Let me be clear - I am a capitalist, I am all for free market and privatisation within a democracy - but the premise that a price tag improves quality is, occasionally, dehumanising. If health is a reflection of a nation's well-being, and if safe,frolicking children are a reflection of its peace, then efficient, high quality healthcare and the protection of children, for example, should be affordable to everyone. That means free. Quite frankly, it is a social and economic injustice to be compelled to pay R1 000 for a 15-minute visit to a doctor. If we argue quality versus cost, and considering the one-to-one doctor-patient relationship, then we are expressly arguing to exclude the poor. It is unscrupulous. Social and economic inequality lacks moral objectivity, and is as unsustainable as it is inciting. Unemployed young men are volatile. If we don't do something to fix the blatant inequalities in South Africa, they are going to toyi-toyi up to our doors and negotiate with knobkerries and pangas. In my opinion, unemployment in South Africa is a result of poor policy and a lack of creativity. I believe it is also the unpreparedness of our people to be employed. If education is a leveller, then education, too, needs to be free at all levels.
Franki Africa (Franki), part of the Keller Group, has developed a reputation throughout Africa for its innovative and cost-effective solutions for geotechnical work in the marine environment. One such project was the recently completed construction of a 175 m long quay wall with a draught of -12.3 m CD (chart datum) for marine engineering company Dormac's new floating dock at their marine works facility at the Bayhead, Belfast Road site in Durban. Franki's Paul Pearce says that geotechnical work in the marine environment, more than anything demands creative solutions to complex challenges, and this is what won Franki the Dormac contract. "Our quay wall proposal of CFA piles and jet grout columns gave us the advantage we needed to secure the contract."
This year SAICE again partnered with the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) to host its annual awards event, showcasing the most outstanding engineering achievements of 2015/2016. Held this year on 13 October at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, the evening celebrated the more than 30 projects entered into the various categories. In this edition of our magazine we share these inspiring projects with our readers.
The multi-billion rand Ingula project is a peaking hydropower station comprising an upper (Bedford Dam) and a lower reservoir (Braamhoek Dam) separated in elevation by 480 m; an underground power house complex located 116 storeys underground in two excavated underground caverns housing 4 x 333 MW Francis-type pumps/turbines and motor generators; and an underground labyrinth of interconnecting tunnels/waterways that extend 6.5 km and, together with a number of shafts, allow water to be released from the upper reservoir and delivered to the turbines producing power, before being captured in the lower reservoir. During off -peak periods the turbines are reversed, pumping water back to be ready for the next peak power event. The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme is located about 23 km northeast of Van Reenen within the Little Drakensberg mountain range. The upper reservoir site is located in the Free State Province and the lower reservoir in KwaZulu-Natal. The escarpment forms the border between these provinces. The rated generating capacity is 1 332 MW and the energy storage capacity is 21 000 MWh (15.8 generating hours). In addition to the normal generating capacity, a minimum emergency full-load generating reserve of four hours is maintained throughout the normal weekly operating cycle. Although the scheme is fairly conventional as far as pumped storage technology and layout are concerned, the complex and sophisticated design of the scheme required inputs from international experts. Complex 3D models were developed to predict the behaviour of both the rock formations and the structural elements.
With the proposed construction of a new dug-out port south of the Durban Harbour, the 14 km section of the N2 from the EB Cloete four-level interchange southwards to the old Durban Airport is due to be fully upgraded within the next few years. In the interim, however, the cracked surface needed to be reinstated. Although the project initially comprised only the reinstatement of the cracked and failing asphalt surface layer of up to nine lanes, the scope was eventually extended to include the ramps and crossings at two major interchanges as well.
The Ashley Drive Break Pressure Tank (BPT), located in Hillcrest, Durban, is designed from first principles to safely operate the Western Aqueduct which is Durban Municipality's biggest ever water conveyance project. The primary function of the BPT is to limit water pressure in the Western Aqueduct to 25 bar (250 m water column) between Ashley Drive and Wyebank. The pressure in the Aqueduct has to be 'broken' at various points so that the potentially destructive energy in the pipeline can be safely and economically controlled. Under normal steady-state conditions the Aqueduct works like a well-behaved, lazy river. However, when there is any change, such as an increase or a decrease in water demand, the inlet to the BPT must react. If the reaction is too fast or too slow, potentially catastrophic conditions will arise - either overpressure in the upstream pipe, and/or overflow from the tank. Overpressure can cause the pipeline to burst, leading to water outages, damage to property, injury or death. Overflow causes environmental harm through erosion and chlorine contamination.
