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MANAGING EDITOR Robert Barnes COUNTRY EDITORS Kenya - Francis Makari Uganda - Betty Katongole Nigeria - Boladale Ademiju South Africa - Newton Mthethwa WRITERS Jimmy Swira, Thunile Alletta Nkosi Lindsay Wagner, Yvonne Andiva Erick Mongare, Dorcas Kang'ereha


WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN Augustine Ombwa Bonface Kimunyi

Solar Power

ADVERTISING Kenya William Mutama, Fred Okoth, Trizah Njoroge, Joseph Mwangi

Almost half of the people in the world without

South Africa: Manoko Thosago, Happy Mokoena Shepherd Mthethwa, Winnie Sentabire, Angeline Ntobeng, Nqobile Ndlovu Uganda: Dan Nsalasata,Bill Collins Musaazi Botswana: Dickson Manyudza, Gerald Mazikana Ethiopia: Haimanot Tesfaye, Ruth Girma Tanzania: Tom Kiage Malawi: Anderson Fumulani Ghana: Samuel Hinneh Zambia: Susan Kandeke Zimbabwe: Chiedza Chimombe Rwanda: Collison Lore Nigeria: Seni Bello China:Weng Jie

The editor accepts letters and manuscripts for publication from readers all over the world. Include your name and address as a sign of good faith although you may request your name to be withheld from publication. We reserve the right to edit any material submitted .

Send your letters to: Construction Review is published eleven times a year and is circulated to members of relevant associations, governmental bodies and other personnel in the building and construction industry as well as suppliers of equipment, materials and services in Africa, the Middle and Far East. The editor welcomes articles and photographs for consideration. Material may not be reproduced without prior permission from the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or authenticity of advertisements or contributions contained in the journal. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Š All rights reserved.

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Turning to off-grid solar power supply

access to electricity live in Africa and the vast number of them live in the rural areas. Cover Picture One of the solar street lights installed by Akon Lighting Africa in Benin. Such projects allow economic activity to progress well after sundown.


REGULARS Editor's Comment 3 Energy News 4 Transport News 5 Housing/Commercial News 6 Association News 7 Corporate News 8 New Products 9 Events 10 Guest - Simon Berry, director, Fresh Projects 12

DISTRIBUTION TRANSFORMERS 20 Reducing power losses INTERIOR DESIGN Planning Interiors Limited: The Journey


Published by Group Africa Publishing Ltd Consolidated Bank House, 4th floor, Koinange Street, Nairobi 00100 Kenya, Tel: +254 772642042, Email:

Uganda Agent Projects Unusual Uganda Ltd. Jemba Plaza, Luwum St. Kampala, Uganda Tel: +256 776 883181

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Zimbabwe Office J.S. Reconnect (Pvt) Ltd 436 Ettington Road, Greystone Park, Harare, Zimbabwe


March 2016 Volume 27 No.3

Editor's Comment

Reflections of an Icon

The Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi

Solar Power for Africa

one of the projects that Michael Lord

As the race to meet Africa’s power needs heats up with

the Executive Director of Symbion

massive hydro power projects underway in the Congo

Kenya Limited was involved in.

and Ethiopia amongst other regions, a new paradigm is emerging as the high costs of putting up dams and associated distribution infrastructure dawns. Many parts of rural Africa are currently too remotely located that the cost of putting up power lines to enable them linkup to the national grid are prohibitive and so

39 Majuba Rail Project The Majuba Rail Project covers 68km and it's objective is to construct an electrified heavy haul rail line linking the Transnet Freight Rail export coal line with the existing MajubaPower Station rail yard.

experiencing strong economic development. A solution to this is off-grid power which can be setup in small townships and villages to power lighting and small industries with the possibilities of upscaling in the future. Costs are less prohibitive than hydro power as the cost of solar power units has come down significantly in recent years. Timelines for installation are also short allowing villages to enjoy the benefits of solar power within weeks instead of years and transforming their lives for the better almost instantly. Governments in Africa need to consider this route as a viable alternative to meeting local communities energy

42 Quantity Surveying Harold R. Fenwick & Associates

they languish in the periphery of a continent currently






regulations to govern the industry in order to ensure quality and reliable products are available and power purchase guarantees are made in order to attract private 34

investment in the sector. These are only part of a strategy that can involve offering training to develop skills in this sector as well as providing loans for small

Mechanically Stabilised Earth 44 Reinforced Earth is First in Mechanically Stabilised Earth (MSE)

households to purchase solar units. The strategy would bring about sustainable benefits that would help meet the current energy deficit that Africa faces.

Robert Barnes South Africa Office College Publishers CC 1st Floor, 267 Oak Avenue, Oakfields, Randburg, Johannesburg Tel: +27 11 781 4253 Fax: +27 11 781 4287 Email: Ethiopia Office Haymi Advertising Services 22 Mazoria, Genet Bldg 4th Flr P.O. Box 1316 - 1110 Addis Ababa Tel: +251 118 955 855, Cell: +251 930 099 152 Email: Ghana Office Image Consortium 1st Floor, TheEcobank Building, Tesano.

Tel: 233(0)30 223 2728 Fax: 233(0)24 882 8286 Email:

Rwanda Office

Kenya Office Northwest Ventures Ltd P.O. Box 16414 - 00100 G.P.O Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +254 20 2679809 I 2679808, 2091305 Email:

Tel: +250 03 748106

Nigeria Office Rahma Associates B23/24, Aishetu Emoewa Plaza, 196, Iju Water Works Road, Ifako Ijaye Lga,Agege, Lagos. Tel: 234-1-7347860 Email:

Kolline & Hemed Inc., B.P. 3328, Kigali, Rwanda E-mail: Website: Zambia Office Dayflex Limited, 4th. Floor Tazara House Dedan Kimathi Road, Lusaka, Zambia. Tel: +260 211 230 529 / +260 977 756 663 Email:, dayflex06@gmail. com





Geothermal boosts energy export

Quantum Power to construct gas storage facility

Obama signs Power Africa initiative into law

Quantum Power and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)

Electricity utility firm Kenya Power




operates most of the electricity transmission



system in Kenya has announced

have signed an agreement for the construction and operation of the Liquefied Natural Gas storage facility in Ghana. The facility will be constructed at Tema. The Tema LNG project will receive, store, regasify and deliver, about 3.40 million tons of LNG per annum. The delivery will be equivalent to 500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. The project will as well utilize the state-of-the-art dedicated

that it has almost doubled its

floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) moored off-shore

electricity exports to Uganda

Tema. An onshore pipeline and associated sub-sea infrastructure will

and Tanzania since it increased

deliver the natural gas to GNPC and its customers onshore. The project

generation of geothermal energy

total cost is US$550m. The cost will be implemented on a build-own-

in Kenya's national grid. Official

operate-transfer (BOOT) basis with the assets transferring to GNPC

data reveals that the electricity

after the project’s 20-year term. The project is however expected

distributor sold 46.6 million

to commence operation by end of this year. The project’s design is

units (kilowatt hours) to the two

based on built-in scalability, which will help the facility increase its

countries last year, up from 26.9 million in 2014. The additional cheaper



especially the 280MW which

production to meet Ghana’s growing energy demand, providing the country’s power generation industry with a highly reliable and clean fuel supply meeting the projected power and industrial needs for the next 20 years to come.

was added in the second half of 2014 really helped in reducing the use of expensive thermal power.




have a direct transmission line connecting them which enables the trade of bulk power. Uganda accounted for 93 per cent of the market for power from Kenya. However, Kenya lacks a line connecting it with Tanzania which results in limited power exchange at common border towns which are not connected to the Tanzanian grid. Due to that reason, Kenya sells power to parts of Tanzania via Namanga, while Dar es Salaam previously sold power to Nairobi via the coastal local towns of Lunga Lunga and Vanga. Nairobi stopped electricity imports from Dar and significantly cut imports from Kampala while increasing its





Tanzania is planning to set up a natural gas-fired power plant that could result in a cutback on electricity imports from Kenyan. 4

South Africa

Wind energy in surges above1GW in 2015 A new report by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) shows a capacity increase in installed wind energy in South Africa to above 1 GW last year. This makes South Africa the largest producer of wind energy in Africa, followed by Morocco whose installed capacity stood at 787 MW in 2014. Wind growth in South Africa has largely been inspired by Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, a government initiative which has seen the procurement of 6,300 MW of renewable- energy capacity since 2011. Wind prices have subsequently gone down from R142c/kWh in the first bid window in 2011, to 65c/kWh in the fourth bid window. According to GWEC reports, the country installed 483 MW in 2015, raising the installed capacity of the Africa and Middle East region to nearly 3,300 MW. A look at the global scene shows that the surge in Chinese installations in 2015 saw 30.5 GW added in the year, raising the total global wind capacity installed last year to 63 GW, a year-onyear market growth of 22%. China has also hit the mark as the leading wind market, way past the European Union (EU), with an installation of 145.1 GW compared with the EU’s 141.6 GW.

