On the cover: Skilled engineering and an astute use of concrete have given a seaside home at Bloubergstrand the protection it needs from stormy seas off the Cape’s Atlantic coastline.
After recent storms had weakened the wall between client Ernst Hartwig’s three‑storey house and the beach, it was considered necessary to rebuild the wall completely – to a new and more sustainable design. This was no simple task, considering the proximity of the property to the water’s edge, and the fact that it would have to be built in beach sand.
Recognising the best
The winners in the 17th annual Best Projects Awards competition were announced at a function in Johannesburg on 31 October. This award is the only in the country that recognises excellence across the entire construction industry. Projects are independently judged – by submission only.
This year the competition attracted 53 entries – a few more than last year. The main sponsor was AfriSam, while Den Braven was the bronze sponsor and MBA North and Sika South Africa associate sponsors.
The judges – Trueman Goba, Rob Newberry and Nico Maas – have, over the many decades they have been in the industry, seen the construction industry peak and dip. In what is a difficult time for the construction industry, they commented how encouraging it was to see the quality and diversity of construction projects in the country..
Hope for the future
“I enjoy being part of such an important event. This year’s entries really gave me hope for the future South Africa,” said Nico Maas, who is a past President of the MBSA. Rob Newberry, who has been a Best Projects judge since its beginning in 2002 and who is a past President of the CIOB, refers to Best Projects as the ‘gold standard’ in the industry. Trueman Goba, Hatch Africa’s Chairman, who has also been a Best Projects judge from the start, was highly impressed by the standard of the submissions.
The ‘Upgrade of the N2 between Mtunzini Toll Plaza and Empangeni T-junction’ by Concor Infrastructure was the winning project in the Civil Engineering Contractors category. The judges remarked that this project stood out in terms of scale, innovation and the sensitivity it showed towards the environment.
CSV Construction’s ‘Replacement of Seawall ERF 234, Blouberg Strand’ received the Highly Commended Award in this category. This project, despite small in scale, was innovative and overcame the challenge that the foundation for a wall had to be dug below sea level.
The Building Contractors category, with its many highly innovative and often iconic buildings, was this year dominated by WBHO Construction. The company, rightfully, produced two winners: ‘New Discovery Building’ (Winner) and ‘Times Square Casino, Arena & Hotel’ (Highly Commended). The projects’ scale, innovation and complexity impressed the judges.
The Specialist Contractors or Suppliers category had a clear winner: ‘Demolition of Boiler Unit 3 at Duvha Power Station’ by Jet Demolition. The intricacy, complexity and scale of the project deeply impressed the judges. Franki Africa’s project ‘Clairwood Logistics Park’ was given a Highly Commended award. The innovation showed for this project was reason enough to recognise its excellence.
The 12 entries in Consulting Engineers category were of an exceptionally high standard and the judges eventually awarded four projects: a Special Mention to ‘Sydney Metro Cable-Stayed Bridge’ (SMEC), Highly Commended Awards to both ‘Construction of Neckartal Dam Phase 1 Bulk Water Supply’ (Knight Piésold) and HHO Consulting Engineers’ ‘Upgrade of N11 Section from Middelburg to Loskopdam’. The category was won by Knight Piésold’s ‘Rehabilitation of Main Road between Atlantic Road, Muizenberg and Clovelly Road – Phase 3’. What impressed the judges about this project was that a major artery had to be worked on while still fully operational.
The Architects category was won by Earthworld Architect’s project ‘Stortemelk Hydropower Project’. This is proof that a project does not have to be massive for it to illustrate excellence and innovation. The ‘BCX Head Office’ by SVA International was Highly Commended and ‘Cornubia Mall’ received a Special Mention.
Best Project Awards’ main sponsor, AfriSam, also sponsors the ‘AfriSam Innovation Award for Sustainable Construction’. The judges remarked that the competition in this category was fierce. They gave two projects a Special Mention: ‘Stortemelk Hydropower Project’ (Earthworld Architects) and ‘The Upgrade of the N2 between Mtunzini Toll Plaza and Empangeni T-Junction’ (Concor Infrastructure). ‘New Discovery Head Office’ (WBHO Construction) was Highly Commended and the category was won by SVA International’s ‘BCX Head Office’.