I don't care whether Rhodes falls (or has fallen). It makes no difference to me. I don't care whether he walks or stands under pigeon pooh. The narrative is a chaotic concoction of the literal over the allegorical, garnished with the ultimate spice of mob mentality. A potion brewed for mass seduction for all the wrong outcomes. The sooner we make the distinction between the physical, the allegorical, and the demands to become a mature democracy, the sooner we will get over ourselves and start doing some serious nation building. Until then, Rhodes can do the twist if he wants to - I'm happy to reserve a seat and buy popcorn.
Over the years Keller's Franki Africa (Franki) has performed some landmark geotechnical work in southern Africa and beyond, providing interesting, innovative and often brilliant solutions for a vast range of challenging geological conditions. Such conditions contributed to Franki being awarded the Citadel Basement Parking Project in Claremont, Cape Town.
In 2014, SAICE's Geotechnical Division awarded its prestigious Gold Medal to a non-South African for the first time - Prof Chris Clayton of the University of Southampton. A familiar and esteemed figure not only in the South African geotechnical fraternity but worldwide, his first textbook, Site Investigation, became the reference work for the practising engineer, opening up the building and construction process in its entirety. Publishing profusely, his commitment and zeal in the geotechnical engineering field, first as a contractor and later as an academic, has generated a lasting body of knowledge. Coupled together with his generosity, adaptability, talent and hard work, colleagues and friends can only describe the soft-spoken, modest Chris as a superstar.
In 2006, Schwartz Tromp (Pty) Ltd (geotechnical engineers) were engaged by the project engineer of Vaal Pipeline Consultants (VPC) to provide specialist geological and geotechnical engineering services to accompany the rock excavation for the construction of a pump chamber and intake structure sited in the Vaal Dam reservoir.
Innovative design approaches are often developed when something goes wrong. An unskilled and uncommitted workforce, derelict piling equipment subject to frequent breakdowns and safety hazards, variable ground conditions and significant language barriers were all concerns which alerted Aurecon's contract management team to potential quality problems at the site of the Futila Sea Breeze development, located close to the ocean in Cabinda, Angola. The development provides a staff residential complex and associated facilities for international oil companies based in Angola, and comprises a clinic, sewage treatment plant, a number of three-storey residential condominiums, helipad, play area and a community building with a swimming pool.
The Tensar TW1 System was developed as an alternative to traditional retaining wall options and has been used extensively in Europe and elsewhere internationally. The system has very recently been introduced into the South African market through Kaytech Engineered Fabrics. This article discusses the use of the system on a major road upgrade contract in South Africa, Ballito Drive, which was one of the first and largest applications of the system locally to date. Project engineers, SMEC South Africa, were closely involved in the detailed design of the system and realised a number of cost benefi ts on the project by using the Tensar TW1 system.
The proposed development at 96 Mill Point Road, South Perth, Western Australia, comprises five basement levels and 22 above-ground levels. Groundwater was encountered some 2 m below natural ground level (NGL). Th is combination of features presented an interesting case study. ARQ Consulting Engineers was approached to conduct a preliminary and detailed design for the lateral support and foundation of the development. This article discusses the findings of three design options which were evaluated, analysed and compared.
Road construction can be quite daunting at times. This is exacerbated when constructing on an expansive or low strength in situ material or subgrade. This note briefly explores ways to deal with such challenges.
The Alice Lane Phase 3 project comprises a multi-million rand development located in the heart of Sandton, the richest square mile of land on the African continent. The site is situated on the corner of Alice Lane and 5th Street, just opposite Sandton City and the Sandton Sun Hotel. The development, owned by Pivotal and developed by Abland, covers a total area of approximately 5 400 m2. When completed, this will comprise an office building with seven basement levels and a total of 20 storeys above ground, with 35 000 m2 of office space.
On a regular basis ARQ is tasked with the responsibility of providing site supervision for geotechnical construction contracts. This article serves to highlight some of the geotechnical engineer's responsibilities on site, using a few of ARQ's recent projects as examples.
