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EDITOR’S NOTE Heads of Departments Managing Editor Alice Instone-Brewer Sales Director Alex Hilling-Smith Sales Manager Emlyn Freeman Head of Editorial Research Paul Bradley Editorial Research James Lapping Project Manager Steven Weller Project Director Jason Gilkes Corporate Director Anthony Letchumaman Lead Designer Alina Sandu Publisher Stephen Warman Any enquiries or subscriptions can be sent to ENDEAVOUR MAGAZINE is published by Littlegate Publishing LTD which is a Registered Company in the United Kingdom. Company Registration: 07657236 VAT registration number: 116 776007 343 City Road Suite 10, Thorpe House London 79 Thorpe Road EC1 V1LR Norwich, NR1 1UA Littlegate Publishing Ltd does not accept responsibility for omissions or errors. The points

Whatever the industry, wherever the city,

constructed wonders of our world continue

progress calls on construction. This sector

to follow in the footsteps of our ancient

not only builds our homes, but shapes the

ancestors, striving always to push the bar of

urban communities in which we work,

what is possible and leave onlooks asking,

create and achieve. It makes the future

“How?” Every month, this is precisely the



question Endeavour: Construction will ask,

better facilities and more sustainable

and we’ll attempt to bring you the answers!



environments, meeting and moving beyond its clients’ needs to re-invent what can be expected. From starting out as one of our species’ simplest, most basic drives for survival, seeking shelter has turned into arguably the most varied, ambitious and world-defining industries out there. It

of view expressed in articles by attributing

requires innumerable talents, with each of

writers and/or in advertisements included in this

the multitude of materials and methods

magazine do not necessarily represent those of

it employs requiring their own experts,

the publisher. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this magazine, no legal responsibility will be accepted by the

so much so that even deconstruction is a separate sector in its own right. As an industry this vast in scope, we felt

publishers for loss arising from use of information

construction deserved its own stand-alone

published. All rights reserved. No part of this

publication. From the towering heights

publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrievable system or transmitted in any form or







by any means without the prior written consent of

shimmering skyline of Dubai, India’s wave

the publisher.

of uber-green tech-cities or New York’s

Copyright © Littlegate Publishing Ltd 2017

multi-storey dreams for Hudson’s Bay, the

Endeavour Magazine | 3



ARCELORMITTAL SA 4 | Endeavour Magazine

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Baitali Group Building Together ArcelorMittal SA Steeled For Success Menlyn Maine Beauty, Function, And Wellness Alcon Nigeria Going Further SKA Africa Unlocking The Mysteries Of The Universe National Engineering Bureau A Fusion Of Aesthetic Beauty And Function


47 52 58 64 70 76

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BUILDING TOGETHER Construction and agriculture – these industries evoke opposing images of urban and country development, hard to imagine working in harmony, and yet these are the two pillars of Suriname’s Baitali Group. In reality, both industries are cornerstones of civilisation, and one cannot exist without the other. For the Baitali Group, this is especially true: we spoke with Farsi Khudabux, company CEO, to talk about the two faces of the company, and what it is that pulls the Baitali Group together. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


The Baitali Group run a regional operation, working in

Suriname and its neighbouring Guyana as well as throughout the Caribbean. Like any group, it is the umbrella for a range of companies, some of which were founded almost 40 years ago whilst others have only stood for four. This range of experience and services is the product of a long and evolving tale, including venture in construction, manufacture, agriculture and even mining. With these many strings to their bow, Baitali Group are a jack of many trades – but that hasn’t stopped them mastering some, too.


reaking the Group down, the umbrella covers the following companies: General contractors Aannemingsmaatschappij Baitali (AMB), manufacturers Baitali Pavement Products (BPP),

testing company Baitali Pavement Testing & Technologies (BPTT), Batali Mining and the agricultural Machinale Landbouw Nanni (MLN). Their customers range from rice exporters to government bodies, their contracting work covering everyone from local groups to multi nationals. Their collection of services first began to take form in 1960, with the construction company Surinaamse Constructie Maatschappij N.V. (SCM). SCM stood as the sole

Proud to support Baitali Group

company in the Baitali Group for 20 years, until AMB succeeded it in 1980. The second company would serve as a replacement to the first, rebranding the efforts and experience of the last two decades into a new and smoother machine. AMB’s core operations revolved, and still revolve, around infrastructure, performing engineering, construction and project management on major projects within road construction, dewatering, dike construction and irrigation works. It is a field

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that comes laden with wide-spread implications for Suriname, and that’s a responsibility that AMB take seriously. In their own words; “Purposeful, smart and sustainably designed infrastructure is key to well-being, economic growth and prosperity.” AMB have delivered some of the largest and most complex civil infrastructure projects in Suriname, ranging from major irrigation projects to work on heavy duty pavements for the country’s ports and harbours. Not stopping at construction, AMB are also involved

in the design and operation of the infrastructure they help to create, including services in traffic planning, utility relocation and sustainable infrastructure design: “AMB combines smart planning, resilient design, technical know-how and an integrated approach to make visions become a reality. We have helped customers bring ambitious concepts to life, like large-scale urban development projects.” AMB’s extensive works represented the entirety of Baitali’s activities for six years, but as is often the pattern after six years of success, it became time diversify. Mr Baitali did so in a drastic direction, not complimenting his contractors with a manufacturer or expanded construction services, but instead branching into agriculture. To forgive the pun, the founder didn’t want to put all of his eggs in one basket – however, the agricultural company’s main output was in fact rice. MLN took on rice production head-on, launching into this new field by tackling every aspect of the industry, all the way from sowing through to processing and sale. Today, the company’s annual production is approximately 5000 tons, most of which is exported to Europe, whilst the remainder is sold on the local market. This two-pronged company continued in its approach, growing

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BAITALI GROUP in expertise and experience, until 2012, when the diversification

able to support, monitor and cover its own operations essentially

bug struck again. This time, three new companies were founded

head to toe – a position that results in consistency, reliability, and

in the space of two years, more than doubling the number of

significant savings along the way.

companies under the umbrella in a sudden burst of activity:

At the cusp of this game-changing expansion for the Group,

Baitali Pavement Testing & Technologies, Baitali Mining and Baitali

Farsi Khudabux took over the role of CEO. He has held the position

Pavement Products were all founded consecutively. These three

for the past five years, part of a total 12 with the Group. As an

companies worked in co-operation to streamline a new range of

overseer of this change, we asked Farsi what he felt Baitali’s key

operations that all built upon AMB’s origins: road laying, asphalt

to success has been. For him, it is always the people. “I started in

and concrete.

2005 as a Junior Engineer and worked my way through different

Founding three new companies hot on each other’s tails is a

positions and departments to the position that I have now. I think

costly and ambitious move, but in doing so, Baitali set themselves up

this is a good example of how the company facilitates personal

with a smooth, well-integrated series of operations. BPP specialise


in asphalt, soil cement and subbase production, whilst Baitali

An inevitable part of any expansion, and particularly the

Mining produce aggregates perfect for this process. Their mines,

founding of new companies, is a growing body of staff. Farsi sees

currently operational in Apoera and Upper Corentyne (Kabalebo),

the protection of these assets as top priority, and what enables

also produce different sizes of dike stones that are essential for

Baitali to achieve the range of quality services they offer: “We

the Baitali Group’s infrastructure works, with enough left over

employ 400 people and we consider each one of them as the most

for profitable trade with the Apoera and Wakay port. Meanwhile,

important asset of our company. Our vision is to give employees all

BPTT is a certified research laboratory, providing geotechnical

the possibilities and opportunities (especially training) to develop

engineering and testing on all types of materials needed for road

themselves in a professional way. Ultimately, they shape the

construction. Between these triplets and AMB, the Baitali Group is


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Despite this dedicated workforce and a wide and well-

goal, with so many of its branches supporting each other, whilst still

connected series of operations, Baitali’s market has thrown the

operating in their own rights. However, they aren’t stopping there

company several challenges. Farsi explained:

– with local funds an issue, the Group’s companies are starting to

“The industry Baitali Group operates in is currently experiencing

look abroad: “Baitali Group is attempting to spread its wings beyond

difficulties due to the economic recession in Suriname. Due to price

Suriname. We are aware that at some point, the small society and

drops of the country’s leading commodities (gold and oil), there has

scale of Suriname might become an obstacle in the expansion that

been a drastic cut in government earnings. Since the Government

we aspire towards.”

and government related institutions have been the prime market

Yet despite local strains, Baitali’s success in Suriname is far

of Baitali Group, this development also had its influence on our

from over. Quite the contrary – they have a slate of plans at home


as well as for abroad, including designing, building & financing a

When keeping afloat in difficult waters, attention can end up

project for reconstructing the East-West connection road into

turned on the competition. However, Farsi is more concerned in

Suriname, launching their own rice brand, and investing in ocean-

seeing Baitali being the very best that it can be, rather than focusing

going vessels for the export of their aggregates. Most notably, they

on undercutting its rivals. “As a large-scale company, we certainly

have recently won a contract for rehabilitating one of Suriname’s

face competition in Suriname, but our approach to competition is

busiest shopping streets. Suriname has been the home of Baitali’s

positive. In our industry, and certainly in an economy as small as

success since the 1960s, and the Group are far from flying the

Suriname’s, we don’t consider competitors as rivals. We believe

nest – more, their home is a country they will continue to benefit

that competition is a positive impulse to raise your bar. We just try

and improve through their infrastructural expertise, and from that

to do everything with an extra touch of our core values and always

foundation, can reach out to the wider world and see just how far

try to be one step ahead.”

their ambition takes them.