President Barrack Obama has signed into law the Power Africa deal a move aimed at expanding electricity to millions of households in sub-Saharan Africa. This measure has been widely supported as it is a game-changer in saving lives and accelerating growth on the continent. The Electrify Africa Act leverages partnerships with the private sector in order to bring first-time electricity access to about 50 million people who live in undeserved parts of Africa. The bill unanimously passed by the House of Representatives and Senate. The initiative is set to use a system of loan guarantees since no new US federal funds have been allocated for the project. The loan will be used to add 20,000 megawatts of electricity to the continent’s grid by 2020. The supporters of the bill argue that access to power is a fundamental development challenge long experienced in Africa and a boost to it will therefore rekindle economic growth and improve access to education and public health. “It is a huge milestone for business start-ups that have to close at dark and for school children, who are often forced to study by dangerous, inefficient kerosene lamps,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce. He added that too many families always end up relying on charcoal and other toxic fuel sources which emit fumes that lead to more deaths than the dreaded HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. The law aims to build on a “Power Africa” initiative that Obama promoted during a trip to Kenya in July. March 2016




Major highway to be expanded

Road construction in Blantyre to begin Construction of three roads in Malawian commercial capital Blantyre

A major highway in Ghana is to be expanded in March 2016, Inusah Fuseini, Ghana’s Roads Minister has announced. The feasibility studies are underway to give the project backers a clear understanding of the entire cost for the road construction. The project will be executed on a public-private partnership model. The private partners will be given a concession period to amortize whatever investment will be made on the road. The survey is to determine the underground soil conditions and the road structural integrity. The 19km 2-lane dual-carriageway, Accra-Tema motorway will be constructed with 2m bituminous surface dressed shoulders and cement-concrete surfacing. The road project will form an integral part of the National Route 1(N1) starting from Aflao (in the Volta Region) and ending at Elubo (in the Western Region). The project will as well link the Kotoka International Airport and Tema Port, Accra city and the Trans West African Highway(Abidjan-Lagos Corridor). According to Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) the road can accommodate a total number of 65,200 vehicles per day (vpd), similar to 16% vehicles in the medium and heavy groups. The project design comprises of provision of 2-lane service roads at both sides of the motorway with Asphaltic Concrete surfacing, replacement of existing 150mm reinforced concrete slabs with 200mm ones; provision of 200 – 300mm natural gravel sub-base on the service roads, provision of 200 – 300mm crushed rock base on the service roads.

is set to kick off after the Blantyre City Council received $1.6 million dollars from government. The three roads set for upgrade are; Chilomoni Ring Road, Angelo Goveya to Manje and Living Waters to Zion in Chimwankhunda. Blantyre City Mayor, Noel Chalamanda presided over the ground breaking ceremony of the 2 kilometres Chimwankhunda Living waters turn-off to Zion road marking the start of the city roads upgrading project . Chalamanda said construction works on the other roads namely; Off Mugabe Highway to Mpingwe, Chimseu to Magalasi and Landrover Chilimba to Level crossing in Magalasi will kick off immediately government


Construction work on the Somalia Drive road begins




commenced on the Somalia Drive road in Liberia in the capital Monrovia, after Japan and the government of Liberia signed a US$57m deal for the construction of the road. The 2.7km road construction contract will be financed by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). The

disburses the remaining funds. “The work on the other roads is

road has previously been paved

scheduled to start as soon as we receive money from the government.

twice by a Chinese construction

We are really looking forward to the remaining funds that hopefully


will be remitted to us very soon,” said Chalamanda. According to

William Judy Moore, the Public

Chalamanda, at least $202,977 of the already disbursed funds has

Works Minister of Liberia, the

been used in rehabilitation of the street lights in the city in a move to

construction of the road will ease

enhance security.

the huge traffic congestion on the

South Africa

Road construction marred by corruption



high way. The poor maintenance of the road has led to its bad condition causing massive traffic jams on the highway due to high number of vehicles registered

An independent analysis conducted for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), has revealed gross over-payment for road construction in South Africa, essentially putting the blame on South Africa National Road Agency Limited (Sanral). The research findings revealed that road construction in the country costs between 100 percent and 300 percent higher than global benchmarks. Outa chairman, Wayne Duvenage said that the alliance was still analysing the research findings but claimed the South Africa National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) was getting away with exorbitant prices for road construction projects. Duvenage added that other forces were involved in the foul play with a strong chance of mismanagement and corruption. “We also believe there is a cosy relationship between construction companies and Sanral that allows them to get away with exorbitant prices. “That is spelt out by the fact that the same collusive companies on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project are the same companies that are able to submit unsolicited bids in the Western Cape and get toll contracts,” he s aid.

March 2016

annually through the ministry of transport. Area residents have expressed their joy as access to town will be easy and quick as huge traffic snarlups on the road will be reduced. Presently, those who live in the Barnesville community along with those who have offices in town are forced to wake up at 4am so that they can be on time for work. Apart from the heavy traffic experienced the road is also dusty. But, residents living in the area are yet to be evacuated before the construction work begin in earnest. Physical work on the Somalia Drive road started in 2014 but was suspended due to the Ebola outbreak in the country. Previously, Liberia and Japan signed a Non-Project Grant Aid worth US$4.2m for economic and social development. 5


Kenya Chinese firm says legal battle with Kempinski hotel costly Avic International, a Chinese developer now says it has lost US$1.76m in construction delays arising from the endless court battle between it and Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel in Kenya. The international hotel is protesting the planned construction of a rival 43-storey hotel in an adjacent plot. Avic now claims that the appeal that Kempinski filed before the environmental body –Nema tribunal saw it lose US$20,000 for each of the 93 days that construction stalled pending the ruling. Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel in Kenya in September challenged NEMA’s decision to award Avic approvals for its US$490m complex leading to a freeze in construction work for the entire period of the proceedings as provided for by law. In another instance, Kempinski hotel opened the second round of the battle with an appeal against Nema after its tribunal dismissed its case on grounds that it was filed outside the 60-day window following the award of an approval. But the Chinese developer says that further delays to the multibillion shilling project will affect it negatively. Avic says it had made financial commitments to the project including earthwork and that they have no hope of ever recovering the money they have lost. The complex in question is a 43-floor office block and four apartment blocks which will double as Avic’s Africa headquarters. Two of the apartment blocks will have 24 storeys, while the other two will have 25 and 28 floors respectively. 6

Kenya Nairobi ranked largest mall developer in subSaharan Africa

Rwanda US$ 300m Kigali Convention Centre set to be opened in June The



Convention centre in Rwanda’s capital is set to be officially opened in June this year; this is according to Ultimate Concepts Limited (UCL) who owns the project. Kenya’s capital Nairobi is the leading shopping mall developer in sub-Saharan Africa a survey by real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank has shown. The Shop Africa 2016 report which is the first review of the retail market in sub-Saharan Africa revealed that Nairobi is the top city with the largest shopping centre development with approximately 470,000 square metres of shopping centre space in the pipeline. Currently, Nairobi has a mall space of 391,000 square metres which is represented by beautiful malls such as Sarit Centre, The Junction and Garden City which cause the number one ranking. Two Rivers Mall in Runda and The Hub in Karen are also iconic malls that boosted Nairobi's ranking though they opened recently. “While Nairobi has had shopping centres since the 1980s, the current wave of development is creating modern malls that are setting new standards for the market in terms of size and quality,” the report states. International brands that have currently penetrated into the region include French retailer Carrefour who will be an anchor tenant at both Two Rivers and The Hub in Karen. Turkish fashion brand LC Waikiki will also enter the Kenyan market with a store at Two Rivers.


Sigh of relief for struggling construction industry Global law firm Baker & McKenzie has released a new report showing a sign of relief for the struggling construction industry in Africa. The report finds that there has been a narrowing of the funding gap for African infrastructure to about $25bn a year. Based on a continental need of $90bn worth of infrastructure spend annually, this is good news in the context of the globally struggling construction industry, and the gloomy state experienced by many JSE-listed infrastructure companies . The analysis also reveals that the state of affairs has remained static even with the narrowing down of the funding gap in over seven years that the world has experienced economic turmoil. In 2009, the World Bank estimated the need for an annual $93bn for continental power, transport, ports, water and sanitation projects, but that only about half of that was raised and spent. The analysis was first released in the UK last month and is an independent research by the Economist Group. It surveys sources of capital inputs for African projects based on interviews with development finance institutions (DFIs), export credit agencies (ECAs) and commercial banks. It assesses 22 African countries.



Centre which is anticipated to be a hub of a lot of services in the East African Community will





African Union Summit and this will be its maiden major event, several other events have also been scheduled to take place at the convention centre.The Executive Chairperson of UCL, Eng. Didier Sagashya confirmed the reports and said that the construction project which is valued at US$300m will be fully operational as from June this year. He further said that the building will entail a five star hotel consisting of 292 rooms, several meeting rooms, an office park and a conference hall that can host up to 2,500 people. “We are working very hard, 24 hours a day to complete the project, we will be doing final touches but construction works currently stands at 70 per cent complete. The centre will be operation by June 2016,” Sagashya said. The Convention Centre is owned by UCL, a joint venture between the Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and Prime Holdings Ltd as well as private investors, including Crystal




Rwanda Investment Group. This mega development will help boost the tourism industry in the country. March 2016


Addis Ababa Roads Authority registers better performance The








register better performance in the first half of the budget year’s plan




new and outstanding projects. Construction has exceptionally reached 5,615 km from the planned 5,941km to be executed in the budget year and the authority has promised to put more effort in the remaining half budget year so as to be able to start on several other road projects in accordance with the plan. Addis Ababa



Deputy Mayor Abate Sitotaw confirmed the news and said

Architectural Association of Kenya unveils 2016 excellence awards The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) in conjunction with Duracoat, showcased their 2016 edition of the excellence awards. The biennial award scheme is intended to recognizing excellence in architecture for projects designed in Kenya over the last 50 years. In the recent award ceremony which took place on the 18th of February 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi, a whopping 26 projects which were divided into 10 different categories emerged as most unique and stood out of the various companies that were nominated. AAK chairman Gad Opiyo confirmed that the awards aim at promoting excellence in the sector. Some of the categories that were awarded include best residential project, best commercial building, best hospital facility, best cultural building project, best hospitality building, best educational building and best landscaping. Winners comprised of Lamu Apartments – Urko Sanchez Architects under the residential Building Category, Kenya Commercial Bank by Planning Systems Services under the Commercial Building Category, Nairobi Intervention Masterplan – Planning Systems Services under the Urban Design/Town Planning Category, Enashipai Resort and Spa – Dimensions Architects & Interior Designers under the Hospitality Industry Category.

that the construction of new roads and the already started projects should be carried out in accordance with the plan to meet the growing needs of the public. “Road


construction should




under moment



comfortable for everyone and all stakeholders in the road construction



work jointly for the effective realization








at the moment,” he said. The government has allocated around US$ 94m to the authority to be used on the construction of different road projects over the last six months, it has also carried out various border demarcation and renovation activities side by side with the construction of new road projects.

Master Builders Association of Western Cape awards apprentice in South Africa The Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC) has recently awarded the Buckland Apprentice of the Year Award to Mr. Donald Perreira. The Award is given to the leading apprentice chosen, from all those registered on the organisation’s Apprenticeship Training Programme. According to the MBAWC’s Group Skills Facilitator, Tony Keal, “For the past few years we have been giving people the opportunity to earn while they learn through the Programme. The MBAWC pays for the apprentices’ training and places them with our member organisations for experience. In doing so, we equip them with the skills and experience they need to become master builders. Apprenticeships not only create skilled people, but also future entrepreneurs in the industry.” Perreira, who had worked for 10 years as a joiner in a furniture factory, decided to pursue a career in construction. He says, “This field offers many areas of opportunity, from plumbing and electrical works to civil construction.” He joined the Programme in 2013 and completed all of his theoretical and practical training. He has also done in-service, on-site training with a number of MBAWC member companies and is currently fulfilling his internship with GVK-Siyazama.