Toyota South Africa Motors increased the capacity of its existing press shop at the Prospecton plant in Durban to facilitate the production of Toyota's new 2016 Hiluxand Fortuner models. The press shop is a machine tool section that applies pressure to change the shape of steel metal in an automotive plant. The sheet metal is received in coils, which are cut into plates of various sizes on the cutting line. These are given their final shape on presses by using different dyes, as well as pulling, trimming and piercing for each type of component. Toyota procured three new presses to increase the capacity of the existing press shop. The largest of the three presses has a pressing capacity of 2 300 tons and is the largest in the southern hemisphere. The new press line was incorporated into the logistics bay of the existing building and will produce the external parts of the carbody, as well as the chassis rails for the various models.
The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link (GRRL) is a transit system designed for the rapid movement of commuters between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) in Gauteng. The GRRL was developed as a public-private-partnership concession and includes a 15-year maintenance and operation period after completion of construction. This concession was awarded to the Bombela Concession Company (BCC). As part of the maintenance and operation of the Gautrain system, the BCC recognised the need to extend the station at ORTIA in order to allow for better commuter access. The design- and-construct of the station extension contract for ORTIA was awarded to Stefanutti Stocks in April 2015. Stefanutti Stocks employed SMEC South Africa as their design consultant for the works.
The SANRAL (South African National Roads Agency Limited) Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) has brought together several engineering disciplines to develop advanced transportation solutions for the KwaZulu-Natal region. According to statistics from SANRAL, the N3 freeway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg carries volumes between 40 000 and 60 000 in Average Daily Traffic (ADT). This increase in demand would traditionally be treated by constructing additional lanes to accommodate more vehicles, costing billions. To remedy this, the ITS (also known as the Freeway Management System, FMS) was developed to optimise traffic flow, and improve road safety and traffic management. The road safety aspects are meant to prevent accidents by timeously warning motorists of incidents, and fast and coordinated response to incidents (improved dispatch, better routing for emergency vehicles). Professionals from the civil, traffic, transportation, electrical and electronic engineering sectors fused together this system, which was not only built to monitor traffic, but to collect huge amounts of traffic data. This is then used to study travel patterns, predict accident hot spots and inform road users in real time of the prevailing traffic conditions.
Approximately 30 km northeast of Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal, the existing Buff alo River Raw Water Abstraction Scheme (BRRWAS), including the abstraction works and rising main, has been in continuous operation since commissioning in 1985 and forms a key component of the potable water supply to the bulk of the Endumeni Municipal area in KZN. The BRRWAS was designed to provide 85% of the raw water supplied to the Biggarsberg Water Treatment Works. However, due to the severe drought conditions it is now supplying 100% of the raw water, but it was not providing enough water to meet the demand. As a result the area has been subject to water restrictions for the past two years. UWP Consulting was appointed by uThukela Water to investigate the upgrading of the BRRWAS to provide more water to the Biggarsberg WTW. Th e original design made provision for increasing the capacity, and as such the existing pipeline was constructed to allow for a 60% increased fl ow. The proposed upgrade was expected to cost approximately R45 million. During the initial investigation, certain key components were found to be in an extremely poor state of repair, and an emergency contract to the value of R2.5 million was initiated to address these problems. During this contract UWP took the opportunity to inspect the inside of the rising main. It was found that it had a layer of fine clay and silt build-up of between 8-15 mm attached to the inside of the pipeline. A review of the current pumping volumes versus the design duty point was done. The design duty point for the pumps was 730 m3/h at 250 m total head; however, the operational duty point was 560 m3/h at 270 m total head. A decision was therefore taken to attempt to remove the build-up of silt and organic growth from the pipeline to improve the flow rate in the pipeline.