The Group has already positioned itself well to achieve this

BAITALI GROUP OF COMPANIES Duisburglaan 29 Paramaribo, Suriname

Tel: +597 530-654 Email: Website:


STEELED FOR SUCCESS ArcellorMittal is a name which needs no introduction. With operations across 60 countries and annual gross revenues estimated to be in excess of US$70 billion, the company is by far the largest producer of steel in the world today. It should therefore come as little surprise that ArcellorMittal South Africa (AMSA), as a subsidiary of this global giant, is the country’s and indeed the African continent’s largest producer. What is surprising, however, at least to the industry outsider, is that this regional behemoth has found itself in unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


In spite of the immense resources it can call upon and

its undisputed standing as the regional market leader, AMSA has faced its fair share of challenges in recent years, not least among them the dilemma of how to compete with the flood of cut-price Chinese steel that has threatened to pull the rug from under domestic producers. Endeavour Magazine caught up with AMSA to find out more.


t is telling that even those who know nothing of the steel industry recognise the ArcellorMittal brand, such is its reputation as one of the leading names in global business. This reputation

is, of course, well justified: the company is the world’s largest steel producer by a considerable margin, with a production capacity of over 90 million tons per annum - more than twice that of its closest competitor. As one of the company’s national subsidiaries, it is perhaps only natural that AMSA has long been the market leader, not only in South Africa but across the African continent. Headquartered in Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng province, AMSA is South Africa-based, but, in-line with its African Overland Strategy, its presence and reach is truly pan-African. As Wim de Klerk, AMSA’s CEO, explained: “Our African Overland Strategy (AOL) is to ensure our presence is felt in the continent. We will aggressively pursue the AOL market and secure more than 30% markets shares, having identified potential strategic customers who will serve as distribution points to mitigate the current logistical difficulties of trade in the AOL. We are working with various stakeholders, including Proudly SA and Brand SA, to ensure that we position to company better in the country, continent and the world.” Across the company’s four major production facilities in Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging in Gauteng, the recently-relined Newcastle blast furnace in KwaZulu-Natal, and Saldanha in the Western Cape, AMSA has the capacity to produce 5.2 million tons of steel slab, plate, cold and hot rolled coil (HRC), galvanised

14 | Endeavour Magazine

ARCELORMITTAL SA steel, tinplate, billet rebar, and a portfolio of bars, rods, and other

strategy created to increase GDP growth to 5.4% per annum and

saleable steel products. Currently, the company supplies 60% of

reduce unemployment. It is therefore as much to the detriment of

the steel used in South Africa, the majority of which is used for

South Africa and its people as it is to AMSA itself that the company

the manufacture of products, equipment, and machinery for heavy

has faced difficulty in recent years, primarily as a result of falling

engineering, construction, mining, automotive, and other heavy

global demand for steel and, of course, the emergence of China is


an industrial superpower.

Furthermore, to ensure the long-term efficiency of its world-

As the largest and most advanced economy in the sub-Saharan

class facilities, AMSA has recently embarked on an investment

African region by a considerable margin, the impact of China’s rise

drive to maintain their effectiveness. “The year 2015 marked the

has posed a number of challenges to South Africa, not least to its

completion of the Newcastle Blast Furnace relining - an investment

steel industry. With a crude steel production capacity in excess of

to the tune of R1. 8 billion that is expected to sustain the

800 million metric tons – all but half of the world’s total production,

production for over 20 years. With the completion of the relining,

and easily more than that of the rest of the world’s top-20 producers

production increased and moved towards steady production.

combined - Chinese production has increased to such an extent

Around 1.5mt of steel was produced - an increase of 150% from

that in recent years, a global steel glut has threatened to strangle

2014, and equivalent to 24% of South Africa’s production - up from

the domestic steel industries of many countries around the world.

9% in 2014. This production provided R7 billion of beneficiation,

How could it not when, as recently as the end of 2015, a ton of

which is aligned to a key area of South African Government.

Chinese steel was cheaper than a ton of cabbages – an absurd but

Additionally, Newcastle’s steel supports the industrial growth

undisputed fact.

initiative of the province through contribution to the construction and manufacturing industries.”

This burden of cheap imports was amplified by the weakened state of the global economy, to the extent that industry insiders and

Such statistics speak for themselves. AMSA is a critically

members of government began to speak of the demise of a South

important component of the South African economy, and a key

African steel industry, which was in terminal decline. Fortunately,

supporter of the country’s National Development Goals – a

this was a prediction which proved to be somewhat premature.

16 | Endeavour Magazine

To paraphrase the country’s Trade & Industry Minister, Dr. Rob

opportunities in the country remain limited, particularly within

Davies, the South African steel industry ‘has not surrendered,’ and

its heavy industries. This, coupled with industry politics which

nor has AMSA. With the support of the South African government,

has led to disagreements between AMSA and some downstream

whom AMSA lobbied in collaboration with the SAISC, a raft of

companies in the past, has led to demands to have tariffs repealed

protectionary tariffs and bans on the import of steel products into

– a stance that Wim can understand and empathise with, even if he

the country have come into effect. Designed to protect domestic

doesn’t agree with it: “Some of our customers that we sell to today

primary and downstream steel producers, these safeguards have

will the take the route of imports, therefore publicly protesting

come as a great relief to Wim:

about what we do. We can’t blame them … we shouldn’t blame

“The 10% bound rate that we received from the government was very important. That gave us a little bit of reprieve to say that

them. We should talk about what we can change to bring them with us on this journey.

we have the ability to counter imports a bit and to deliver to the

Generally, some steel products are cheaper from China. If I

local market – that was important. The designation issue which,

ran my own company, if I ran Wim de Clerk Pty Ltd, and I found

basically, government is allowing certain steel that is used in South

the products cheaper for me my people and my shareholders…

Africa, will only be used if it made in South Africa. I think that is

I understand their point. They don’t care about the politics of

very important, not only for us (AMSA) but also for the downstream

whether they are made in South Africa or not - they can get it


cheaper and they import it. This made if difficult for them to be told

From a logical standpoint, this ‘buy South African’ policy is one which will benefit every corner of the embattled industry, but

by government that they have to pay a premium for their product, just to support another South African company.”

support for such protectionist measures have been met with fierce

For an industry which is seeking to steady the ship in the face

opposition from some quarters. It is well-known that while South

of the dual threats posed by a stagnant economy and the glut of

Africa has not been in recession for some time now, the national

Chinese steel, it is essential that the wider industry is on-board.

economy has struggled to return to the surging year-on-year

Tough times lie ahead, after all, but a buoyant domestic steel

growth that occured up until the Great Recession of 2009. Growth

industry is both essential for the economic well-being of South

Endeavour Magazine | 17

ARCELORMITTAL SA Africa, and a source of national pride. As a message to the world

in My Shoes’ – a scheme designed to foster a mentorship culture,

that ArcellorMittal is here to stay, its 9,000-strong workforce, and

improve comradery, and promote a greater understanding of roles

the 100,000 South Africans who are indirectly employed as a result

between the company’s staff. Investing in its people in this way

of its business operations, AMSA has announced plans for R4.5

makes sense, in that it is both good for business and good for staff

billion of capital expenditure over the coming years, to signal its

happiness. Wim concluded the interview on this point, saying:

commitment to South Africa.

