Contractor Grinaker-LTA in a joint venture with BEE firm Keren Kula Construction has announced that it is close to completing a R580-million construction contract for the Department of Health’s new headquarters in Pretoria’s CBD.

Graeme Jones The contractor's work has entailed a complete refurbishment of the 30-storey Civitas building – which was originally built in 1971 and has housed the Department of Internal Affairs – as well as the construction of a new nine-storey office tower alongside it.

As part of the Expanded Public Works Programme, this contract has contributed to training artisans for the skills-strapped construction industry. Skills training was provided in various trades, including bricklaying, carpentry, tiling, plastering and plumbing, explains Graeme Jones, contracts director at Grinaker-LTA Building Inland. Following a six-month training period, each student received a certificate of compliance. A total of 169 students were trained, he reports. Life skills and AIDS awareness training also formed part of the programme.

In addition to the Expanded Public Works training initiatives, the contract provided 498 workers with in-house training in subjects ranging from first aid to plant operation. A further 205 staff members were trained on site in basic construction skills, Jones states. Four candidates from the Civitas site were also entered into a two-year trainee foreman learnership. A full-time HIV/AIDS awareness programme was conducted for all staff, and Jones says that it’s estimated that this programme reached 3 000 people.

This contract has netted a number of safety awards since it commenced, including twice attaining second place in its category in the Gauteng Regional MBA (Master Builders’ Association) safety competition, and receiving a 5-Star MBSA (Master Builders South Africa) safety rating. The site has currently achieved 1.75 million lost time injury free hours.

Jones says one of the contractors’ greatest challenges on this contract was the vertical movement of staff and materials within the old Civitas skyscraper – with demolitions going down and material for installation needing to go up, all while two staircases were being demolished and rebuilt. “We also faced the challenge of limited storage space,” he notes.

Both the refurbished Civitas building and the new office tower feature striking glass facades, the R40-million sub-contract for which was undertaken by Grinaker-LTA Facades, a division of the Building Business Unit. In addition to giving the old structure a modern new look, these glass “curtain walls” are also designed to make the buildings more energy efficient. Jones elaborates: “The glass curtain walls comprise sealed, insulated glass units consisting of specialised inner and outer glass panels with an airspace in between them. These units are designed to improve natural lighting in the office areas while simultaneously reducing solar heat build-up within the buildings, resulting in decreased lighting and air-conditioning energy requirements. With SA’s building regulations under review with the aim of reducing energy demand from industry by 15% in 2015, the new Civitas buildings’ energy-efficient features are particularly noteworthy. The average office building has a heat load of 120 Watts (W) per m3, depending on the details of the building. With their energy-saving curtain walls, the Civitas buildings run at approximately 90 W/m3.  These energy-efficient glass facades have resulted in the buildings surpassing the target to reduce overall energy consumption by 24% on the air-conditioning side. This represents significant cost savings for the client, the Department of Public Works, and the tenant, the Department of Health.”

During the installation of the glass facades, the contractors employed innovative safety systems to minimize the potential safety risks associated with lifting 510 000 kg of glass up a 30-storey skyscraper. “Project specific lifting rigs were developed,” Jones notes. “In addition, more than 1 200 m of lifelines were installed to protect the panel installation workers.

“This is a project of which we are justifiably proud, and we look forward to handing it over to the client next month (April),” he concludes.


Monday, 16 March 2009 02:00

Chapman's Peak interim due in a week

A task team investigating the Chapman's Peak Drive private-public partnership governing the toll road will in a week's time submit an interim progress report.

Thursday, 20 November 2008 02:00

Glut of bricks forces price cuts

Brick manufacturers, faced with a huge surplus, plan to sell stock below cost and to extend their annual shutdown next month.

NIGERIA's leading cement and building materials firm, Dangote Cement, and Sephaku Cement, have signed a shareholders agreement paving the way for the start of a R3bn project to build a cement plant in North West.

Construction IndustryThe agreement, announced on Friday, is the second leg of Dangote’s strategy to enter the highly lucrative South African market, following its acquisition of a 19,8% stake through a private placement in Sephaku Cement in April. The Nigerian firm hopes to increase its stake to 45% eventually.

