

Oxford Parks Phase 2 is another project to be added to Concor Building’s impressive portfolio of successful projects.

EFFICIENCY A KEY DRIVER IN ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

Demanding economic conditions – aggravated by stoppages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – have highlighted the value of environmental stewardship in the construction sector.

“A key focus of good environmental stewardship is on project efficiency,” says Bruce Paul, environmental manager at Concor. “It is vital that contractors develop end-to-end engineering processes that conserve resources and manage risk – now more than ever.”

Before construction on a project even starts, Concor considers issues including material sourcing, reduction of potential wastage, and the carbon footprint of fuel and materials. The company recently took the opportunity, for instance, to reduce the use of water, sand and cement on a Gauteng building project.

“This interesting innovation was applied by constructing the inner wall with everite-hebel autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks, which are lightweight,” says Paul. “While a typical brick and mortar wall weighs about 350 kg per square metre, an AAC wall load is about 90 kg per square metre. Requiring a thinner skim coat finish, this positively impacted our material and logistical demands for less water, sand and cement.”

The building’s long-term energy efficiency was enhanced with the use of performance glass which has a low-e aspect, reflecting long wave infrared energy and helping to keep the building cooler. This, in turn, reduces the load on the air conditioning system.

He emphasises that judicious use of water is also an ongoing environmental concern for contractors, especially in water-scarce countries. In a building project in Botswana, Concor had to find solutions when a moratorium was placed on all non-drinking uses of municipal water. The porous rock in the foundations proved to have a constant outflow of irrigable water. This was pumped to a farm of tanks on site and reused for purposes such as dust control and the mixing of mortars and plasters. The end-design of the building was even adapted to make use of this source for its the brown water system.

A recent building project in Cape Town also required working within strict municipal water restrictions. Alternative water supply for building operations was sourced from groundwater below the foundations. It was non-potable but could be used for certain aspects of the building. Monthly municipal water usage at the site dropped from 60,000 litres to 5,000 litres within just a few months.

On a wind farm project in the Western Cape, Concor ensured that all secondary water was cleaned and diverted back to construction process.

“Water use on construction sites often comes from concrete-related processes such as the washing of readymix trucks,” he says. “We were able to remove solids such as aggregate for re-use, while returning the water to the batch plant. With this water’s cementitious content, it could also be used in the compaction of roads and building up of road layers.”

Paul highlights the growing but necessary weight of environmental licencing that applies to both the end-client and the contractor. Complying with the requirements of the various licences – from water use and air quality to cultural heritage and protected species – requires expertise and agility.

“Effective stewardship demands a comprehensive suite of practices to prevent and mitigate any pollution that may emanate from our industrial processes,” he says. “We apply this knowledge across all projects, according to our critical environmental standards to manage risks and make the most of opportunities in each case.”

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.

CONCOR DEVELOPS YOUTH TO MEET FUTURE CHALLENGES

Concor Construction’s history of investing in youth now has a special relevance: helping young South Africans to develop agility for a challenging future.

According to Donique de Figueiredo, employee engagement and talent manager at Concor Construction, agility is one of the company’s core values – a quality that has been tested by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now more than ever, we are living in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity,” says De Figueiredo. “Globalisation, technological advancement, the fourth industrial revolution and pandemics like Covid-19 are our reality.”

An outreach by Concor to secondary schools in the Western Cape.

In line with the company’s focus on education and skills development as critical drivers of transformation, she says empowered youth can adopt an agile attitude that will prepare them to confront and conquer challenges.

“For Concor, youth development is more than events that are celebrated once a year,” she says. “We ensure that our contribution is strategic and widespread, enabling greater economic access and participation.”

Concor’s external initiatives target youth across the education spectrum, from senior primary school through to tertiary education and beyond – to out-of-school youth and even young entrepreneurs. At schools, this includes extra tuition and resources for learners, focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

There is also a targeted bursary programme aimed at students interested in the built environment, and a graduate mentorship programme to absorb graduates as interns. Out-of-school youth can participate in learnerships, which the company also uses to identify talent. Start-up enterprises within the built environment value chain are supported by Concor’s enterprise and supplier development programme.

Internally, Concor develops future leaders within the business through leadership development of young people who show exceptional performance and high potential.

“We focus on youth to build a talent pipeline, not only for our business and our industry but for the general economy,” says De Figueiredo. “In a country where youth unemployment exceeds 50%, our investment in youth development is aimed at serving the greater good.”

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.