“This initiative will help to understand our business, each other

“As part of contributing to the country’s economy, this year we

and the challenges we continue to face on a day-to-day basis.

will launch the Industrial Incubation Hub between in Vanderbijlpark

Each month, every EXCO member will be allocated an ‘intern’, with

under the Sedibeng District Municipality in Gauteng. With an initial

whom they will spend one day, allowing them to walk in their shoes,

capital investment of R30-million over three years, the Incubation

mentoring them on the intricacies of their roles as ArcelorMittal

Hub will provide a comprehensive technical and commercial

South Africa’s leaders. In return, each EXCO member will also

development support of 12 incubates during a period of two years

spend a day in the life of the ‘intern’, to reciprocate the learning. In

from a comprehensive two-year development programme which

this way each will better understand and appreciate the other’s life,

encompasses technical, commercial and industry specific training

challenges, fears, and aspirations.

from 2017. The will specialize in the development of emerging

We should talk to our people, we should listen to our people

black owned enterprises with a specific focus on the manufacturing,

and then afford them an opportunity to influence us because we

fabrication and reconditioning industry,” Wim stated. He continued:

don’t have all the answers. We are a learning organisation and we

As part of this technical incubation programme, incubates will

will make mistakes in the process and when I have 10 000 people

have exclusive access to separate workshops, a central 800m2

directing me and all my external stakeholders, we are also learning

inter-leading central workshop area where incubates will have

as we take the company to the highest trajectory.”

access to larger, more expensive fabrication and manufacturing equipment.” Another initiative which AMSA is soon to embark upon is ‘Walk

18 | Endeavour Magazine


BEAUTY, FUNCTION, AND WELLNESS In a world in which a majority of the global population now live in towns and cities, and a country which has long been blighted by urban decay, it is clear that a fresh vision for the future of city living has been long overdue. South Africa’s quite remarkable Menlyn Maine development - an innovative new urban space which fuses the ‘new-urbanism’ principles of multi-purpose liveability and safety with architectural beauty, has certainly provided it. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


Endeavour Magazine had the pleasure to speak to Henk

Boogertman, Menlyn Maine’s Director of Architecture and Design, and one of Africa’s best-regarded architects, about what Africa’s first ever green city brings to the table.


he world has changed beyond all recognition over the course

a 60,000m² Time Square Entertainment Complex, and large tracts

of a century that has witnessed the emergence of a new digital

of scenic parkland and open urban space.

age, and the rise of the motor car. Among these many changes,

Situated just outside of Pretoria in Gauteng Province, the

the rapid urbanisation of the global population is key amongst

Menlyn Maine development is truly unique, in that it is the first

them. In a little over 100 years, the proportion of people living in

green city of its kind to emerge on the African continent. Each and

urban centres has risen four-fold, from 14% in 1900 to roughly 60%

every component building in Menlyn Maine has been designed with

today. This, combined with a massive rise in the global population

environmental sustainability in mind, in order to create a precinct

and the unsustainable use of fossil fuels needed to power

that is highly energy and carbon efficient, to the extent that it is

them, has placed huge strain on many of the world’s oldest and

Green Rated by the Green Building Council of South Africa – one of

largest cities.

only a handful of urban regions in the world to earn this accolade.

In South Africa, the congestion, pollution, and sprawl has

Of course, looking after the planet is all well and good, but more

long-since reached a critical mass, and triggered an incidence of

importantly than this Menlyn Maine is just a great place to live, that

suburban flight that has seen business and retail flee the centres of

provides leisure, entertainment, and safety.

once-great cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town. South Africa’s

The precinct represents a blend of function and aesthetics that

cities are dying, and it has become clear that a new model of urban

adheres to the principles of new-urbanism, the result of which is an

centre is needed, which ascribes to the ‘new-urbanism’ principles

urban space in which people can walk and live peacefully, day or

of creating a safe and comfortable urban space – one which is

night, in an environment that encourages wellness. “Ultimately, it’s

multi-purpose, and in which the pedestrian, not the car is king. In

a new decentralised city centre. So if you take a main city centre like

Menlyn Maine, Henk has provided the blueprint for a city model

in Central London, you would also have a centre outside of it, like

that is fit for the modern age.

Canary Wharf. That is what we mean by a decentralised CBD – it is

The Menlyn Maine mega development – a 350,000 sq.

a business district that stands on its own legs as a separate entity.

metre urban precinct that is being built at a cost of R10 billion,

That is what we are e builing here at Menlyn Maine. It’s mixed-use,

is according to Henk Boogertman: “A huge thing. It’s one of

it’s a decentralised CBD in the sense that it’s a business district

the biggest commercial construction projects underway in the

consisting of hotels, apartments, casino, entertainment, shopping,

country today.”

apartments, offices, medical facilities, which includes a cutting-

Undoubtedly, it is the most ambitious construction project that

edge specialist hospital and a medical centre. There are outdoor

South Africa has seen for many decades, and upon its completion

leisure areas and parks where people can relax and hangout close

Menlyn Maine will be comprised of 140,000m² of commercial office

to the offices. That’s the full mix of what we have at the moment,”

space, 35,000m² of retail, dining, and shopping space, 35,000m² of

explained Henk, who as Director of Architecture and Design of

up-market residential apartments, 18,000m² of luxury hotel space,

Menlyn Maine is spearheading the project.

22 | Endeavour Magazine

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MENLYN MAINE He continued: “The big idea of having a mixed-use urban area

biggest in the country, just across the road from one of our parks

is to create a place where you’ve got everything on your doorstep,

and we’ve set-up a massive gig where bands will perform to guests.

where you don’t need a car – a common thing for people living in

Then there’s our 8,500 seater multi-purpose arena where we can

Western countries, where you don’t need a car! In South Africa It

host sporting events such as boxing matches, tennis matches etc.

doesn’t work like that, so our precinct is unusual in that it embraces

and which we can also use as a venue for conferences. Big, big

old urbanism, which is what it is, not new urbanism, and operates in

music shows. Things just don’t exist like this in SA at the moment,

the way that a city should operate. A city should have people that

or not on this scale anyway.

live there, work there, go to school there and be entertained there,

It’s a great vibrant city centre where something is always

and shop there – do everything that they need to do there, and be

happening, where there’s always something cooking and where

able walk to go do it.”

there is always a hive of activity”

In Henk’s view, what’s happening at Menlyn Maine is the

There are even cycle lanes in Menlyn Maine, which is astonishing

regeneration of what a city should be – what cities used to be in

for a country where urban cycling is all but unheard of. And if

South Africa, and what they still are in some of the world’s leading

this wasn’t enough, there is even a striking 8,500-seater closed

urban centres. Underground parking means that the environment is

arena, capable of hosting sporting events, like boxing and tennis

pleasant and uncluttered, and the flat cityscape is perfect for families

matches, gigs, and important conferences. Absolutely every facet

with prams and people who are disabled, not to mention joggers.

of the development has been centred around coming as close as

The view is enhanced further by the presence of art and sculptures

is possible to creating an environment which is positively utopian.

in Menlyn Maine’s piazzas and parks, as Henk was keen to mention:

Naturally, demand from businesses and aspiring residents for

“We’ve embraced public arts, which are a common occurrence in

office, retail, and residential space has been utterly unprecedented.

other major cities around the world, but also performance arts. In

Henk elaborated on this, saying: “MM has definitely become a very

our piazza we’ve got a lot of activities every weekend, so we tend

good investment address, and a first-choice place to work. There

to do a lot of events on our premises that activates the precinct.

is currently a very low demand for office space in Pretoria, but we

We’re about to open our casino, which will ultimately be the

24 | Endeavour Magazine

are continuing to gain momentum from companies and individuals

who want to be here. There has been incredible demand for our

and residences seek to meet their energy requirements using off-

residential properties, and since we launched our residential

grid sources. With its heavy use of solar energy sources and its

apartment scheme in November last year we’ve sold 255 units

commitment to energy saving, Menlyn Maine is saving money and

– we will be starting construction work on the residential areas

the planet.

within the next 2 months. In South African terms, this is unheard of success.

Henk concluded the interview, saying: “Energy in South Africa is very expensive, so people are saying if I can use the sun, which

This is the kinds of demand we’re facing at the moment,

shines 90% of the year, and in some cases 100%, why don’t we

because it’s such a great address from a leisure, shopping, working,

use the sun to generate power? So, if you have a shopping centre

and lifestyle point of view. It’s outstanding.”

component like we have using 3MVA of power a day and we can

Suffice to say, Menlyn Maine has set the standard for future city

generate 500KVA a day, and the shopping centre is open during

developments in South Africa, and already other urban developers

the same hours as daylight so we don’t need to store the energy,

are following suit. The success of the project has shown Africa

this means we can reduce our power consumption substantially.

that the green concept can work here, and that it can be achieved

The savings from this we can use to augment our operational costs,

at reasonable cost – unlike in the Middle East where huge sums

meaning that we can put the money into maintaining our parks and

of money can be spent on enormous civic construction projects

landscaping areas and mall in great shape. The tenants don’t have

without looking at the price tag. Mega developments in South

to pay for upkeep of MM, its paid for by the sun.

Africa have to make financial sense. and it does, not only during the construction phase but in the long-term too.

In the long-term, it just makes sense to invest in renewable energy sources financially, especially solar power. It is a very

In a country where the well-publicised difficulties of Eskom

effective method of power here in South Africa - the sun is our

have led to blackouts and power shortages, energy supply from the

friend basically, and we want to use it. It’s a social thing, it’s a

national grid is unreliable and expensive. In-light of this, it is perhaps

cultural thing, it’s an earth thing – it’s the right thing to do, but it

unsurprising that investment in renewable energy sources in South

also makes financial sense.”