The partners said they now had the operational framework to kick-start the project, which they billed as the first black-owned cement plant in SA. It would have an annual capacity of

2,2-million tons. They said talks were being held with technical partners before construction started.

Sephaku Cement is a subsidiary of black economic empowerment- controlled Sephaku Holdings, which has interests in the mineral sector. Dangote Cement is part of Nigeria’s largest diversified group, Dangote Industries, and also has operations in Benin, Ghana, Senegal and SA. The company said it aimed to be a multinational corporation and was eyeing at least 10 more African countries.

The two partners said the South African plant would be the largest single-line cement plant in the country.

Construction would begin in January and the first cement should be ready for delivery by the end of 2010.

Sephaku Holdings, as the majority shareholder in Sephaku Cement with a 55% stake, would provide the majority of the management team, and was finalising debt funding needed to finance the project.

Demand for cement in SA is set to continue to rise due to a slew of billion rand construction projects, among them the government's road-building programme, privately owned shopping complexes, and infrastructure and stadiums to meet the influx of visitors for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Analysts say despite the lull in housing construction in response to tightening credit conditions and waning demand as cash-strapped consumers prefer to rent, construction firms such as Group 5 and Murrary & Roberts have full order books that should keep them busy beyond 2010.

Dangote Cement CEO Tony Hadley said the joint venture was a key part of his group's pan-African expansion programme and provided direct access to the large South African market.

“We are delighted to be announcing that the joint venture is moving ahead smoothly and look forward to beginning the construction process,” he said.

“Dangote Cement is set to achieve 26-million tons of production capacity in Nigeria by 2010 and 50-million tons of production capacity overall by 2012.”

Sephaku Holdings chairman Lelau Mohuba said his group had a broader vision to become a major player in the local economy and across Africa.

He said the new plant was the first black-owned plant in SA and marked a “critical milestone (for the group) which was growing from exploration to development".

Sephaku Cement CEO Pieter Fourie said despite a slowdown in demand for cement since record levels achieved last year, the medium- to long-term forecast showed significant growth opportunities in the local market.


Growthpoint Properties Limited announced 14,4% growth in distribution per linked unit for its financial year ended 30 June 2008, with both the company’s earnings and its distributions outperforming forecasts

Tuesday, 08 July 2008 02:00

Absa Capital buys 8% stake in Gautrain

ABSA Capital’s Infrastructure Equity Investments has acquired a direct 8% shareholding in the Gautrain.

Thursday, 05 June 2008 02:00

Ruling gives development green light

The owner of the George Tourist Resort has won a Cape High Court bid to rezone and subdivide his land.

ApexHi has sold 104 properties for R668 million to Dipula and Mergence, two BEE enterprise development property companies set up by Redefine Income Fund

Neil Potgieter took the helm of Grinaker-LTA Building earlier this year, following the promotion of predecessor Neil Cloete to Group MD of Grinaker-LTA. Unveiling his first strategic plan for the division, Potgieter notes that Grinaker-LTA Building’s order book has changed in recent months from one dominated by private sector projects to one in which a substantial portion of work is coming from Government.  “In the past number of years, most of our work has traditionally been for private sector clients, on projects like office blocks, shopping centres and residential accommodation. Our current order book has changed - most notably in the Cape - to one in which a large chunk of our work is now being undertaken for Government.”

Construction IndustryThe division is busy with more than R1 billion of work at Cape Town International Airport, a state-of-the-art forensics facility planned to boost the country’s fight against crime, three 2010 soccer stadiums, a prison in Kimberley and a youth care centre for juvenile offenders in Bhisho.

Grinaker-LTA Building, in joint venture with Stocks Africa, is undertaking a R664-million contract to build a new integrated terminal, as well as a R375-million contract for the construction of a new multi-storey parkade, at Cape Town International Airport.
In Plattekloof, Cape Town, the division is currently busy with the construction of a new high-tech forensic facility that will enhance the SA Police Service’s fight against crime. This R359-million contract for the Department of Public Works is scheduled for completion in March 2010.

The construction of the new Kimberley medium security correctional centre is progressing well, and is on track for completion in February next year, Potgieter states. Grinaker-LTA Building is undertaking this R777-million contract in a joint venture with BEE company Keren Kula Construction. Situated on Griekwastad Road, 1 km outside Kimberley, this facility will provide accommodation for 3 000 adult male offenders.