March 2016

Association of Tilers in Nigeria raises alarm over quack workers The Association of Tilers in Nigeria (ATN) has raised alarm over invasion of quacks builders in the building industry. According to Hassan Olanrewaju, ATN President, quite a number of Nigerians have continued to fall victims to their activities. Comrade Olanrewaju further described the situation as worrisome as the quacks continue to carry out their shoddy works that leads to building collapsing, a situation that puts down real professionals in the building industry. Under the Company and Allied Matters Act 1990, ATN is a noble professional organization registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. The association has vowed not to tolerate the unethical, unprofessional and fraudulent activities of quack tilers in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following the numerous disturbing reports and complaints of site abandonment, poor customer relationship, use of substandard materials, fraud just to mention a few carried out by the unprofessional tilers. The ATN have categorically denied and disassociates with their unprincipled elements. According to the association investigations, it is discovered that the quack individuals have no tilling training background to carry out the tilling activities. The counterfeit tilers go around deceiving the general public with their fake certificates and identity cards.



Hydraform to provide building blocks for Ivorian hospital

Kwikspace modular building technology offers quick solution

South Africa’s leading brick

Kwikspace, a leading manufacturer of prefabricated buildings has offered a rapid solution to a school in South Africa to ensure that learning would not be hampered. Hawston High School was in urgent need for an alternative but quick building solution after its brick and mortar buildings were declared unsafe due to structural problems. Kwickspace quickly mobilized its prefabricated buildings to the school. This project entailed the relocation and delivery of 34 classrooms, two admin units, four ablution units, one kitchen and two storage containers. The setup of these modular buildings thus meant that an estimated figure of over 1 000 learners would be provided with suitable classrooms and amenities. Leon du Plessis, Regional Manager at Kwikspace said,“Education has the power to significantly enhance the future of South Africa’s economic strength; however, the lack of suitable infrastructure has the power to inhibit this outcome. Our buildings have proven to be an ideal solution to meet the need for suitable classroom space, particularly in instances such as this one where buildings are required as a matter of urgency.” Kwikspace’s units are manufactured using fully insulated polyurethane injected panels – technology which is continually being enhanced. It has been proven that this technology allows temperatures to be effectively controlled and noise to be significantly reduced, and thus teachers and learners are able to function in a comfortable learning environment.

and block making company, Hydraform has been chosen to provide materials for the first phase of a hospital Jean-Baptiste in the Agneby-Tiassale region of Côte d’Ivoire. The hospital was inaugurated in April 2015 by the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and it represents the starting point for a wider initiative jointly funded by the Ordre de Malte and Société d’étude et de Développement de la culture Bananière (SCB). The initiative aims to give back to the local community in terms of job creation in the process of facilitating the provision

Alsina participates in construction of railway project in Morocco

of healthcare. As such, the

Coffrages Alsina, Alsina’s subsidiary in Morocco, began last year

ABB to complete automation of 800MW unit in Kusile power station

their collaboration in the works on the Casa Kenitra Railway project in Morocco, in charge of the customer Constrafrica. The project, located in the town of Mohammedia (Morocco) involves the construction of an arcaded bridge (the PK25 Bridge) for the railway, which includes four bridge spans: the two ends for the passage of pedestrians and the two central bays for the circulation of vehicles. For its construction, Alsina has provided its Alisply Walls formwork system, a modular formwork system designed to be handled by cranes. Alisply is equipped with a reinforced galvanized steel frame and a phenolic plywood lining. The union of the panels is performed with a quick manual clamp, which allows binding and aligning the panels without needing any accessory. On the other hand, Alsina has also supplied its range of multi-system solutions to safely provide access to the work area. Coffrages Alsina, Alsina Group’s subsidiary in Morocco has been operating in the country since 2007 and has its own facilities and highly qualified technical and human resources to collaborate on a wide range of projects, such as the construction of the Casablanca Great Theater and the Tetuan Martil Dam, among others. 8




came in handy for this project.

Global leader in power and automation technologies, ABB is set to complete automation for the first 800 MW generating unit at Eskom’s Kusile power station, a State-owned enterprise in Mpumalanga. ABB Power Generation MD Kevin Kosisko, said Eskom and ABB teams are working hand in hand with very strict monitoring on each element of the project to ensure quality and that deadlines are adhered to. He added that the project is fundamental and timing is a key deliverable in the initiative. ABB’s successful completion of the factory acceptance tests of the balance-of-plant and Unit 1 was greatly welcome.

March 2016


Earth Shield launches new Waterstop Profiles

RIEGL announces major update on Terrestrial Laser Scanning Software Suite

Earth Shield Waterstop is proud

a number of key upgrades featuring the new RIEGL Point Cloud

The latest terrestrial laser scanning software suite update includes

to announce three new waterstop profiles



for environmental engineered concrete structures, such as waste and water treatment plants. All three profiles are ⅜” thick and have many interlocking ribs to grab into freshly poured concrete.




Database (RDB 2.0), which provides new and advanced point cloud capabilities. With this upgrade, it is now possible to visualize and manage massive files, hundreds of scans and billions of points simultaneously with a new level of detail approach. These new features enable massive point clouds to be visualized with the added advantage of providing the user with the ability to instantly toggle between a number of different 3D point attribute view-types. These key features of the software provide an impressive level of data visualization capabilities. “We’re thrilled to introduce this level of computing performance, visualization capability and data storage

new profiles include: NSF 61

in a single platform. With improvements to many aspects of our

Certified for drinking water,

software; data compression, extended point attributes, level of detail,

Chemical resistant TPV polymer

and a few key innovations which will be revealed in future updates,


our point cloud technology has taken a tremendous leap forward.”,



to 500 PPHM,

UV resistant,




Waterstop plays a critical role

Ananda Fowler, Manager of TLS Software Development, announces. Filtering has also received a major upgrade with the support for all point attributes along the point cloud processing chain.

in the integrity of concrete structures. It provides a fluidtight diaphragm when embedded in,




concrete joints. Earth Shield Thermoplastic


Waterstop (TPE / TPER / TPV), by JP Specialties greatly expands the




waterstop by offering unmatched

Volvo unveil its new A60H hauler



Volvo Construction Equipment sets to unveil several new flagship

broad spectrum of aggressive

products – including the largest machines the company has ever

chemicals, solvents, and hot

made at the Bauma 2016 exhibition in Munich. The company will

petroleum oils. Manufactured

be launching its giant 60 tonne class articulated hauler – the largest

NSF Certified, EPA-compliant

ever made by Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE). The new

(RCRA, SPCC, CFR 265.193,

A60H will undoubtedly be a star of the show and the only Big News

CFR 112) waterstop profiles are

to be found on Volvo’s dual stands at Munich in April. Besides the

available for new construction

A60H, the company will as well introduce several other new products

and retrofit, as well as the

including wheel loaders, compactors, excavators, pavers, and haulers.

necessary tools and accessories

Nonetheless, there will also be an entirely new approach to customer

for proper installation.

services, aimed at boosting uptime, fuel efficiency – and productivity.



The company continues to develop productive and innovative machines that help customers thrive in today’s ultra-competitive

B4 Consulting introduces a new mobile application for building industry US based firm B4 an industry solutions consulting firm has announced the availability of its Mobility for Construction app. The new mobile app is designed for general contractors and selfperform and specialty trade firms with an aim to facilitate easy tracking, monitoring, reporting and recording worker and equipment utilization in real time. The application is compatible to both iOS and android and can be deployed on multiple platforms including SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP Mobile Platform. In addition, the app can connect to any data source or application and it features signature capabilities, embedded weather tracking and geospatial functionality. Klaus Schottenhamel, President and CEO of B4 Consulting, said they work with many of the leading engineering and construction companies in North America and get a first-hand look into what this industry really needs from a mobile app. He added that workers need an app that provides timely and fashionable information on where a project stands against budget. And B4 Consulting is delivering that information in an easy-todeploy, user- friendly mobile app that enables companies to monitor, track and record people and equipment anytime and anywhere.

business as well as meeting the needs of customers requiring maximum productivity. The EWR150E short radius wheeled excavator, EW60E wheeled excavator, ECR35D, EC35D and ECR40D compact excavators will also appear on display not forgetting the single drum rollers (SD75B, SD115B and SD135B), double drum (DD25B), the new D-Series paver and the L50H appearing on the updated display. March 2016



Power and Electricity World Africa 2016

Solar and Off Grid Renewables West Africa 2016 Conference Date: 19-20 April 2016

All roads leads to Nairobi for Project East Africa Summit

Power and Electricity World Africa 2016 in South Africa is the leading industry event in Africa. You cannot afford to miss this. As the countdown ticks- 2016 promises to be the best one yet. A world of innovation is packed into one show, which you can attend for FREE! Here are just a few reasons why you should attend the expo in March. All the latest and greatest in power and electricity. There’s no better way to discover power and electricity solutions that are right for your company. Find everything you’re looking for we have confirmed hundreds of the best solution providers in energy- you can network with them for free. You will be the first to find out about the next big thing Head to the expo to discover brand new product launches and cool new products such as Power Link launching 2 new products.