Africa has risen markedly over the past decade, as businesses

Endeavour Magazine | 25


GOING FURTHER Alcon Nigeria Limited prides itself on being one of the most reliable service contractor in Nigeria, as well as one of the most adventurous, and is taking steps towards conquering Sub-Saharan Africa. Alcon will take on jobs in adverse project conditions that other contractors won’t touch – they even expanded their services to include security provision. This can-do attitude has built Alcon a reputation as the team that delivers results, whatever the challenges. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Alcon Nigeria is an E.P.I.C (Engineering, Procurement,

Installation and Commissioning) contracting company of aptly epic proportions. With a team that is 2,500 strong, Alcon is capable of carrying out over 250,000 man-hours of operations in the Procurement & Technical Services a year, as well as staggering 7,000,000 man-hours a year on construction services in the Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Instrumentation fields.


f this isn’t enough to assure you of their quality and experience,

for projects; i.e. foreign direct investment, available government

Alcon have been in business since 1982, having started out as

funding and funds from local banks are all lacking, which ultimately

MED Construction before changing its name to Alcon Nigeria in

impacts the positive economic growth in Nigeria.”

1984, thus boasting of 35 solid years of operation.

In addition to aggressive competition, Nigeria’s dependence

Evolution has long been the watchword for this stalwart

on Oil has developed a strong competency culture and high

company. Despite economic difficulties, they have continued

quality that the country’s EPC contractors must meet. “Over the

to expand the sectors they operate in and improve their clients’

years, a small percentage of expatriate personnel and a much

experiences. We spoke with Gerardo Della Santa, the new

larger percentage of local personnel have been able to develop

Managing Director for Alcon Nigeria, about this ongoing journey.

and build technical capabilities in all engineering disciplines (civil,

“It is a never-ending story, due to the state of business in

structural, mechanical, piping, electrical, instrumentation, HVAC

Nigeria.” Della Santa is referring, in part, to the country’s ongoing

and telecommunications) whilst working with international oil

recession. Alcon’s firmest roots have long been found in the Oil

companies. Thus, a strong industrial culture of safety and quality

& Gas sectors; and like all Oil & Gas companies, they were hit by

has developed.”

the drastic fall in oil prices between May 2014 and January 2016.

This competitive and exacting atmosphere has raised standards

Besides rocking the oil and gas sectors themselves, this plummet

across the industry; fortunately, Alcon has a long history of such

had a wider effect on the economies that relied on these industries

exceeding these standards, and has had no challenge staying at the

and the nation which had primarily depended on Oil thus resulting

top of the pyramid. “Alcon has recently been recognized by Shell for

in high inflation and a struggling banking sector, which in turn

our exceptional quality and reliability. We also own and operate a

affected companies across the board.

large fabrication yard and marine jetty in Woji, Port Harcourt, and

“Due to a shortage of potential projects, as a contractor, the competition has become much fiercer. We are seeing very aggressive

have a large asset base of equipment and tools to ensure flawless project execution.”

pricing strategies; everyone wants to remain in business while

Furthermore, the forward-thinking company have their eyes

sacrificing their margins in the short-term. One of the challenges

set on the future, and in recent years have started delving into the

that every sector is facing is availability of the necessary funds

Power sector. In particular, they have been applying their heavy

28 | Endeavour Magazine

ALCON NIGERIA construction skills towards the building of power generation plants,

& gas sector and we are seeing more appetite to improve the

a venture that quickly yielded positive results, with Alcon receiving

power sector in Nigeria also.” Despite their continued loyalty to

the Mechanical Erection and Piping Works from Siemens for the

a recovering Oil and Gas sector, Alcon is determined to plough

459MW Azura Power Plant and the Civil, Mechanical and Electrical

onwards with its newer areas of operations. Della Santa expresses

Works from METKA for the Federal Government / GE AFAM III

his firmness on this in no uncertain terms: “Without expansion, our

200MW Power Plant.

company cannot survive”

Whilst he is keen to expand into the power sector and see where

Apart from delving into power plant construction, Della

this pathway can take Alcon, Della Santa remembers the clients that

Santa hopes to build upon this new avenue by getting involved in

have gotten his company this far, and is in no hurry to turn his back

providing Operation and Maintenance services to industry players.

on the sector that has long been the greatest revenue source for

They are also working to forge and develop new partnerships

the company. “Alcon remains committed to helping international

in this sector; the company knows that in order to strengthen

oil companies, Nigerian oil companies and multinationals to

their position, they need the links and relationships with existing

further develop Nigeria’s gas and power infrastructure. We are

key players.

focusing on our clients, finding ways to work more efficiently

“Alcon has a strong partnership with ABB, with which Alcon

and productively with them, and improve communications and

is a certified Low Voltage Panel Builder. We are expanding this

feedback mechanisms. There are many exciting opportunities in

partnership with the construction of an 8,000-square meter

this area and we look forward to using this medium to announce

state-of-the-art workshop and showroom. We’re also expanding

Alcon’s next big win!”

into other technical areas such as Process Automation, Power

Like the Roman god Janus, the company is forever looking

Transmission and Power Distribution. Ultimately, our strategy

forwards as well as back, and Della Santa can see light on both

is to develop key relationships with multinational companies

horizons; “The environment seems to be improving in the oil

and combining each other’s complementary skills in delivering

30 | Endeavour Magazine

ALCON NIGERIA positive outcomes to Nigeria’s many infrastructure challenges.”

five untrained personnel, and as such, Alcon treats the provision of

The contractors are even looking into new power avenues such as

training, conferences and/or exhibitions as a very important part of

the new opportunities opening in thermal, hydro and solar power

its HR curriculum.”


Alcon also makes sure that these employees have the free time

Like their areas of operations, Alcon’s geographical reach is

available to focus on working towards qualifications, degrees or

varying. They have a history of local, regional and national projects,

undertaking independent study. The company strives to challenge

and have recently even turned their eye to international horizons.

their staff, giving them agency within the company to better inspire

In 2016, the company began looking to branch out to neighbouring

them and to bring the very best out of each employee.

African countries, with Ghana chosen as its case study; “Alcon has

“As a leader, it is my job to motivate members of my team to

been cautiously exploring the potential of expanding into Ghana if

work to the very best of their abilities, and this requires that I see

the right opportunity presents itself as an anchor project. Multiple

the professional capabilities of each individual beyond what is

teams have visited to gather market research, explore potential

obvious. For instance, I believe in empowering my team members

partnerships and meet with government officials. Alcon remains

with accountability and responsibility so that the individual is

hopeful that this expansion may happen sooner than later.”

motivated to do more and his/her best is brought to the surface.

Currently, Alcon employs about 2,500 personnel, including

Thus, if you can activate the natural talents of your employees in

expatriates. The company does a lot of outreach work in universities

ways that make them feel more responsible about their jobs, you

to attract more graduates to their numbers, and are keen to reach

will be inspiring something that is more significant, that has longer

out to a range of nationalities and cultures in their recruitment.

lasting impact and is more sustainable to the company.”

“The greatest asset in any business is its staff and Alcon

Despite this personal approach for his staff, Della Santa’s

takes pride as an organization that encourages a work-friendly

own work attitudes are wholly company-focused: “I believe that

environment. We believe that one trained staff member is worth

the company should be in front whilst I strive to achieve the goal

32 | Endeavour Magazine

that I have been paid to achieve by implementing what I know and believe in to attain overall success for my organization. In my opinion, personal success means nothing but the success of my company means everything.” He has only recently taken on the role as Managing Director for Alcon two months ago. However, he has been with the company since 2004, so he is well-versed in the Alcon ways of doing business. So, how does Della Santa feel moving forwards, as Alcon takes on a varying slate of new ventures? “We’re cautiously optimistic about the future environment in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara. We feel Alcon is well positioned with its experience, capabilities and assets, whilst fine-tuning itself to function more efficiently and effectively.” Alcon are the contractors who venture forth where other companies don’t dare, and this remains as true of their expansion strategy as it has always been of their projects. However, through all of their changes, this efficiency and effectiveness remains key; whilst Alcon are willing to take on risks, they ensure that their clients are investing in a sure thing. They not only venture forth, but bring back the prize – that’s definitely E.P.I.C.

Supply Chain, (Door-to-Door) Management and Consultancy Services Providing solutions for clients in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry With a Global Focus

Our Services:

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Endeavour Magazine | 33

SKA AFRICA WWW.SKA.AC.ZA // 0027 21 506 7300

UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE Space, it’s been famously said, is the final frontier. It represents the future for humanity, and, should the fears of many be realised, and we’re foolish enough to destroy our home planet in the years to come, our salvation. Why are we here? How are we here? The answers to the greatest questions surrounding our very existence can only be found through unlocking the mysteries of the night sky, and perhaps one day reaching out into it. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


In its infinite kindness, the universe has left no small

number of clues for us to answer these questions, but finding them has been no easy feat. However, thanks to our growing mastery of advanced technologies and our subsequent ability to break down and understand the structures and sub-structures of the universe, finally, great strides forward are being made in space science which we hope will one day allow us to solve even the greatest mysteries in astronomy.


adio telescopes are an essential astronomical instrument,

completion it will trigger a huge leap forward in humanity’s space

in this regard, thanks to their ability to detect celestial

science capabilities.

objects that conventional telescopes cannot. Unlike optical

Once fully operational, the Square Kilometre Array will be

telescopes, which allow observers to see faraway objects and

made up of thousands of radio antennas co-located on vast sites in

galaxies that emit or reflect visible light waves, radio telescopes

the Karoo region of South Africa and the remote West Australian

allow astronomers to observe the night sky’s best kept secrets –

outback. With a total radio-detecting array in excess of 1km2, the

the objects and entities that don’t project light, or in other words,

Square Kilometre Array will be by far the world’s largest, most

are ordinarily undetectable.

powerful radio telescope – for context, SKA will have 50 times

Through the use of these telescopes, made up of a huge

the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope and

singular dish or fields of smaller dishes, we can study naturally

a far greater ability to image wider areas of sky, with one trillion

occurring radio light from stars, galaxies, black holes and other

times the processing power of the computers used to successfully

cosmic objects. Because naturally occurring radio waves are so

put man on the moon. What’s known as the core - the region with

weak - up to a billion times weaker than that of cell phone signal -

the highest concentration of receivers - will be stationed in the

the development and construction of great radio telescope arrays

Northern Cape Province of South Africa, 80 km from the town of

are an essential tool in our mission to map the stars and enhance

Carnarvon, which is incidentally the same site where the MeerKAT

our understanding of space.