Grinaker-LTA Building’s R230-million contract for the construction of the Department of Public Works’ new “Special Youth Care Centre” in the Eastern Cape capital of Bhisho is due for completion in May 2009. This facility is designed to accommodate 320 juvenile offenders.

The division’s work on 2010 stadiums includes the construction contract for the main event stadium, Soccer City in Soweto, the contract for the construction of the new Orlando Stadium in Soweto - which is due for completion next month (May 2008) – and the construction of Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Grinaker-LTA’s Soccer City and Nelson Mandela Stadium contracts are being undertaken in joint venture with Interbeton bv, part of the Royal BAM Group from Holland.

But while Government contracts have bolstered its order book, Grinaker-LTA Building is still keeping busy with private projects ranging from more than R1.5-billion of retail contracts and a striking new casino resort to luxury housing and golf courses in Mauritius.

The division’s retail projects include a R350-million contract to extend and refurbish the popular Eastgate shopping centre in Bedfordview, east of Johannesburg, and a R550-million contract – being undertaken in joint venture with ENZA Construction – to build a new 60 000 m2 shopping centre in Durban’s new Bridge City Precinct, which boarders Kwa-Mashu and Phoenix. Grinaker-LTA is also building two more new malls in Durban – the 35 000 m2 Westwood Shopping Centre in Westville and Philani Valley in Umlazi, and is wrapping up contracts to extend and refurbish Richards Bays’ Boardwalk Shopping Centre.

Near Krugersdorp (Mogale City), Grinaker-LTA Building is close to completing its R733-million contract for the construction of the Silverstar Casino Resort.

Rehm-Grinaker, the Mauritian construction company in which Grinaker-LTA is a shareholder, has an order book in the region of R600 million, Potgieter says. This includes work on several projects falling under the groundbreaking new Mauritian property ownership system, the ‘Integrated Resort Scheme’ (IRS), which is allowing foreigners to purchase property in Mauritius for the first time. Rehm-Grinaker’s contracts include an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Ernie Els at the Anahita resort. This development is set to be the largest and most extravagant IRS development on the East coast of Mauritius. It also aims to be one of the top five developments of its kind in the world in the next five years, amid tough competition from regions like Dubai.
With its growing workload, Grinaker-LTA Building has also doubled its people resources, and Potgieter says he currently has in excess of 4 700 people under his leadership. He has cited safety and skills development as strategic priorities going forward, and notes that the shortage of skills in the industry is a challenge. “Training is a critical focus area, and we have numerous learnerships, apprenticeships and bursary schemes in place to begin to address the current skills deficit. An in-house training centre is operating in KwaZulu-Natal and provides training in various construction disciplines such as carpentry and brick-laying.”

Potgieter believes one of the greatest challenges currently facing the building industry is the power outages. “The power crisis could cause significant delays and disruptions on new developments. In most cases, we have stand-by generators on our sites, to minimise downtime, but this is a concern.

“The upside, however, is the new business to be picked up in the construction of new power stations. As part of the multi-disciplinary Aveng Group, Grinaker-LTA Building is well-placed to capitalise on this,” he concludes.


Thursday, 03 April 2008 02:00

Buildmax floats new shares to raise capital

DIVERSIFIED supplier of equipment and open cast mining services and construction materials Buildmax revised its listing on the JSE main board, yesterday floating 179 million new shares to raise about R310m in capital.

Construction IndustryCEO Paul de Klerk said the group would use the funds to reduce debt and finance growth.

Buildmax’s share price opened at R2,25, a 25% premium to the R1,80 per share in the pre-listing private placement, giving it a market capitalisation of R2bn on listing of the new shares from a mere R100m previously.

Foreign investors took about 40% of the private placement. The group raised a further R61m by the issuing of 40- million new shares to a black economic empowerment consortium led by Vuwa Investments, an existing shareholder in its subsidiary Buildco.

The capital raised would be used partly to fund the acquisition of Diesel Power. Through this acquisition, as well as that of Buildco, Buildmax has repositioned itself as a supplier of equipment, mining services and construction material.

This is expected to drive growth with revenue forecast to grow to R1,7bn, profit from operations to R373m and profit after tax to R201m.


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