Venue: La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana

The demand for places at the

Project East Africa Summit

continues with more than 120 companies

with the host of projects and

industry to explore the huge on and off-grid market opportunities

commercial opportunities that

in West Africa and beyond. With over 50 international speakers,

Kenya and the wider region

this two day conference will provide fantastic opportunities for in-

has to offer. Project East Africa

depth discussions and networking. Delegates will discover strategic

is hosted by the Ministry of

business opportunities in the region, network with international and


local key industry players including financiers, project developers,

and co-hosted by the East

government, end users and manufacturers, hear policy and regulation

Africa Chamber of Commerce,

updates from government officials, attend interactive sessions and


learn from innovative case studies. Book using the promotional code


CR20 for a 20% discount on ticket, exclusive to Construction Review

Intercontinental Hotel on the


16 – 17 February 2016. The





Agriculture at


engage with international and local







available throughout the region. Project East Africa is a two-day conference. - Tanzania Institute of Quantity Surveyors

- Architectural Association of Kenya

- Institute of Botswana Quantity Surveyors

- Construction Regulation Board (CRB)

- Institute of Engineers of Kenya


- Association of Consulting Engineers of - Kenya

- Construction Contractors Association of Ethiopia

- Kenya Property developers Association - Institution of Surveyors of Kenya

- Concrete Manufacturers Association

and Quantity Surveyors (AQSRB)


- Zimbabwe Institute of Quantity Surveyors

- Association of Consulting Engineers Nigeria

- Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers

- Association of Professional Women

- The Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (Cifoz)


- Khuthaza ( Women for Housing)

- Tanzania’s Registration Board of Architects


Africa APSEA)

Surveying Profession


for leading decision makers to


- South African Council for the Quantity

Ghana - Ghana Institute of Engineers - Architects Registration Council

Engineers Of Nigeria - Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria - The Nigerian Institute of Architects - American Association of Petroleum Geologists Africa Region

- Ghana Institute of Surveyors

- Nigeria Society of Engineers

- Ghana Green Builders Association

- Nigeria Institute of Architects

- Master Builders South Africa

- Ghana Institute of Planners

- Building and Construction Skilled Artisans


- Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana

Association of Nigeria (BACSAAN)

- Green Building council of SA - South African Property Owners Association

Institute of Surveyors of Uganda

Ethiopia - Association of Ethiopian Architects - Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers


Summit will provide a platform


South Africa - ASAQS


countries now booked to engage

- Association of Professional Societies of East

Association Partners


bring together key regional and international players from the solar

- Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya



Solar and Off Grid Renewables West Africa 2016 Conference will

Namibia Institute of Namibian Quantity Surveyors Association of Consulting Engineers of Namibia


Zambia - Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA) - Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (ABCEC). March 2016

March 2016



Consulting engineers need to embrace cloud technology

B Simon Berry, director, Fresh Projects

In their plight to be more fairly remunerated many engineers move into other sectors or immigrate to get better salaries and growth opportunities. 12

asic business principles and cloud technology platforms need to be considered if the consulting engineering sector wants to stay afloat. In amongst a myriad of issues, the industry suffers significantly due to a chasm between the actual costs of a project versus the fees derived from scales that are quoted to win business. Simon Berry, director, Fresh Projects, an online business management platform, says that it is critical that consulting engineers rely less on what is now a defunct fee-scale structure and rather find a new technology driven way to calculate appropriate fees. “There are too many consulting engineers who resort to offering heavily discounted project fees against the fee-scale structure, without knowing the actual cost of the project. This effectively reduces profitability to unrealistic lows and makes for an uneven playing field. It is also dangerous as businesses make losses they are not necessarily aware of when quoting,” says Berry. This approach has such significant knockon effects and does not bode well for the future of the industry in terms of general business growth, overall profitability and skills development. Understanding that there are time constraints when quoting and pressures to win business, Fresh Projects has developed a cloud-based business management solution that is tailor made for the South African built environment professionals. Berry says that it ensures the financial sustainability of businesses and assists in understanding the real costs of a project: “Using the system will immediately enable the business to control their profitability and will enable the engineer to have an accurate benchmark with which to work for future projects.” Getting the costs right, according to Berry, is critical as the current trend of massive discounting will continue the downward

spiral and result in massive damage to the industry and economy overall. He says that work supply could already be at a dangerous low based on the near completion of projects that started post the 2008 recession: “We find it useful to use the civil engineering sector as a business barometer as they tend to lead the rest of the industry. Most projects first start with civil’s enablement work such as roads, water and sewerage. This is then followed by other services such as structural, electrical, mechanical and architectural.” A significant drop seen in the civil sector, coupled with the fee-scale discounting issues will adversely affect the market. “Not only will there be less work, but the fees earned, based on uninformed discounting, will make it near impossible to declare any reasonable profits. This will not only kill an industry, but it also sends the skills within the industry packing.” Berry says in a plight to be more fairly remunerated many engineers move into other sectors or immigrate to get better salaries and growth opportunities: “This adds to an already acute skills shortage within the engineering sector in South Africa.” Adding to the uncertainty, he says that the competition commission has been investigating the fee-scale practice for the past five years, which was banned in the United Kingdom over 20 years ago: “It is becoming more important that professionals rely less on fee-scales and work out their fees from basic business principles using an online system that makes the process not only seamless, but easy, quick and accurate.” March 2016


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Turning to off-grid solar power supply


lmost half of the people in the world without access to electricity live in Africa and the vast number of them live in the rural areas where access to on-grid power supply has been slow in coming owing to the colossal investments needed to put up transmission lines though even if this were done the energy deficiency currently facing the continent would still make this a fruitless undertaking. This offers a unique opportunity for off-grid solar units to be availed in these remote areas enabling communities to benefit from the many advantages of having access to electricity bearing in mind that Africa is a continent blessed with vast quantities of sunlight throughout the year, Benefits Whether it is a simple solar lantern, a small household system or a larger system able to power a hospital’s needs the changes in the lives of the people are nothing less than revolutionary. Take for instance the availability of solar lighting. This alone helps communities to cutdown on the 16

use of kerosene or candles that are far costlier than what higher income communities in urban settings spend on the same utility yet those using the lanterns have far less income hence immediately there are cost benefits to be realized. In addition the use of solar lighting increases the productive hours available allowing income generating activities to continue for longer hours while also enabling students to read for longer hours as well. Providing refrigeration for medicines and for powering healthcare equipment are just some of the health benefits derived by providing electrical power along with eliminating the emissions from candles and kerosene that contribute to carbon emissions into the atmosphere. In addition to all this, the beauty of solar is its scalability that allows customers to upgrade with time from solar lanterns to large systems that can power more home appliances. However as one scales up to larger systems it is essential that one gets proper maintenance service locally. March 2016

Setting up policy frameworks is key in order to remove uncertainly and ambiguity in the sector

Revolution Several governments in Africa have come to realize the advantages that tapping solar energy has in enabling them to meet their development goals targeted at the eradication of poverty. As solar PV product costs fall and technologies are developed that offer greater efficiencies solar could turn out to be the revolution in energy supply in Africa in a similar way that the mobile phone is for communication. They both offer significant savings by helping Africa leap frog forward without having to rely on first constructing costly infrastructure consisting of power lines and power generating stations. Getting Policy right Setting up policy frameworks is key in order to remove uncertainly and ambiguity in the sector. Creating consumer awareness is also imperative as is the need to ensure proper regulation in order to avoid dumping of sub-standard products into the markets that would harm consumer trust. As in all businesses there is also the need to develop the provision of financing of the sector right through the value

chain so as to spur growth and uptake. Tax incentives and removal of barriers to the importation of solar products should also be considered while providing training in order to develop skilled manpower in the sector. One country that has made great strides in the development of solar energy is South Africa which before 2010 had no significant solar installations but due to a more proactive institutional stance, the country now aims to produce 9,600MW of solar power by 2030.Currently about 1GW of solar power is fed into the national grid making it one of the top 10 global solar power producers. In 2014 alone the country brought online the 22MW Herbert1 project the 50MW De Aaar Project and the 44MW Touwsrivierproject and the 96MW Jasper Solar power plant. The key to South Africa’s success was the government’s commitment which saw the formation of the Independent Power Producers (IPP) office and a related programme that ensured that Eskom the local energy utility purchased the energy produced by the IPP’s supported by government guarantees. This system needs to be emulated across

March 2016



Most solar units convert about 23 percent of sunlight to electricity. This is low and offers more scope for technological development

Africa so that this private public partnership can help accelerate the development of solar power plants across the continent. Pricing The cost of solar installations has seen a steady decline in the last 10 years due in part to the reduction of the cost of solar modules however government tax incentives have also played a major role spurred by commitments made by countries at the UN climate accord in Paris last year in which agreements were made to cut carbon dioxide and other green house gas emissions that are associated with fossil fuels such as oil and coal. In Africa the use of solar power has become necessary because it is quicker and less costly to setup in remote areas where no grid lines exist and offers the added advantage of being scalable. The dramatic fall in the cost of PV has occurred as the industry has scaled up manufacturing and incrementally improved the technology with new materials. Installation costs have come down too with more experienced and trained

Edge Isolation Equipment for the manufacturing of PERC solar cells.


installers entering the market. Financing During the Powering Africa Summit in Washington DC last year, the World Bank launched the Scaling Solar programmewhich aims to create a viable market for private solar power projects in Africa that will help governments increase the supply of energy for millions of residential and commercial consumers across the continent. Under the programme, large-scale photovoltaic solar power can be quickly and economically developed to increase the supply of electricity to national grids and improve the reliability of power services for households and businesses. Scaling Solar provides a straightforward package to help countries determine the size and location of projects, then auction them competitively to developers. The initiative combines World Bank guarantees, MIGA’s investment guarantees, and IFC financing to mobilize privately funded solar projects that are connected to the grid. A simplified process and suite of contract templates significantly speeds this process to enable initial electricity production to begin within two years of initiating an engagement. On the more micro scale one solar company in East Africa is providing solar to many rural households at 35 dollars upfront and a further 50 cents per day for one year. Recently the company closed a $19 million financing round led by Generation Investment Management, and revealed plans to reach one million homes in East Africa by the end of 2017. It already reaches 275,000 homes. Yet, M-Kopa’s key innovation is using the mobile phone to show how solar energy can be marketed at scale in Africa. According to Gilles Cattin,Director Sales Management March 2016

Providing training in order to develop skilled manpower in the sector is necessary

IFS of Business Unit PV SCHMID Group, it is important to secure PPAs (Power Purchase Agreement) from local states or investors in solar farms. Gilles added that one needs to have reliable installers who will provide maintenance and after sales services. SCHMID Group BU PV is an Equipment Manufacturing Company which provides turn-key production lines from wafer to module. They are undertaking a turn-key line of 500 MW capacity in South Africa. Product innovations Most solar units convert about 23 percent of sunlight to electricity. This is low and offers more scope for technological development in order to increase efficiency and storage. MrRuan van Rooyen of Lumax a South African company that is wa primary distributor of Renusol solar mounting systems in Southern Africa concedes that solar power is an effective, sustainable energy solution that addresses a market currently nearly untapped in Africa. However he points out that there are challenges in logistics and post installation security of the installed assets In the storage department on the other hand, most batteries are made from either crystalline silicon or thin-film semiconductor material. Silicon cells are more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity, but generally have higher manufacturing costs. Thinfilm materials typically have lower efficiencies, but can be simpler and less costly to manufacture. At the high end are called multi-

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junction or tandem cells which are used in applications requiring very low weight and very high efficiencies, such as satellites and military applications. Ultimately what urban users want is to get off the grid completely but this won’t happen soon but what is apparent is that solar energy consumers are still on the grid but use it for backup. In the future however judging by current trends technological advances will continue to offer ever more attractive products to consumers making the dream more of a reality. March 2016