– SKA’s Phase 1 precursor has been built.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an international project to

The MeerKAT array, currently taking shape in South Africa’s

build a radio telescope tens of times more sensitive and hundreds of

Karoo region, is a world-class radio telescope designed to do

times faster at mapping the sky than today’s best radio astronomy

ground-breaking science. It will be the largest and most sensitive

facilities. Simply put: it will be the world’s largest and best radio

radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until the Square

telescope. SKA is not a single telescope, but a collection of various

Kilometre Array (SKA) is completed around 2024. Via MeerKAT,

types of antennas, called an array, to be spread over long distances.

South Africa is playing a key role in design and technology

In terms of its scale and ambition, SKA is colossal, and upon its

developments for the SKA.

36 | Endeavour Magazine

For over 30 years GENERAL DYNAMICS has designed, manufactured and installed over fifty major optical and radio telescopes for the scientific community worldwide. We are proud to partner with Stratosat Datacom (Pty) Ltd. to supply 64 radio-telescope antennas, ancillary electronic components and support for South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope program. As an industry leader in the design and construction of precision-built telescopes and control systems worldwide, General Dynamics further developed technical knowledge in South Africa industry so the investment in this scientific program can be leveraged for years to come. For more information please visit

GDMISSIONSYSTEMS.COM/MEERKAT 2017.06.Endvor-MeerKatAd-No-Bleed.pdf 1 6/12/2017 10:52:58 AM

Helping the World’s Scientific Community Unravel the Mysteries of the Universe for Over 30 years








K ©2017 General Dynamics. All Rights Reserved

Endeavour Magazine | 37

SKA AFRICA “South Africa has already demonstrated its excellent science and

creating great opportunity for a large group of young scientists

engineering skills by designing and starting to build the MeerKAT

and engineers with the necessary world-class expertise in such

telescope as a pathfinder to the SKA,” Dr Bernie Fanaroff, SKA’s

technologies. This will prove to be crucial in the development of

former Director, now key Strategic Advisor reveals. “The first seven

super-computing over the coming decades, which will have an

dishes, KAT-7, are complete and have already produced its first

impact on data transport, the creation of large sensory networks,

pictures. It has created a bit of a media storm and we’ve attracted

radio software and imaging algorithms.

great interest internationally.”

“MeerKAT will be the most sensitive radio telescope in the

Close to 100 young scientists and engineers are working on the

southern hemisphere until SKA comes online,” Bernie is quick to

MeerKAT project. Based at the engineering office in Cape Town,

point out, “It is by this credit that leading radio astronomy teams

and at universities and technology companies across South Africa

around the globe have already signed up to use the instrument as

and Africa, these researchers interact closely with SKA teams

soon as it is ready.” The concrete for MeerKAT’s maiden antenna

around the world. In collaboration with South African industry

foundation was poured on Wednesday 14 August 2013 at South

and universities, and collaborating with global institutions, the

Africa’s SKA site in the Karoo - the first of 64 similar foundations

South African team has developed technologies and systems for

that have been built since for this telescope, each foundation

the MeerKAT telescope, including innovative composite telescope

consisting of 78 m³ concrete and nine tons of steel.

dishes and cutting-edge signal processing hardware and algorithms.

“Designing a foundation for a high-tech telescope is complex

More than 500 international astronomers and 58 from

and challenging since it has to meet a set of stringent requirements,”

Africa have submitted proposals to do science with MeerKAT

Tracy Cheetham, General Manager for Infrastructure and Site

once it is complete. One of the reasons is that the technology

Operations at SKA South Africa explains.

being developed for MeerKAT is cutting-edge, and the project is

38 | Endeavour Magazine

“The foundations must ensure that each of the 19-m high

antennas with its 13.5 x 16 m main reflector will be exceptionally

the MeerKAT science case - just much more ambitious,” he explains.

stable and able to point accurately at distant celestial objects at

“Our researchers and students who participate in the MeerKAT

wind speeds gusting to 69km/h as well as survive wind speeds

surveys have a huge advantage. They are well placed to enter SKA

of up to 144 km/h. Another challenge for the design team was to

Phase 1. They have the opportunity to become science leaders in

ensure that each antenna was carefully earthed and would not be

future SKA projects.”

damaged in the event of a lightning strike.”

Great for the world, great for the Southern African region, and

Since it was founded in 2005, the African SKA Human Capital

great for the future of humanity, the SKA and its MeerKAT precursor

Development Programme has awarded hundreds of grants for

are magnificent projects to watch over the years to come. They are

studies in astronomy and engineering at undergraduate and

a reminder that, even in a world gone seemingly mad at times, in

post-doctoral level, while also investing in training programmes

the grand scheme of things we are all very, very small, and still only

for technicians. Astronomy courses are being taught as a result

beginning to learn how to understand the universe around us – but

of the SKA Africa project in Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar

soon, will be that important step closer.

and Mauritius, with further courses to begin in other countries in due course. Prof Justin Jonas, Associate Director of Science and Engineering at SKA South Africa, is very excited about the role that South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope will play in the future of the SKA. “The decision recognises MeerKAT as a key instrument that will make up one quarter of the SKA Phase 1 mid-frequency array, and the science planned for SKA Phase 1 is very similar to

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A FUSION OF AESTHETIC BEAUTY AND FUNCTION A recognised Alpha+ city that falls behind only London, New York, and Tokyo in the world global city rankings, Dubai is a location that needs no introduction, such is its global reputation for grandeur and conspicuous wealth. It is the crown jewel that symbolises the UAE’s growing international prestige, and an engine of growth that has enabled the diminutive nation to make economic and political waves that far bely its size. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


With its soaring skyline, a glittering forest of striking

and exquisitely designed skyscrapers and structures, Dubai is utterly breath-taking in terms of its aesthetics, and every inch the futuristic cosmopolitan metropolis for which it has become known.


uch credit for the successful fusion of visual splendour, grand

peers and clients alike, and for many years the company was the

design and effective municipal function, which includes

go-to firm for small to medium size projects in Dubai. The past

iconic buildings like the Burj Khalifa and Atlantis, The Palm,

15-years have proved to be a gamechanger for the company,

to name but a few, must of course be given to the city’s rulers, who

however, during which it has experienced a quite incredible upturn

have been proactive in orchestrating Dubai’s rise to greatness. But

in terms of its number of projects, and their size and scale. Today,

if Dubai’s rulers are to be credited for their vision and ambition,

NEB is regarded as a big-project specialist, having now completed

then companies of the stature of National Engineering Bureau must

some of the most iconic projects, and it is no coincidence that

also receive their share of credit for being the primary instruments

this has occurred since Jamil Jadallah’s arrival at the company in

of their will.

2002. Since he entered the industry in the 1990’s, Jadallah has

Since the company was first established more than 30-years

amassed great knowledge and expertise which he has since used

ago in 1984, National Engineering Bureau (NEB) has helped play

to transform NEB. In particular, his collaborative approach to

its part in a rapid transformation that has seen a sleepy fishing

management, inspired his staff to become the best that they can

village become one of the world’s greatest cities in less than a

be, both in a professional and personal capacity.

generation. Headquartered in Dubai but with licenses to operate

Hard work, honesty, and loyalty are the values that underpin

in all seven emirates, NEB has developed an impeccable reputation

NEB’s accomplishments over the years, and no more is this evident

for excellence as a leading service provider of architectural and

than in the way the company works with clients. Jamil elaborated

engineering consultancy solutions.

on this, saying: “We work with our clients, offering support on all

“National Engineering Bureau is a multidisciplinary consultancy,

stages of the projects in the hopes of executing and a successful

providing A-Z solutions for projects. We offer support from design

project meeting the requirements of the client and the needs of

all the way through to site supervision, with a staff count of over

the end user. We believe that working with the client to guide and

470 and over 33-years of experience within the GCC region,”

support and realise their vision, that we can build a relationship

explained Jamil Jadallah, NEB’s Managing Director. He continued:

based on trust and hard work, resulting in repeat business and a

“We work predominantly within the UAE, however we do have

successful working relationship. Having been established within

projects in Oman, India, Turkmenistan and plan to move further

the region for over 33 years, we have carved out many long lasting

afield in the near future.”

successful relationships which emphasises our work ethic and

NEB has long-been respected within its field by its industry 42 | Endeavour Magazine

commitment to our clients and their projects.”