In 2014 Aurecon South Africa (Pty) Ltd was appointed to carry out a detailed geotechnical investigation within one of the townships in Gauteng, South Africa. The appointment comprised a Phase I desk study and a Phase II geotechnical investigation including laboratory testing, dolomite study and extensive field testing.
From the tallest building and the largest dam or harbour wall to the most humble cottage, there is a foundation where the structure interacts with the earth. If that foundation does not perform satisfactorily the structure above it will not perform as it should, and failure to some degree will occur. It was largely the impact of a series of spectacular failures in Europe (such as the railway embankment at Weesp in the Netherlands) which led to the development of soil mechanics as a civil engineering discipline nearly a hundred years ago. One of the prime movers of this development, Carl Terzargi, set soil mechanics on a scientific footing with his insights into effective stress. Terzaghi moved from Germany, eventually settling in America, where his successes helped to set soil mechanics in high regard, and a generation of greatly respected personalities in the field of geotechnical engineering emerged. One of Terzaghi's pupils, Jeremiah Jennings, was perhaps South Africa's best known example of the giants in this field. A notable feature of this generation of soils engineers was their 'hands-on' approach. They appreciated the necessity of personally interacting with the materials involved - going down test holes to examine those materials under field conditions, collecting and testing their own samples. They also appreciated the necessity of personally monitoring the performance of their designs to check that their calculations matched reality within acceptable limits.
Recently at a SAICE golf day in Bloemfontein, two engineers were discussing ongoing projects, touching on various aspects of services provided to them by various service providers. Their discussion was interrupted by the SAICE facilitator calling for attention to the announcements and proceedings to follow. Keen to follow their conversation, as I'd heard one of them mention the Roadlab branch that I happen to manage, I joined their table.
The geotechnical world has expanded in the last decade and now involves much more than the basic concepts expounded by the founders of engineering, such as Terzaghi, Peck, Kovacs and Holtz. Today underground resources require new perspectives in terms of development, which in turn needs advanced knowledge and skills in geotechnical engineering. Therefore an active learning approach and hands-on laboratory experience must be a key component in any undergraduate course. This not only enhances the understanding and application of theory, but also the knowledge retention of the student.
Conventional wisdom is that if one cannot condense one's research into a few words then one does not know what one is pursuing. To this end, the following article has been written to briefly highlight some of the research activities that are ongoing at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The conference was overseen by our godfather, Ken Schwartz, who gave us valuable feedback on the papers that were presented. After each presentation session Ken provided the delegates with a short summary thereof. Offering not only technical inputs and asking thought-provoking questions, he provided us with numerous interesting titbits of his time spent studying and practising with the greats of our industry, such as Professors Jere Jennings, Geoff Blight, Ken Knight and Tony Brink, to name a few. In so doing he challenged us as young engineers in many ways about our future and the future of our profession. We are very thankful to him, his wife Marion and son David for attending, and the time and hard work he put into making this venture a great success.
Specialist foundations and piling contractor Geopile Africa is busy expanding the footprint of the TRM ductile piling system by performing many exciting and challenging projects all around South Africa.
This article is the fourth in a series on the economic pricing of services and the beneficial effect this could have on the economy and the everyday lives of people. The first three articles appeared in the October 2014, November 2014 and March 2015 editions of Civil Engineering.
This is the sixth and concluding article in the series on Dispute Boards (DBs) and is Part 2 on the dispute avoidance role of a DB. It describes the need for dispute avoidance and the avoidance role of DBs in practice. In the prelude to this article (Part 1 of the dispute avoidance role of a DB) the evolution of the dispute avoidance role of DBs and the avoidance provisions found in commonly used standard form conditions of contract and DB rules were discussed. The first five articles (introductory and Parts 1, 2 and 3 on the operation of a DB and Part 1 on the dispute avoidance role of a DB) appeared in the August, September, October and November 2014, and the January/ February 2015 issues of Civil Engineering.