Reducing power losses


n Africa two thirds for the population lacks access to electricity yet it is a key to sustainable development. Many African countries today are grappling with the need to first increase the generation of affordable electricity and then to distribute it to communities in order to meet development targets. Johan Muller, Program Manager for Energy & Environment at Frost & Sullivan says. "The African economic environment has seen a steady increase in the financial investment it has attracted over the past decade. Discoveries of massive gas reserves on the Eastern Coast and renewable energy potential, new business models, innovative technologies, a change in the energy mix of countries, and a surge in energy needs due to urbanisation are just some of the key driving forces impacting the energy space." 20

Trends During the 'Transmission & Distribution' track that took place at (Africa Utility Week)AUW, it was noted that aging and insufficient transmission and distribution networks severely impede the unlocking of Africa's economic potential. Service delivery pressure is increasingly placed on cities due to urbanisation trends which are largely driven by higher access to power rates than what is found in rural areas, which in certain countries are as low as 2 percent. In sub-Saharan Africa, power transmission and distribution losses are averaging 18 percent, excluding South Africa which is witnessing losses below 10 percent, a figure on par with the world average. Certain countries in West and Central Africa are witnessing losses of more than 25 percent. March 2016

While it is true that Africa has far less power generation than any other continent but even ambitious scenarios for expanding Africa’s power supply will leave 530 million people without electricity in 2040, and 653 million without modern cooking services according to a report. This is because Africa’s current power system does not deliver energy to poor people instead half of current electricity consumption in Africa is used for industrial activities. While industrial growth can reduce poverty, in sub-Saharan Africa extractives-led industrial growth has a poor track record of doing so. An interesting observation is that even in parts of Africa ‘electrified’ by the grid, poor households cannot affordconnection charges and remain without electricity for years, even decades. As the construction of power grids to distribute electricity kicks into top gear and demand for distribution transformers is expected to increase in tandem it is imperative therefore to select the most energy efficient types in order to reduce distribution costs and the overall costs to the consumer. Transformer losses Research shows that power distributors often do not pay enough attention to the efficiency and life cycle costs of distribution transformers. The neglect of this issue can lead to several problems, therefore, it is important to solve them to avoid future increase in electrical loads. Transformers have two major components that drive losses: the core and the coils. The typical core is an assembly of laminated steel. Core losses are mostly related to magnetizing or energizing the core. These losses, also known as noload losses, are present the entire time the transformer is powered on, regardless of whether there is any load or not. Core losses are roughly constant from no-load to full-load when feeding linear loads. They represent a continuous cost, 24/7, for the 25- to 40-year life of the transformer. A common 75kVA commercial transformer has about 400W in no-load losses. At say US$.10/kWh, this represents a continuous cost of $350/yr or $14,000 over a 40-year life, eclipsing the purchase cost many times over. And remember, this is just the cost for powering the unit. The cost of powering the load itself far exceeds this cost. Since a wide variety of transformers serve different purposes, actual losses incurred in the field will vary substantially from one installation to another. Load level varies widely, with some installations running very heavily loaded and others more lightly loaded. This difference substantially affects actual losses incurred. Not surprisingly despite considerable improvement since the turn of the 20th century, Africa has the highest levels March 2016


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of electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) losses in the world. T&D losses represent electricity that is generated but does

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not reach intended customers. Electricity losses are the result of technical inefficiency and theft. Technical losses occur because of the resistance of wires and equipment as electricity passes through. Some loss is inevitable, but in places with good technical efficiency and low theft, T&D losses generally range between 6% and 8%. Losses resulting from theft, mostly occurs when consumed electricity is not accounted for. Africa has no mandatory standard on energy efficiency for the distribution transformers which could foster the realisation of these cost saving potentials. Compared to saving potentials in other areas,


the electricity saving potentials of distribution transformers in power industry and commerce seem to be small. Nevertheless, every contribution to climate change mitigation and energy security is necessary, particularly if it is economical. Distribution transformers play a key role in an electrical system’s efficiency and power quality, yet 95% of buying decisions are based



solely on first cost. Buying based on life cycle cost would save

rates and avoid high transformer losses by investing in energy-

literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating losses over the installed life for transformers. It is therefore possible to lower energy efficient transformers. March 2016


Thinking of a kitchen makeover? Here are some tips


here’s a reason the kitchen is called the heart of the home because it is where you and your family gather to cook, eat, socialize and sometimes just to catch up over a quick snack or a cup of coffee. Currently in many homes, the kitchen has evolved into an all-purpose room which has a set of items, including a dining table, computer desk, entertainment area or even a fireplace. Today’s kitchens are practical, welcoming, and entertaining. They feature classy, attractive and innovative components. They also look more like the other rooms in the house, complete with furniture-like cabinets, wood flooring, and artwork. The perfect recipe for a beautiful kitchen calls for a lot of thought to both the components and the activities that take place in the room, from cooking and cleanup to snacking and socializing.

As kitchens have become the functional and social hubs for many families, it has been necessary to bring it into the 21st century in line with the rest of the house.The kitchen is one of the outstanding rooms that makeover makes sense. Older kitchens often lack the space and storage that the modern kitchen requires, not to mention the amenities that many new homeowners take for granted. Below are some tips that might be of help while choosing or renovating your kitchen. Size of the kitchen Homes built in the seventies had small kitchens perhaps because the kitchen was not seen as an integral part of a home’s comforts. Reworking a small kitchen space can be challenging and short of breaking down some walls

March 2016



only so much can be done. Clever storage, lighting and palette will play anessential role in making a small kitchen feel larger. If you have more room to play within your kitchen, add some elegant features such as kitchen islands and peninsula units, butcher’s blocks, glazed wall units, larder units or kitchen dressers. However, you should think carefully about the design choices you make in your kitchen, from worktop materials to cabinet handles, all the details will add up to your dream kitchen scheme. Design theme Who said all designs have to be original? The best kitchen ideas come from beautiful pictures of other people's homes spiced with your own preference and style. The choices are endless ranging from classic country, practical chic and sleek contemporary, retro, rustic, shaker-style


and everything in between. The design of your kitchen may be classic or contemporary, casual or formal, hightech or homey whatever reflects your style, preference or taste. Because the cabinets, countertops, and appliances comprise the major components in a kitchen space, you’ll want to decide what your overall style will be before choosing them. If you’re worried about combining looks with practicality, many designs strive to blend traditional looks with modern conveniences. A generously proportioned kitchen with classic materials and up-to-date amenities proves to be both stylish and practical. Layout If you are putting up a new house, deciding on a layout for a kitchen is probably the most important and crucial part of kitchen design. It is the layout and not the color or style that decides how easy it is for you to cook, eat and socialize in the kitchen. At the most basic level, the layout addresses the placement of the appliances like the cabinets, counters, windows and doors and furniture and alsothe three main kitchen stations (oven, sink, and refrigerator), also known as the kitchen triangle. The most common kitchen layouts include the onewall kitchen, the galley kitchen, the U-shaped kitchen, the G-shaped kitchen, and the L-shaped kitchen or island kitchens. Galleys can be one wall or two wall galleys. Each shape has distinctivepros and cons involving cooking convenience, foot traffic, and storage space. When it comes to remodeling, unless you're undertaking a major kitchen remodel, you are probably locked into your kitchen shape. Even if you're thinking about a major renovation, the kitchen spaces tend to point toward a March 2016

limited number of options. Square kitchens spaces lend themselves to U-shaped and L-shaped kitchens while longer, narrower spaces usually mean galley on the other hand, large kitchens lead to island kitchens. Color Color sets the mood of your kitchen, before selecting it you should first find the right balance between daring and classic. Choosing the right paint color will definitely enhance the cabinetry, tile and flooring, as well as create ambiance in your kitchen. While deciding on an overall color palette, you can test by laying out samples of all the permanent finishes to be used in the kitchen which generally include cabinet stain, countertop and backsplash surfaces and flooring tiles. On top of this pile, add the paint chips and carry out this step in the kitchen to see how all the selections will coordinate together, remember to consider the colors of rooms adjacent to the kitchen as well as to make sure that the new kitchen color will flow naturally from one to the next.

cabinets that can hold several plates which should be located near the dishwasher, and large cabinets with slideout drawers which should be placed near the oven. The fewer unnecessary steps needed to complete a task, the smoother the function of your kitchen will be. Waist-high sliding shelves that hold mixers and toasters can quickly get small appliances out of sight, but keep them easily at hand. Built-in storage for foods like potatoes and onions, and bread storage cabinets will also give the kitchen a cleaner and attractive look. There are so many different kitchen types and options that you are sure to find one that suits your needs and tastes. Whether modern or traditional, the secret is to research well on the professionals who are best known for their good work in that industry.

Appliances and Storage Energy efficiency is a major factor to bear in mind when purchasing home appliances, but the energy efficiency of similar appliances can vary significantly. It is usually more cost-effective to purchase household appliances with high efficiencies. For example built-in ovens, microwaves, refrigerators and storage for small appliances will make your kitchen appear neat and less congested. For the purposes of storage, squeeze as many cabinets into your design as possible. Think about the placement of cabinets in relation to appliances also think of deep March 2016



Design Competence from Austria Blum fittings for handle-less dream living spaces


he slogan “less is more” hits the nail right on the head when it comes to design trends. Minimalist straight-cut design, focusing on what is essential, and the art of clear-cut lines often determine the design of living spaces – especially in kitchens – with “handle-less” being the keyword here. Austrian fittings specialist Blum meets this minimalist design trend by combining both form and function, always striving for perfecting motion. Living spaces today – from kitchens to bathrooms – are difficult to imagine without handle-less furniture. This is hardly surprising as handle-less furniture gives a distinctly calm and uniform look to the overall front design. Characteristics such as large, very wide fronts, clear-cut design, and refined front spacing are particularly appealing in handle-less kitchens. Moreover, there are no “disturbing” disruptions caused by handles, which adds to the modern, homely touch. All of this gives ample scope for a completely new way of home furnishing. Long-established Austrian company Blum embraces current trends such as “handle-less” furniture and develops suitable fittings solutions that manage to impress both purists and those seeking something special. These solutions help in the implementation of exceptional design ideas inside furniture. Furniture has a functional side, too. This becomes particularly evident with regard to furniture usage, which is all about solutions supporting ergonomic workflows, offering plenty of storage space and easy handling. Electric or mechanical? Blum uses innovative motion technologies that make furniture not only more practical but also offer a variety of new design possibilities, especially for “handles-less” furniture. SERVO-DRIVE – Blum’s electric motion support system – is the perfect example that makes 26

opening actions mesmerisingly simple. At a single touch pull-outs open by themselves and close again softly and effortlessly with BLUMOTION. This electric support is also suitable for lift systems in wall cabinets as it opens large and wide fronts with ease as well. Lift systems can be closed conveniently by pressing a switch. Blum – for all living spaces Every living space imposes different requirements on the form and function of furniture. Blum’s extensive programme offers many different solutions – whether for kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, hallways or presentation of goods in shops. The desire for elegant design extends to drawers and pull-outs as well. The trend for a greater scope of design plays a vital role “inside” kitchens. To this end, Blum has developed sleek and elegant box systems that fit harmoniously into the furniture. Optionally, the box systems can also be customized to match a living space while compatible inner dividing systems ensure perfect organization. About Julius Blum GmbH Julius Blum GmbH is a family-owned company that operates worldwide, specializing in the manufacture and distribution of furniture fittings. Its main product groups are lift, hinge and pull-out systems for furniture, predominantly in kitchens. The company has seven plants in Vorarlberg, Austria, production sites in Poland, Brazil and the USA and 27 subsidiaries and representative offices around the world. The company delivers to furniture manufacturers and authorized dealers in more than 120 countries. Blum products are available throughout Africa from several distributors. For more information, please go to March 2016

TIP-ON BLUMOTION Two functions in one fitting

Bringing supreme user convenience to handle-less furniture – TIP-ON BLUMOTION, the mechanical motion technology that requires a front gap of just 2.5 mm and offers a multitude of design possibilities in combination with LEGRABOX.