Upon taking on a project, NEB’s architects first take the time to get inside the client’s mind, so to speak, and gain a sound understanding of their vision. Only once they understand the client vision can they can set about realising it. Each individual project represents a new beginning – there are no preconceptions, no templates to work from. The slate is clean. This is because each project is treated as bespoke, tailored only to that particular client. “NEB’s success can be directly linked to our long-standing working relationships; however, we believe it’s our work ethos and commitment to establishing and maintaining such relationships that has attributed to the company’s success and continued growth. We believe in working with all developers and nurturing each project if there is genuine investment and belief in the project.” The result of fostering strong, customer-centric relationships with clients, and of investing the time and resources to discover exactly what it is they desire, has led to the successful completion of dozens upon dozens of exquisite buildings, both at home in the Middle East and further afield. Over the course of the company’s three-decade history, the company has completed an array of highprofile projects, which includes banks and shopping malls, towering office blocks, residential areas, schools, hospitals, and even a clutch

Jamil Jabbar Endeavour Magazine | 43

NATIONAL ENGINEERING BUREAU of super-tall skyscrapers, including Marina 106 – the jewel in

during which it has been forced to come to terms with a new-normal

NEB’s crown, and a structure which upon its completion will be the

world of lower oil prices, the region has now stabilised somewhat.

second tallest tower in Dubai behind only the Burj Khalifa.

Following a strong finish to 2016, which saw NEB acquire many

NEB’s portfolio is first-rate, and showcases fully its ability to

new projects, 2017 has thus far continued in much the same way.

design and develop fabulous buildings that combine avant garde

“New clients as well as expanding in to a new sector of the market.

aesthetics with comfort and function. Naturally, these feats haven’t

This highlights a great example of growth for the company, with

gone unnoticed, and in addition to the company’s reputation as

plans to continue to take on new projects in new regions in the

a leader in its field in the Middle East, NEB is now beginning to

new future,” Jamil said, with regards to what the future holds for

gain international recognition that has seen the company voted

business. “Looking forward in to the 3rd and 4th quarter of the

amongst BD’s World Architecture top-100 firms.

year, we are seeing a lot more stability within our industry due to

It goes without saying that NEB’s success simply wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the company’s diverse and

the oil prices and forecasted projects coming from the government bodies in Dubai and the UAE.”

highly skilled workforce. Jamil Jadallah is understandably proud of

It appears that with ever more mega-projects and ambitious

his team, stating: “NEB currently has over 470 staff made up of

builds planned at home in the Middle East, 2017 and 2018 are

architects, engineers, interior designers, and office and site staff.

going to be fruitful indeed for the company. And that’s without

At NEB we understand the importance of our staff to the success

taking into account the world beyond, where NEB is planning to

and continued growth of our company. Many staff has stayed with

expand its horizons further. The sky’s the limit for Jamil and his

the company for many years growing and developing professionally


under our talented and experienced senior staff, resulting in promotions internally within the firm.” Following what has been difficult period for the Middle East,

Jumeirah Mixed Use Devtelopment

44 | Endeavour Magazine

Architecture Department




 Endeavour Magazine | 45

46 | Endeavour Magazine



Construction and engineering can be a tough, rough-and-tumble game, especially when the marketplace is as challenging as it is in St. Lucia currently. The St. Lucian economy has been mired in a prolonged slump, and its construction and engineering sector operators have found themselves treading water on more than one occasion. Amarna Consult Limited (ACL), however, has been an exception to the rule, and has enjoyed great success thanks to the powerful bridges it has built with a network of fellow partners and suppliers around the world. Amarna’s Managing Director, Akhnaton St. Rose, told us more. Endeavour Magazine | 47


It is telling that even over the course of what has been a pretty tough decade, Amarna has risen from its humble beginnings in St. Lucia to become a respected name in its field in the Caribbean. More than this, though, the company has reached out across the globe, and become a name that is highly regarded over continents.


marna has established a reputation for excellence as a Civil, Structural & Geotechnical Engineering firm, and has further developed its repertoire to include Architecture, Project

Management, Construction and Development services. As its portfolio of successfully completed projects shows, Armana has a penchant for delivering optimised and quality controlled designs at speed, and, most importantly, at value. It goes without saying that, to achieve this, ACL consistently offers a high degree of productivity and efficiency, and a design process, which combines cutting-edge technologies with the best and brightest talent the industry has to offer. Not that this tells the whole story, however. “We live like human beings who wish to enjoy everything we can. It’s not all about business and maximising profit for us. It’s not about egos. We prefer a simpler life of just partnering with people we like working with. We’re a small outfit based in St. Lucia that has gained the ability to work internationally, but there is no limit to what we want to do. We’re very ambitious and have very open minds,” said Akhnaton. So just how is it that a small engineering consultancy operating solely in a St. Lucian market develops a reputation for excellence, grows into a regional establishment and is now conducting business and knocking on the door of international markets on every continent? The answer is simple, in Akhnaton’s view: partnerships, collaboration, and a customer-first approach to doing business. He explained: “We have gone from being a local and regional operator to having a truly international reach, and this is thanks to our loyal, dedicated and exceptionally skilled team here at

48 | Endeavour Magazine

home, along with the strong partnerships that we’ve built with key

constructed over this project, with the first building structure

companies and suppliers around the world. I think that is the thing

consisting of a six-storey block with post tensioned slabs and

that excites all of us the most right now – the ability to export our

reinforced concrete moment frame on ductile iron piles. Since this

services globally.

project, several folks have started coming to us to ask us to provide

When pursuing ambitious projects, like a Design-Build proposal

a Value Engineering service to them too. This value engineering

for the Royalton Resort in Antigua that we are currently preparing,

service, which doesn’t compromise on build quality, is probably the

we will strategically partner and associate with other companies

achievement I’m most proud of.”

with whom we can share mutually beneficial relationships. For

The rest, as they, is history. It was as a direct result of this

instance, our in-house Engineering & Architectural capabilities

breakthrough that Amarna became acquainted with companies

mesh well with the specialist skills available within Complete

like SpeedFloor and Coles Associates – two of the company’s

Marine Services Limited (CMS) based in St. Lucia for piling and

closest collaborations to this day, with whom it shares a powerful,

marine construction; Kee-Chanona Limited (KCL) out of Trinidad

and some might say symbiotic relationship. Akhnaton doesn’t

& Tobago for tall building construction; and SpeedFloor USA

see other technically sound and thriving companies as rivals, but

operating out of Ohio who bring one of the lightest, fastest, easiest

rather as resources to learn from or partner with, harmoniously and

and safest to construct, light gauge steel (LGS) composite flooring

collaboratively to the benefit of all. He doesn’t believe in competing.

systems in the world to the table. In short, we partner with like-

He just believes in the company and loves his craft.

minded companies with whom we can share mutually beneficial

Amarna’s reputation as one of the best in the business has

relationships. In so doing, the interaction is enjoyable, effortless

been hard-earned, and Akhnaton is under no illusion as to what has

and potently efficient.”

made the company’s rise to the top possible in so short a period of

It is through collaborating with its small but incredibly strong

time: it’s small, crack team of professionals.

network of international partners that Amarna has managed to

“Our team is priceless. They are ambitious, hardworking,

operate across territories that Akhnaton and his team could only

intelligent, productive and still keep on striving to improve,”

have dreamed of working in ten years ago. Whether as a project

explained Akhnaton proudly. He continued: “Our staff are more

consultant, or a design-build contractor, or a partner to either, the company has taken on residential, government and commercial projects across a great many countries, which has enabled the company to continue generating revenue at a time when the marketplace at home in St. Lucia remains stagnant. Undoubtedly, Amarna’s international outlook is what has enabled the company to survive. The company’s rise to prominence was no accident. Up until 2011, the company was all but confined to the Caribbean market, but a chance contract from a St. Kitts-based company which was having a resort built on the island changed everything, as Akhnaton explained: “One of the largest Engineering Consultancies in Thailand had completed the Civil & Structural Engineering Design for a resort project in St. Kitts, and as a locally based engineer I was asked to review their proposal. After studying the design drawings, we proposed a more efficient structural solution for the building slabs, piling and foundations, which would enable construction cost estimates to be reduced from US$200 million all the way down to US$160 for the entire resort. CMS also played a major role in finalizing this solution. Upon our submission, we were invited to Thailand to make a presentation to the engineers who had come up with the original design. However, we found that they weren’t too keen on incorporating our recommendations in a revised design. In the end we were engaged as the Civil & Structural Engineering Designers and were able to help the developer realize tremendous savings. To date more than 100,000 sq. ft. of building floor area has been Endeavour Magazine | 49

AMARNA CONSULT important than anything else really for the success of our company.

through the European Patent Office for an innovative new LGS

They must be healthy, happy, and comfortable at work and at

structural flooring system – a product that he believes could prove

home. I try my best to show each team member that I am genuinely

revolutionary. With the help of its Madrid-based patent agent ABG

concerned about their well-being.