In June 2014 the decision was taken by Eris Property Group to redevelop the old Village Walk site in Sandton. The primary phase would support the existing boundary walls with the Balalaika and Protea Hotels, thus paving the way for the second phase. The second and final phase would encompass the excavation and lateral support for the new proposed basement layout, including the demolition and removal of the existing four-basement parking garage. Challenges were numerous, including but not limited to the unknown location of services, concrete obstructions covered by soil, a diabase dyke running through the site with unknown position and extent, retaining neighbouring property structures and basements, and time constraints.
The Northern Areas Sewer (NAS) is a major collector sewer currently serving around 4 100 ha of the northern suburbs of Cape Town. The sewer is approximately 9 km long, starting in Parow and terminating at the Langa Pump Station, adjacent to the old Athlone Power Station. The old NAS was originally commissioned in 1951, and although most of the sewer was still in a relatively good condition, in the early 1990s it became evident that the NAS no longer had sufficient capacity to service the existing catchment area. Furthermore, critical developments, such as Wingfield and the Conradie Hospital, which would tie into the NAS, had to be delayed until the system was upgraded. Phase 1 of the upgrade consisted of the replacement of the first 3.8 km of the bulk sewer in 2000 and 2001.
The Majuba Power Station comprises six units: units 1-3 each capable of providing 657 MW and units 4-6 providing713 MW. It has been in operation since 1996, and is planned to operate until 2061. On 1 November 2014 an incident occurred in which the wall of Coal Silo 20 fractured, and shortly thereafter failed completely. This resulted in the collapse of the upper section of the silo. The conveyor transfer house and the coal conveyor gantry sections that were supported by Silo 20 also collapsed, resulting in damage to the head end of the overland conveyors, and the tail ends of the over-silo link conveyors.
Old Mutual Property Development embarked on the construction of a new head office in the heart of the Sandton CBD. The site was specifically chosen in order to maximise its proximity to the Gautrain Station, which is located across the road from the entrance to the new office building. The property is situated directly over the Gautrain tunnel along the eastern portion, which brought challenges for the blasting and foundation aspects.
The project comprised the lateral support and bulk earthworks for the construction of a super basement for the new Discovery Office in Sandton. The need to create and centralise the Discovery business units under one roof prompted this colossal development. The area on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Streets in Sandton was ear-marked - a footprint area of almost 24 435 m2. Prior to commencing the lateral support and bulk earthworks, the four buildings occupying the site had to be demolished and the rubble removed. Access to the demolition was phased, as existing tenants would only vacate the last building by the end of April 2014, some four months after commencing the project. Programme constraints due to the complexity and vast volumes of work to be executed created a massive challenge for all parties involved.
Due to its position along the N3 highway, Estcourt City (Umtshezi Local Municipality) in KwaZulu-Natal is one of the busiest when it comes to travellers. It therefore needed a central point for efficient, less disruptive and more coordinated traffic fl ow within the city, so the construction of a double-storey taxi rank facility was undertaken. The concrete structure has two ramps giving taxis access to the top level, where steel canopies provide shade for taxis and pedestrians. On the bottom level, permanent hawker facilities were built, while a three-storey face-brick building at the one end of the facility houses ablution facilities and offices for the local taxi society.
Burgan Cape Terminals (Pty) Ltd (BCT) is an independent storage company constituted by VTTI B.V. (Holland), JICARO (RSA) and Thebe Investment Corporation (RSA) to develop a much needed fuel storage facility in the Port of Cape Town. In2015 BCT signed a 20-year lease agreement with the Port of Cape Town for the use of the site on the Eastern Mole. Chemie-Tech SA (Pty) Ltd, a Dubai-based company specialising in the construction of storage facilities, was awarded the project in late 2015, and they in turn appointed Franki Africa as their specialist geotechnical contractor to design and construct the foundations. The site is a reclaimed area made up of demolition rubble in a variable soils matrix overlying weak soil horizons to depths of 20 m and more. This presented an engineering challenge to achieve acceptable settlement limits for the proposed large storage tanks. Furthermore, the close proximity of existing storage tanks with unknown foundations and vibration tolerances posed another challenge.