Start film

Apex Steel remains ahead due to Innovation and Leadership Market Apex Steel are the pioneers in the manufacture of deformed bars, BS: 4449, in Kenya. Through innovation and leadership, this company has transformed the construction and fabrication domain in Kenya. Traditionally, twisted bars were used in building construction projects. For the past three decades, twisted bars have been banned the world over due to their inconsistent quality. The new generation steel, called ‘deformed bars’, also known as ‘ribbed bars’ or ‘rebars,’ became the new global standard. In 2007, Apex Steel revolutionized the way steel is made in East Africa, and became the first local company to manufacture steel to international standards. Apex Steel makes Grade 500+ Deformed Bars - BS: 4449 at its technologically advanced manufacturing unit at Athi River. Every metre of the deformed bars bears the trademark, ‘APEX TMX’ that’s how customers know they are getting the genuine best steel.


Achievements Apex TMX - Kenya’s most trusted steel, is used in iconic projects. The prestigious Thika Superhighway was built entirely using Apex Steel. A few of the other major projects where Apex TMX steel has been used are Delta Towers, Hotel Sankara, Westgate Mall, Hotel Villa Rosa Kempinski, Standard Chartered Bank, CFC Bank, Purshottam Place, 9 West, One West and KAM Headquarters. Others include 14 Riverside, Hotel Radisson, Riverside Park, Mombasa Port Expansion, English Point Marina, Tana River Hydro Plant, Southern Bypass, Northern Bypass, Sondu-Miriu Dam, Kwale Base Titanium and Tsavo Transmission Lines. Across the border in Uganda, the bridge over the River Nile, the bypass expansion in Kampala, was made using Apex Steel.

March 2016


Planning Interiors Limited The Journey The recognition of Planning Interiors Limited’s works at the Africa and Arabia International Property Awards Summit was an indication that the world had noticed the Kenyan interior design company.


It is common for visitors to walk into foyers of leading companies, hotels and retail outlets and marvel over breathtaking works of interior design. From the reception areas of companies like Deloitte East Africa, General Electric, Hashi Energy and Coca Cola, to waiting lobbies of prestige sections of banks such as National Bank of Kenya, Barclay Bank, I&M Bank, GTBank and KCB to foyers of hotels like dusitD2 Hotel and Tamarind Tree, the tagline is interior designs that leave many in awe. And lately, anyone walking into Kenya Airway’s lounges at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will notice a spectacular fresh look. Unknown to many people, these interior designs and many more have one thing in common – they are the creation of Planning Interiors Limited (PIL), arguably the leading professional interior design consultancy in East Africa. “We are the leading interior design firm in the region because of our track record and reputation,” says Eugene Ngugi, Managing Director. He adds that the firm commands a rich portfolio of clients due to its ability to create world-class brand-led interiors that enhance clients’ business profiles. That PILis the home of exquisite designs is in no doubt. Though operating in an industry that is largely unregulated and where anybody can venture, the firm has

built a reputation of seeking to understand customer needs and addressing them with elegant interior proposals that project the image and aspirations of the client. Indeed, in most of its projects, the firm aims to blend the client’s core business and corporate themes with the environment and industry they operate in to come up with unique designs. History Fulfilling and even surpassing clients’ expectations has always been PIL’s philosophy since its establishment in 1993. The firm started as a subsidiary of Planning Systems Services, one of the top architectural practices

Eugene Ngugi, Managing Director, PIL

March 2016



in Kenya. Ngugi, who joined Planning Systems Services in 1992 as a senior interior designer, was instrumental in establishing the subsidiary. In 1995 he assumed leadership as managing director and for eight years transformed PIL to a leading practice within Planning Systems Services. In 2003, an opportunity that Ngugi together with a colleague, Fatema Essajee -Keshavjee who was a senior interior designer at Planning Systems, could not resist to grab presented itself. The senior partners at Planning Systems Services decided to hive off the interior division, prompting Ngugi and Fatema to enter into a management buyout deal that saw them acquire Planning Interiors, thus resulting in the firm becoming an independent practice. Fatema is the firm’s Design Director. Although having been part of Planning Systems services meant that PIL was not new in the market after the buyout, becoming an independent entity came with new realties. While previously the two directors only concentrated on design work, they were now faced with a situation where they were running a business. Consequently, the scope of their roles expanded beyond creating designs to looking for clients, handling accounts, human resources and the whole spectrum of running a business. “In terms of design, nothing changed but everything else was new to us,” explains Ngugi. He adds the whole situation equated to the culture shock that often hit people when 30

they move out from their parents’ homes to start life independently. “The good thing is that we knew the interior design market well,” states Ngugi who holds a degree in Design from the University of Nairobi and OMP Business Leadership Programme fromStrathmore Business School. Cutting Edge Strategy Driven by a vision to bring out the best of Kenyan interior design to the world, PIL has since managed to stand on its own and is today a force to reckon with in the interior design industry. The firm has adopted a brand-led strategy in which it has segmented its target market into three areas namely corporate, retail and hospitality. In corporate projects, PIL seeks to address the aspirations of companies driven by the mantra that good design is good for business. The company goes out of its way to researcha client’s brand and designs an office environment that reflects the dynamics and values of thatclient. In the retail segment, the firm believes that the customer experience – be it shopping or banking – is the most important aspect of retail interior design. It thereforedesigns spaces so that the finished product will be a creative expression of the client’s brand through improved customer experience achieved through a well thought-out layout. In the hospitality sector, PIL aims to create African inspired destinations. The firm prides itself in understanding the true meaning of March 2016

ambience, and creates designs that meet international standards but with a local flair. The focus on clients and attention to detail is what has made PIL become the leading interior design practice in the country despite rising competition. Although Ngugi contends the design market is huge enough and that there is space for everyone, the unregulated nature of the interior design industry has given rise to price wars among firms desperately seeking to remain afloat. “There is a lot of undercutting in this industry,” he observes, adding that PIL has been forced to slash its fees by at least 20 per cent as a result of this malpractice. Despite the challenge, PIL maintains a pricing mechanism that is above its competitors but still attracts many clients because of the value it offers. Today, the firm has in its portfolio the who-is-who in the country’s business circles. The rich client base is a strong selling point because majority of corporate clients want to work with firms with the capacity to deliver projects on time, on budget and to their expectations. “Versatility and strong relationships have helped us to grow our client base,” notes Ngugi, adding that clients also want a firm with a track record and that practices honesty and integrity. In 2011, PIL was ranked number 35 in the Kenya Top 100 Middle sized companies survey. The survey, an initiative of KPMG Kenya and Nation Media Group, seeks to identify Kenya’s fastest growing medium sized companies in order to showcase business excellence and highlight some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurship stories. While all the projects that PIL has undertaken have met client’s expectations, some of the projects have left a lasting impression on the firm. Among them are the dusitD2 Hotel, Catalyst Principle Partners and the Kenya Airways lounges projects. The Kenya Airways project saw PIL win the African Property Award for Best Public Service Interior for remodelling the lounges at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The firm beat hundreds of other competitors from 25 African and Arab countries toclinch the fivestar honour at the Awards. “The award is an affirmation that we are doing something right and the world is noticing,”says Ngugi, who gets great inspiration to develop exquisite designs from travelling widely across the globe. “I travel and see what is happening outside Kenya and this has contributed to widened exposure on expounded design experiential,” he notes. Among the countries from where he has drawn inspiration include United Kingdom, France, Belgium, South Korea, Hong Kong, UAE, Australia, United States, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Turkey, Mozambique and South Africa. According to Ngugi, PIL, which consists of a team of 26 staff, 14 of whom are professional architects and designers, is determined to maintain its growth trajectory. “In the short term we want to continue growing,” he states. He adds that in the medium and long term,PIL’s ambition is to establish a design school to empower upcoming designers. It also intends to open a design shop to showcase local designs and engage in corporate social responsibility as a way of giving back to the society. March 2016








Building Services Group

P.O. Box 54529 Nairobi 00200 Kenya Tel: +254 20 2694795 Email:







We congratulate Planning Interiors Limited for this Recognition 32

Home of the No.1 Brand in Quality Window Treatments in East Africa +254 (020) 257 3235 30 School Lane, Nairobi, Kenya



March 2016

March 2016



Harold R. Fenwick & Associates Behind one of Kenya’s Leading Quantity Surveying Practices



ith With more than 40 years in the trade, Harold R. Fenwick & Associates is one of the most established quantity surveying firms

the practice and rapidly rose to Associate status in 1978.

in Kenya. The Nairobi-based practice was founded by

Mr Hajee to take over the firm as Principal, a position he

Mr Harold R. Fenwick in 1972. Mr Fenwick had been a

maintains to this day.