Patentes and business planning consultants HM Consultores in

I try to find out the three things that team members like doing most – love doing most, in fact. If we are all doing what we

Aveiro, the current goal is to establish multiple production lines, the first of which is to be in Portugal.

love, then it doesn’t feel like work, because it just isn’t. To ensure

“Traditionally, light-gauge steel used for composite flooring

efficiency, everybody works in specialist roles that best fit their

systems is one-way spanning. However, by using a two-way

interests and which they are most happy to do. This goes for

spanning system it basically utilises more efficiently the various

technicians, engineers, architects, administrative staff – everybody

materials engaged in supporting the floor loads, particularly the

here at Amarna.”

concrete. By developing compressive stresses in orthogonal

As is often the case with industry leading companies, there is

directions within the concrete topping in a horizontal plane, a

an overt recognition at ACL that its staff are the key to its long-

much lighter structure that can span much greater distances than

term future, which is why the company goes to great lengths to

traditional ones may be achieved. This will benefit clients, in that

invest in its team in order to help them achieve professional and

the lighter structure requires less materials, which drastically

personal self-actualisation. There is also an ingrained culture of

reduces cost,” Akhnaton concluded, on this subject.

openness and collaboration, which has led to the sharing of ideas

With no planned development path to speak to, Amarna is

and information, and an environment in which staff can make

unusual, in that it is drifting with great buoyancy at the top of its

recommendations to senior management and the leadership team

field. And with more as-of-yet undiscovered opportunities out

for the betterment of the company.

there for the company, both at home and abroad, one only has

In terms of what the future holds for ACL, these are optimistic times. The company is set to take a giant stride forward over

to imagine what further success lies ahead for Akhnaton and his remarkable team over the years to come.

the coming months and years, following its patent application

With our pluralistic cultural background here in the Caribbean, it is inevitable that our Architectural expressions be eclectic. The challenge now is to generate a style which can be embraced by all of us here in the Caribbean as our own, since that would reflect to the world that we have become a cohesive, independent and unified Society. We must therefore distill from the wide variety of Cultural influences an Architecture, which has popular meaning. Interisland Architects and Planners Limited (IAPL) – (formerly NLBA(WI)Ltd. in association with Interisland Architects and Planners and NLBA Architects Ltd. Trinidad) has been providing a complete range of architectural services in the East Caribbean since 1946.

50 | Endeavour Magazine


Practicing in the Caribbean since 1946

Distinctive ArchitecturalLIMITED Style born INTERISLAND ARCHITECTS AND PLANNERS IAP INTERNATIONAL INC. out of the Caribbean climate and Formerly NLBA(WI)Ltd. inan association with Interisland Architects and Planners and awakening awareness of our rich NLBA Architects Ltd. Trinidad. historical and cultural heritage in an era of post-Colonial Independence.

Practicing in the Caribbean since 1946.

The work of the Firm reflects the emergence of a distinctive Architectural Style born out of the Caribbean climate and an awakening awareness of our rich historical and cultural heritage in an era of post-Colonial Independence.

We offer full architectural and interior design services from project formulation and inception, design, development, construction documentation and contract administration through to final With our pluralistic Cultural background here in the Caribbean, it is completion inevitable thatand ourpost-construction Architectural expressions be eclectic. The challenge now is to generate a style which can support services. be embraced by all of us here in the Caribbean as our own, since that would reflect to the world that we have become a cohesive, independent and unified Society. We must therefore distill from the wide variety of Cultural influences an Architecture, which has popular meaning. Interisland Architects and Planners Limited (IAPL) – (formerly NLBA(WI)Ltd. in association with Interisland Architects and Planners and NLBA Architects Ltd. Trinidad) has been providing a complete range of architectural services in the East Caribbean since 1946. 1

(758)452-9300 (758)452-0430 P.O.Box 2147, Gros Islet Saint Lucia, West Indies


IGNITING EXCELLENCE If coastal cities like Durban and Cape Town, with their perfect ivory beaches, blue skies, sun and surfboards, are the chic playgrounds where South Africans go to let their hair down, then Gauteng in the country’s north-east plays an altogether more serious role as the country’s economic and political centre of gravity. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI

CITY OF TSHWANE An industrial heartland, home to a vast majority of the

country’s mining and heavy industry sector as well as mighty Johannesburg, Gauteng’s US$112 billion GDP generates 33% of the national GDP, and an astonishing 10% of the African continent’s total GDP. No less important, however, Gauteng is home to City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (City of Tshwane) and the “Jacaranda City” of Pretoria – South Africa’s executive capital and political centre in which the country’s national government presides.


tretching 120 km across and more than 100 km from its

and technology, electronics and information technology, as well as

southern-most point to its northern tip, the City of Tshwane

defence, design and construction.

is the largest metropolitan municipality in South Africa, and

In an urbanised world where more than half the world’s

surely the most diverse. Rolling green hills and quaint farmland

population is concentrated in cities, it is more important than ever

juxtapose with the grand Jacaranda tree-lined streets, striking old-

that the likes of Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg step up to

world architecture, and towering cityscape of Pretoria. This quite

the plate. Cities are now the hubs around which the lion’s share of

beautiful region has long been regarded as the jewel of the South

global GDP and innovation is generated. They provide the largest

African north, and a cultural hub that is regarded by the regional,

concentrations of customers for businesses wishing to sell goods

national, and international business community as one of the most

and services, and act as a magnet for highly skilled and highly

desirable areas in the country to do business.

educated top industry talent who flock only to the global cities

The City of Tshwane has made great strides forward over the

that they feel will provide them opportunity and fortune. For South

past decade in terms of development, both in delivering improved

Africa to succeed in realising its incredible potential, and rise to

services and living standards to the 3 million people who call the

become a nation with genuine global power credentials, its cities

region home, and in providing the first-rate infrastructure needed

must show both the business community, and indeed the world,

to show the international community what Pretoria really is – a

that it has the means to meet their aspirations, and offer safety,

bustling urban centre that is every inch a global city on the rise.

sustainability, and well-being in an environment steeped with

Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cllr Solly Msimanga, says Tshwane is open for business. “With easy access via road and rail to

history and culture. Fortunately, these are attributes that the region possesses in abundance.

the OR Tambo International and Wonderboom National Airports, a

The cultural heritage of Tshwane, particularly in Pretoria where,

network of roads to neighbouring cities, and the Gautrain and BRT

following decades of turbulence and struggle, South Africa’s hard-

networks for easy commuting, doing business in Tshwane is much

won democracy was born at the city’s iconic Union Buildings, there

more than just being situated in the capital of South Africa.

is a great sense of pride that manifests itself in a commitment

And it is not only large enterprises – whether commercial, industry, or construction – that benefit; in prioritising the strategic

to empower its people and realise Nelson Mandela’s vision for a bright, inclusive society for all, regardless of race or creed.

national goals of job creation and sustainable growth, we continue

Tshwane’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Solly Msimanga, says the City

to concentrate on the creation of growth-oriented SMMEs. We

of Tshwane’s new focus is grounded by three key elements namely

invite entrepreneurs and business people to explore the various

Stabilisation, Revitalisation and Delivery.

established industrial areas available in Tshwane and capitalise on these opportunities and create centres of employment.”

“The City’s new Integrated Development Plan and Mediumterm Revenue Framework sets out our new vision and political

From a bustling CBD to its serene office parks, the City of Tshwane

priorities for the City. We can finally begin to roll out value-for-

offers opportunities for any size of business - from the all-important

money capital projects meant to benefit our people and boost the

small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME) and entrepreneurs,

economy of the city”.

to high-technology firms, global commercial operations, as well as

“Being an African capital city will require us to do things

light and heavy industry. With a solid foundation stretching back

differently and set a good example for other cities. Our IDP

many decades, the City is a proven leader in education, research

document presents our desired vision for 2030; that of a

54 | Endeavour Magazine

Endeavour Magazine | 55

CITY OF TSHWANE prosperous capital city through fairness, freedom and opportunity.”

BPO operators. The Tshwane BPO Park will provide a globally

The City’s strategic plan is to provide essential services and

competitive facility to both the public and private sector. It is

infrastructure, fight poverty and build clean, safe, and healthy

poised to become the centre of excellence for BPO/M in South

communities, and facilitate the growth of Tshwane as a world-class

Africa, providing a one-stop shop for all BPO needs. This park will

finance and business hub.

be the first rural BPO park in South Africa.”