Two years later, Mr Hajee was named Partner. In 1988, Mr Fenwick retired from active duty, paving the way for

quantity surveyor with the then Ministry of Works where

Since those days, Harold R. Fenwick has grown

he had risen to the position of Acting Chief Quantity

steadily as a practice and now employs 17 persons

Surveyor and it was upon his retirement that he set up

besides the Principal. They include two Senior Quantity

the consultancy. In 1975, Mr Bashir Hajee, a Building

Surveyors, seven Assistant Quantity Surveyors and eight

Economics graduate of the University of Nairobi, joined

Administration personnel. The firm has also significantly

March 2016

grown its portfolio and has over the years undertaken a wide range of projects including commercial buildings, hotels, industrial complexes, factories, warehouses, workshops, semi-industrial buildings, housing estates, multi-storey apartments, town halls, banks, markets, bus-parks, sports clubs, schools, private houses and others. Some of the major projects the firm has handled in recent years include Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, Sameer Business Park, United Nations Offices and English Point Marina. Among the ongoing projects are the Village Market Expansion, Pride Inn Paradise Hotel, Shanzu and Kwale Sugar Factory. The firm has also undertaken projects in Uganda and Zanzibar. Services Services provided include managing all costs relating to construction of a building project from the beginning to end. This entails pre-contract services which include preparing construction cost plans and estimates, preparing and pricing Bills of Quantities, carrying out value engineering, inviting tenders, analyzing tenders received and preparing tender reports and contract documents. Postcontract services include preparing cash flow forecasts for

the contracts, attending monthly site meetings/inspections, processing contractor’s applications for payment which includes verifying work done and materials on site, verifying remeasurements and revaluations submitted by the contractor. Others are assessing contractor’s claim for variations to the contract and reporting thereon, preparing regular Financial Appraisals advising on contractual issues and preparing the Final Account following completion of the contract and agreeing with the contractor. Mission Harold R. Fenwick & Associates strives to provide the best professional service to ensure that its clients get value for money. “Our objectives are to ensure that our clients get full benefit of competition in the construction market without compromising the quality of the final product and to give full satisfaction to our clients that their money was well spent”, says Mr Bashir Hajee. “We practice strict professional ethics. Our professional integrity is of paramount importance in serving our clients and ensuring that the projects are completed within the budget.”

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P.O. Box 38806-00623 Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254 722 524971

We are proud to be associated with Harold R. Fenwick & Associates March 2016



Industry Insights As one of the most experienced practicing professionals in the construction industry, Mr Hajee shared his perspectives on a number of issues affecting the industry. On the business climate in Kenya, he feels that Quantity Surveying has dramatically changed over the last few decades as more and more graduates are registered. “The handful of Practices that used to rule the roost for many years no longer do so. On the other hand, as the economy expands, there are more and more opportunities available and there is plenty of room for everyone to get a piece of the action which is how it should be.” On legislation governing the industry, Mr Hajee says: “We have been anxiously waiting for many years for an update of the Architects & Quantity Surveyors Act (Cap 525) which was enacted way back in the 1960s but became outdated years ago. This is now well overdue as currently we do not have a law which is relevant to the present circumstances and market conditions which have radically changed since then. He however lauds the Government for taking some initiatives to streamline the industry citing the creation of the National Construction Authority (NCA) “to regulate and control construction activities in the country


and hopefully reduce the spate of building collapses we have seen in the recent past.” Mr Hajee feels that the failure to update Cap 525 of the Laws of Kenya has also been responsible for the confusion currently prevailing in the country when it comes to remuneration of professionals. “The scale of fees stipulated under Cap 525 appears to have been long overtaken by changing market conditions and one can only describe the current situation as a free-for-all which unfortunately creates a breeding ground for unethical practices. The situation has been further exacerbated by some of our fellow professionals who as heads of consortiums maximize their own fees at the expense of the other Consultants on project teams. The Board of Registration urgently needs to address this injustice and level the playing field for fair competition and fair remuneration.” On quality of training in the country, Mr Hajee (B.A., Building Economics, Hons.), M.A.A.K. (Q.S.), C.I.Q.S.K., A.C.I. ARB. RQS), notes that the University of Nairobi has been instrumental in producing Q.S. graduates for many years and it is now joined by several other universities and institutions offering degree or diploma courses. “Such courses certainly lay the foundation for aspiring Q.S.s in terms of academic knowledge but the test comes when the graduates enter the real world to put their knowledge into practice. This sudden transition can be substantially softened if the students have undergone internships with practicing firms where they have access to Q.S. software and undergo on-the-job training. He says that Harold R. Fenwick & Associates has for many years adopted a policy of engaging at least two such students on attachment every year. “In many instances, we end up employing them on a permanent basis once they graduate. One thing that has been very impressive is the speed and enthusiasm with which our tech-savvy young and upcoming Q.S.s take to ICT and adapt it to productive use. I am of the opinion that the quality of our young professionals can match the best in the world.”

March 2016

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Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi.

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Reflections of an Icon The Story of Symbion’s Michael Lord


If a law was to be enacted stipulating that every building must have a plaque of the architect, the name Michael A. Lord would feature prominentlyon many landmark buildingsin Kenya and the wider Eastern Africa region. And while to many Kenyans the name might not ring a bell, the Executive Director of Symbion Kenya Limited is considered a powerhouse in the building and construction sector on account of his numerous projects and influence in matters of the built environment. Indeed when the history of Kenya’s building and construction sector is finally written, Lord will feature prominently as being among the people who significantly shaped its evolution over the years. Some of the buildings that would bear Lord’s plaques include Aga Khan University Faculty of Health Science/Doctor's Plaza Building, Australian High Commission – offices and chancery, UAP Business Park, Standard Chartered Bank Headquarters, Chiromo Road and Villa RosaKempinski Hotel. Others include Polana Hotel, Maputo, Mozambique, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Rwanda, The Citadel, Uganda among many others. “I have been involved in many architectural projects,” says Lord, 58, which is putting it very mildly. As a second generation architect of European decent, Lord came to Kenya out of necessity rather than choice. He was born in Uganda and his tender years were spent in Kampala where his father worked in the auto industry and his mother was a teacher. The second born in a family of three (he has two sisters), Lord went to school in Kampala until he was 11

years when he joined boarding school in Dublin, Ireland. His life, and that of his family, was however forced to take a different turn in the early 1970s following the rise to power of Idi Amin Dada in 1971 through a coup. “My family came to Kenya in 1972 after Idi Amin came to power due to security issues. Since then Nairobi has been my home,” explains Lord. For Lord, the decision to become an architect was informed by a famous architect in Uganda by the name Thomas Watson. During one of his summer holidays, Lord got a job in Watson’s practice and immediately fell in love with the world of architecture. At Watson’s practice, Lord was inspired by the creation of iconic designs. This influenced him to study Architecture at the School of Architecture at Manchester University,from where he graduated in 1982. While still at the university, Lord worked for a year at Planning Systems Services, one of the leading architecture

Michael Lord, Symbion Executive Director

March 2016



Ngorongoro Serena Crater Lodge – Tanzania

firms in the country. It was at the firm where he got initiated in the country’s building and construction sector. Back then, however, the sector was still at its infancy and projects were few. Besides, Kenya was going through a political transition following the death of founding President Jomo Kenyatta; the country was in a state of trepidation.Things took a turn for the worse in 1982 following the attempted coup on the thenPresident Daniel arap Moi’s government. During this uncertain period between 1982 and 1985, Lord worked inH & M Architects, Rathfarnham(Dublin)

Architect Mike Lord for setting up architectural trends in the industry. We are proud to be associated with you in creating amazing interior finishes.

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where he first got acquainted with a branch of architecture that he passionately idolizes – medical projects. One of the key projects he was involved in was the redevelopment of St James Hospital, the largest teaching hospital in Ireland. In 1985, he relocated to South Africa and joined Day, De Wet Y Bouchanan Architects in Cape Town where he was also involved in key government hospitals projects. Unknown to Lord, the experience he gained both in Dublin and Cape Town working on key medical projects would in later years define his career. This came to pass when he joined Symbion in 1986 and was tasked with the mandate of setting up Symbion International in Seychelles. When he joined Symbion, the practice was relatively new having been established in 1980. In Seychelles he was able to fully establish the practice, which was instrumental in key projects cutting across commercial, residential and tourism segments. “I started the Seychelles operation and we delivered some key projects there,” states Lord. By the time he came to Nairobi in 1989, Lord had become a central pillar in Symbion’s growth plans and ambitions to compete with other firms for key projects in Kenya. Being a practice with some of the best brains in the architectural field, Symbion was determined to penetrate the market that was largely dominated by a few large firms. And although Symbion had made Nairobi its hub, it had plans to expand by opening offices in other parts of the country and also in selected countries in the region. When he landed in Nairobi, Lord brought vast experience from different countries to the Kenyan architectural space which was just starting to flourish. Among his initial projects in Kenya were the Accidents and Emergency Unit at Aga Khan Hospital and the first phase of Barclay Bank Kenya head office along Moi Avenue. The Barclays Bank building has remained a landmark in Nairobi. “Nairobi has been our hub and from here, we have expanded the business to other countries,” explains Lord, who is married and has two daughters. The growth of Symbion has in many ways been synonymous with Lord. After he was made partner in 1991, Lord was instrumental in the expansion of the practice to countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana and South Sudan where Symbion has fully fledged subsidiaries. The firm also has another branch in Mombasa. “Our ambition has always been to be a regional based practice,” states Lord, who rose through the ranks to become Symbion’s Managing Partner between 2002 and 2008 and Managing Director between 2009 and 2014 before stepping down to become Executive Director in 2014. According to Lord, Symbion believes in a philosophy of encouraging local ownership and directorship in all the countries it operates. “Today I am largely a consultant to the business,” he states. He adds that although he is not directly involved in the management of the firm, he is deeply involved in the affairs of the practice in all aspects ranging from design, overseeing project teams, March 2016

administration and finance, inspection, client’s meetings, discussing projects to visiting the subsidiaries. Even after taking a backseat in the running of Symbion, Lord is proud of the firm’s growth and achievements over the years. While there is no doubt the firm commands respect and market leadership in medical and tourism sectors going by its impressive portfolio, it takes pride in a broad spectrum of projects that have been accomplished. For Lord, two projects clearly stand out from the rich portfolio of projects he has been involved in over the years. One of them is the northern circuit project for Serena Group of Hotels in Uganda. “This was an exciting project because we came up with the design and even the location,” he says. He adds that Villa RosaKempinski Hotel, the other project, stands out because of the archetypal appearance that makes it a marvel. For Lord, who loves fishing, travelling and playing tennis, squash and golf and intends to spend more time engaging these hobbies when he retires, this is the best time to be an architect in Kenya. The momentous growth of the building and construction industry in recent times has opened up vast opportunities for industry practitioners. “The architectural profession has a bright future in Kenya. I am positive about the future because there will be enormous work,” he says.

Manyara Serena Lodge - Tanzania

Despite the impressive growth of the industry, Lord feels that lack of proper planning regulations has been a downside to a success story going by the mushrooming of poorly planned buildings particularly in Nairobi’s residential estates. “There is little structured planning in majority of Nairobi estates. I think the profession need to take a strong lead in pushing for proper planning policies,” he says. He adds that Kenya also needs to come up with a cultural touch in terms of designs so that the country can pride herself in buildings that part of her history.

March 2016



Majuba Rail Project

An electrified heavy haul rail line to be completed in 2017


he construction of the Majuba Rail Project in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, funded in the region of R6b (US$378m), began in May 2013, and is set to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017. The 68km corridor is the first large greenfield freight-rail infrastructure project to be undertaken in South Africa since 1986 and will be operated by state-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). The objective is to construct an electrified heavy haul rail line linking the Transnet Freight Rail export coal line with the existing Majuba Power Station rail yard. The rail line which forms part of Majuba Power Station coal supply system will transport 21 million tons per annum of coal in 100 jumbo train wagons. The project is set to ensure the security of coal supply through logistics solutions at Majuba, Tutuka, Camden, Groovlei, Kendal and Hendrina power stations to cater for a throughput potential of 32 million tons a year of coal by rail. The coal will be unloaded at the terminal by the upgraded


coal tippler system. The initiative was necessitated by Eskom’s desire to change transportation of coal from road trucks to rail transportation with envisaged economic, environmental and social benefits. The 68km line begins about 8km west of Ermelo, in Mpumalanga, with the take-off accessible from both directions of TFR’s existing coal corridor to Richards Bay. The project scope of works entails the construction of 102 culverts/ nine cattle creeps, 39 agricultural underpasses, and overpasses, 16 bridges, as well as one incremental launch bridge (313 m). Vaal River Incremental launch bridge The incremental launch bridge is one of the most highly mechanized erection methods used in bridge construction. The construction methodology entails manufacturing the superstructure of the bridge in a prefabrication area behind one of the abutments, each new segment is concreted directly against preceding one and after it has reached

March 2016

Professional Team Client: Eskom and Transnet Main Contractor: Aveng Grinaker - LTA Civil Engineering Architect: TCP- Transnet Capital Projects Sub-Contractor: Amsteele Systems Dynaform required design strength, it is moved forward by the length

construction programme due to the high rainfall season

of one segment. The earthworks construction consisted of

posed challenges in erecting a temporary river crossing for

cut to fill, cut to spoil and layer works activities totaling 8

access, working in below zero degree temperatures as well

million cubic metres of material and excess of 50 million cubic metres/km of overhaul. Challenges One of the many challenges faced during construction of the piers was diversion of the river in stages to gain access for the pier and abutment bases, and for that the construction program called for the piers to be cast during the rainy season (September 2013- January 2014),

as obtaining high 48 hour strength (35MPa) to achieve 7 day cycle. Positive spin-offs The project has benefited the local communities in terms of employment creation as well as skills transfer. Eskom and Transnet entered into an SD & L (Supplier development and localization as outlined in their programme with

making construction almost impossible, with extremely

Aveng Grinaker- LTA. The two focus areas of the SD &

high water levels recorded during the period after 485

L programme included procurement and skills transfer to

mm of rain was experienced. In addition, maintaining the

the local communities.

Stressing Development since 1969

March 2016



Reinforced Earth is First in Mechanically Stabilised Earth (MSE)


Erroneously, in construction circles in Africa, mechanically stabilised earth (MSE) has been interchangeably used with reinforced earth, hence it is important to differentiate the two. Mechanical Stabilised Earth - Henri Vidal.

What is MSE? The definition given in Wikipedia: “Mechanically stabilised earth or MSE is soil constructed with artificial reinforcing. It can be used for retaining walls, bridge abutments, seawalls and dikes. Although the basic principles of MSE have been used throughout history, MSE was developed in its current form in the 1960s. In fact, the reinforcing used can vary, but include steel and geosynthetics. MSE is the term usually used in the USA to distinguish it from the name “Reinforced Earth”, a trade name of the Reinforced Earth Company, but elsewhere Reinforced Soil is the generally accepted term.” What is Reinforced Earth? Reinforced Earthis the English name given to the material which Frenchman Henri Vidal invented in 1963. In French the name given was Terre Armee.

Reinforced Earth® structures behave as a coherent gravity mass comprising a selected granular fill combined with strong steel or geo-synthetic reinforcing strips and a modular facing system, generally in the form of precast concrete panels, welded wire mesh or semielliptical steel panels. 44

Perspective: Henri Vidal -inventor of Reinforced Earth “Reinforced Earth® is simple yet complex. It all began one fine September day on a white sandy beach. I put some pine needles into a heap of sand and noted a certain cohesion. I had in fact created the first Reinforced Earth® structure made up of two components: granular particles and reinforcing strips. Man’s first building material comprised just one component,granular particles in the form of stones. And then concrete, so two components: granular particles and a bonding agent, in this case cement. Then man invented reinforced concrete made up of three components: granular particles, a bonding agent and reinforcing

bars. In simple terms, Reinforced Earth® involves eliminating the bonding agent and keeping only the granular materials and reinforcement. But it wasn’t easy. It took me five years to establish the theory based on friction between particles and reinforcing strips and to design a technology that was both economical and quick to install. Then I filed patents and realised that there was nothing else like this in the world. I began building the first structures and started developing an international organisation to allow the structures to be installed rapidly across all continents”. The Terre Armee Group of companies The invention using earth as a raw ingredient, led within a few decades, to the development of a company with a presence in five continents. Easy to install, Reinforced Earth® rapidly established itself as an ideal construction material in numerous applications, in particular road systems. Vidal founded the company Terre Armee Internationale, and so the story of an invention turned into one of legendary entrepreneurship. Reinforced Earth® today Reinforced Earth® structures behave as a coherent gravity mass comprising a selected granular fill combined with strong steel or geo-synthetic reinforcing strips and a modular facing system, generally in the form of precast concrete panels, welded wire mesh or semi-elliptical steel panels. This unique combination creates a durable mass gravity structure which in addition to carrying its own weight, is capable of withstanding significant static and dynamic loads generated by all stresses external to the structure. The earth Sands and gravels with limited fines March 2016

Reinforcements Two types of reinforcing strips offered 1. High adherence metal reinforcing strips, the ideal solution for high static and dynamic loads, and the only logical choice for sensitive structures such as very tall walls, bridge abutments and heavy mining facilities. 2. Synthetic reinforcing strips, an effective solution when the chemical properties of the selected fill material or environmental conditions are not appropriate for use of galvanised steel.

technical and architectural requirements of individual projects. Metal facings, light and versatile, can be used for numerous permanent or temporary applications. Trademarks Reinforced Earth® is a trademark belonging to Terre Armee Internationale. It refers to the products and services provided by the Terre Armee group of companies. It is registered in numerous African countries. The Kenyan and Ethiopian certificates are shown on the next page. Reinforced Earth South Africa (RESA)

The facing The facing is the component covering the external surface of a Reinforced Earth® structure. The main functions of Reinforced Earth® facings are twofold: 1. toensure local stability and protection against erosion of the reinforced fill material. 2. to be flexible enough to accommodate internal settlement of the earth and differential settlement of the foundation They are also the visible part of the structures, hence the signature mark. Standard precast concrete panels are available in a wide range of shapes (square, rectangular, cruciform, T-shaped) and sizes in order to meet the

Reinforced Earth (Pty) Ltd or RESA is the name of the company established in 1975 which provides a Reinforced Earth® service in Southern and Eastern Africa and also in Ghana and Nigeria. Reinforced




Expertise With its unique knowhow and expertise in its specialist field, Terre Armee is in demand for application in projects all over the world with contracting authorities, design engineers and general contractors. Bid responses entail a detailed costing of the execution of the project. This is one of the roles of Terre Armee companies along

March 2016



with the monitoring of contracts won. The company provides input at various stages of a construction project, including feasibility studies and design (manufacturing studies, construction plans). It supplies Reinforced Earth® precast components, reinforcing strips and accessories and can offer technical advice on assembly and quality control of reinforcing strips and facings. Generally, prior geotechnical surveys are necessary to ascertain the properties of the soil on the construction site. Depending on this dataand on the specifications for the structure (geometry, loadings), geotechnical design studies will determine whether foundation improvement is necessary and enable the design basis for the structure, taking into account the nature of the envisaged fill material. In addition, the Terre Armee Group offers its services throughout the lifetime of structures to help preserve and adapt them to specific or new regulatory requirements. Engineering designed to serve its customers’ needs, expertise in all related segments and a capacity for innovation are what makes Reinforced Earth® stand out from its competitors. Why Reinforced Earth®is the popular choice Contracting authorities, design engineers and general contractors choose to work together with the TerreArmee (Reinforced Earth) Group for mainly the following reasons:

south africa



Reinforced Earth is first in MSE. It invented the material 51 years ago and has unique worldwide experience and local expertise.


It is prepared to work upstream with design engineers at no charge or obligation in order to ensure: •

best practice MSE design, drawings, specifications and bills of quantity are presented in the tender documents

external and internal stability of Reinforced Earth structures are inseparable and need to be considered at the feasibility stage of each MSE project.


Each project is custom designed for safety, sustainability and optimum cost and lowest risk.


RESA is neither a manufacturer nor a contractor and is able to easily adapt to supply innovative Reinforced Earth® reinforcing strips and facings.


First in MSE translates to low risk and high security for Engineers, Contractors and Clients.

Africa’s road infrastructure lags behind that of other continents, but it is well positioned to take advantage of the revolutionary material -Reinforced Earth or if one is unable to specify a proprietary product - best practice MSE.

• Tel: 011 861 3800 • Fax: 011 749 3399 E-mail:


Reinforced Earth Applications


Rivers & Waterways

Ports & Coastal works

Water management

Dams & Reservoirs

Mining & Minerals

Construction materials



Land development & Building


Waste management



Sports & Leisure


Š Photo Credits: Photo Gallery Soletanche Freyssinet - 2016

Roads & Motorways


Design engineers

Mentone Media Centre 1 Park Road, Richmond, Johannesburg South Africa Tel: +27 11 726 6180

Global Presence

In partnership through Reinforced EarthÂŽ

Design of MSE structures Stability assessment a Cost analysis a Tendering a Specifications


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