The City of Tshwane’s commitment to becoming a “smart city”

Tshwane is also a key manufacturer and assembler of passenger

which creates sustained, balanced economic growth and a high

vehicles. According to the Automotive Industry Development

quality of life for citizens by aligning, integrating and developing a

Centre, the city produces 40% of South Africa’s automotive output.

common vision between industry, research institutes, universities,

The recent expansion plans of BMW (R6 million) and Nissan’s

and local government, is in line with this aim. To help streamline the

increase of its units from 40,000 to 80,000 in their plants in

process, the City of Tshwane and the City of Oulu in Finland have

Rosslyn bear testimony that this industrial hub is full of potential

entered into a twinning agreement to help Tshwane achieve smart

and opportunity.

city status. Additionally,

High on the City’s development agenda is the establishment work






of the Tshwane Automotive City – a special economic zone where

Outsourcing (BPO) Park is ongoing and is expected to be completed

a chain of auto suppliers will be located. The programme is in

in February 2018.

partnership with the Automotive Industry Development Centre,

Executive Mayor Msimanga: “This initiative is set to be a

the motor industry and the Gauteng Provincial Government.

game changer in this space which will see Tshwane gaining first-

With a future that shows every sign of being as rich as its past,

mover advantage to other regions in accelerating industry growth,

the City of Tshwane is a region that is on the up, and a model of

attracting private and public investment, facilitating job creation,

municipal success fit for the 21st century. There is little doubt


skills development and infrastructure development. It is also set to

that over the years to come, the region will increasingly catch the


position the city as the BPO location of choice for local and global

attention of the world for all the right reasons.







CITY SPACE TO THRIVE Growthpoint Properties creates space to thrive using innovation and sustainable property solutions. The properties it owns, manages and develops make a positive difference to the people who use them, the businesses occupying them, and the communities and the environment surrounding them. In this way, Growthpoint creates value for all its stakeholders, including the cities in which it invests. This ethos has grown Growthpoint into a leading international property company invested in a diverse, quality portfolio of more than 530 commercial properties across South Africa, and in Australia and Europe.

56 | Endeavour Magazine

NOVOPRO WWW.NOVOPRO.CA // +1 514-286-0004

FROM THE GROUND UP If you’ve never needed the services of a project management operation, you won’t have experienced the genius that is NOVOPRO; a Canadian-based company that makes industrial project planning look like a walk in the park. Endeavour Magazine got up close and personal with the team to find out exactly why everyone could benefit from their services. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


If project management sounds like a dark art to you,

you’re not alone; gone are the days when it simply involved delegating the overseeing of progress to someone with a different coloured hardhat.


hese days, project management is a complex, specialist

years of experience, engineers at NOVOPRO have acquired the

undertaking that can mean the difference between a

knowledge and expertise necessary.”

logistically difficult, time-consuming and expensive idea being

Don’t be bowled over by technological knowhow just yet though,

made feasible, or simply being relegated to the pile of impossible

as while this is an impressive knowledge base all on its own, the

dreams. Speaking about the company itself, the team at NOVOPRO

team at NOVOPRO are just as well versed in other fields. The list is

revealed that;

seemingly endless, but includes magnesium and potash industries,

“We specialise in developing, engineering and managing projects

life sciences, environmental engineering, research & development

and related technologies as applied to the mining and metallurgical,

and, to top it all off, public institution projects. It wouldn’t be a

mineral processing, chemicals and life sciences industries. We have

stretch of the imagination to assume that there is nothing the

been involved in assisting clients to develop a number of projects

team doesn’t know, but what are the day-to-day specialisms of

from inception and feasibility, through to financing, implementation

NOVOPRO? They are actually split into three disciplines; project

and finally, start-up. Our experience has been gained through the

development, project management and project engineering.

development of projects ranging in capital scope from $500,000 to $800million.” There’s certainly no doubting the impressiveness of those figures, and given the technical nature of the industries that

Project development might sound like a fancy way of saying planning, but in reality, there is far more to it: “Conceptual



feasibility studies,


NOVOPRO works alongside, it seems a fair assumption that every

development, preparation of capital and operating cost estimates,

member of the team is highly qualified and continually supported,

financial model simulations and assistance in obtaining project

in a bid to remain at the very top of his or her game. The truth is


even more complex than you might already assume:

Project engineering focuses far more on the design elements

“For projects in the mining and metallurgy sector, a requirement

involved in new industrial projects, including technical drawings

for processes and technological development and adaptation is

and 3D modelling, but it really is at the project management phases

required, which are based on local raw materials and site conditions.

that NOVOPRO comes into its own:

A sound knowledge of the major players with regards to available

“One of NOVOPRO’s core competences is project management,

technologies and related equipment is also essential in designing

which in every project, has the most potential to determine the

production plants that are cost-effective and reliable. Through

outcome in terms of successful implementation. The lessons learned

60 | Endeavour Magazine

NOVOPRO over the years have provided the managers at NOVOPRO to use

projection, managerial procedures, and other requirements that

sound methodology and diligence in making recommendations for

drive a project as it unfolds. This grants us the required skills when

decisions to be made by the client. Providing the correct information

interfacing with clients and assisting them in the decision-making

at the appropriate time is what is essential for a sound decision


to be made and project management ensures this and therefore,

There is the crux of the matter: clients HAVE to be able to trust

drives all other disciplines to produce the tools required for the

their project management professionals to act as representatives

project to run safely, on time, and on budget. Considering project

and stewards. It’s not enough to simply take an objective look at a

management as the key ingredient in developing and implementing

company’s modus operandi and attempt to copy it, as an intrinsic

projects, NOVOPRO has made a point of emphasising this aspect

immersion into the culture, beliefs and ambitions of a client is the

of its capabilities by choosing skills within our team members, in

only way to truly work alongside them. This is vital for their benefit,

order to render efficient and effective services in every field.”

which is exactly why NOVOPRO does it, every time.

There’s a lot of ‘team’ talk going on here, and that is important,

We can’t doubt the heritage, expertise and success of

given that NOVOPRO seeks to create a cohesive and integrated

NOVOPRO, but what does the future hold? Naturally, a huge

collaboration with clients. It’s not a case of ‘them and us’, but ‘we’,

number of projects are on going, too many, in fact, to talk about

as soon as NOVOPRO has been commissioned to undertake a

all of them, but a notable addition to the portfolio is a contract


with Valleyfield Fertilizer Corp., as Jay Hussey, Vallyfeild’s President

“NOVOPRO works closely with the client and other consultants


as one close-knit team, the client’s interests always being regarded

“NOVOPRO will represent Valleyfield’s interests in advancing

as our primary objective. Having worked closely with and as

the project through to full production, including activities being

consultants, we are well aware of all operational aspects of projects

performed under the Engineering, Procurement and Construction

such as project control, cash flow forecasting, scheduling, manpower

contract awarded to SNC-Lavalin. Once complete, the Quebec-

62 | Endeavour Magazine

-2000 based SOP facility will be the first in North America to utilise the proven Mannheim Process. Quebec-based NOVOPRO has a proven track record in our particular segment of the fertiliser industry and a depth of skill sets that will serve to protect our interests as we proceed through the technical and construction phase of the project.” Endeavour Magazine will be watching closely, to observe how NOVOPRO continues to set itself apart from competitors, while operating on a global scale and maintaining close-knit relationships with clients. This might not sound like a manageable task, but never forget that NOVOPRO oversees seemingly impossible projects every single day.

VEOLIA’s fertilizer industry experience

ensures industry leading technologies, process design, and project execution. HPD® Crystallization Technologies combined with Veolia’s experience, stateof-the-art testing facilities, and project execution capabilities provides producers a reliable partner in potash project development. Contact us for greenfield projects, capacity expansions, or systems evaluations. We also specialize in optimizing non-Veolia systems. Click here to learn more:

Expect Big Things for your Potash Projects with Veolia’s HPD® Technologies.


USA Tel: +1 815-609-2000 Endeavour Magazine | 63


THE COMPLETE PACKAGE We know that a lot of engineering companies claim to be able to deliver projects from inception through to completion, but in the case of ISD, that is no mere pretension. A premier civil engineering and roadwork development operation, ISD is significantly improving the Bahamian landscape, so Endeavour Magazine took a closer look to find out how. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve

encountered engineering companies that claim to be able to take all projects, small and vast, from inception through to design and completion. The trouble is, most end up outsourcing certain aspects, but that’s not how ISD works, and it’s the company’s inherent sense of pride that drives this one-stop professional shop.


n the company’s own words: “ISD is extremely proud to be Bahamian owned and operated.

We believe in a sense of community patriotism and are dedicated

to providing employment to local nationals.” Such a prevailing sense of locality has led to ISD creating a team of incredibly talented and committed in-house professionals. This

Partnered with developers on some of the largest projects in the region to provide integrated, tailored support. Including the supply of new and used machines, parts, service and repairs for heavy trucks, equipment, power generation, and small construction equipment. Flexibility, understanding and the ability to communicate with the client to ensure projects are completed within a time frame and on budget.


is essential, given that they need to be able to proficiently tackle both public and private sector projects, alongside community development initiatives. When you start to boil it down, ISD is clearly an organisation that is operating far beyond anticipated mandates. While the talents and ethics of ISD are notable, and for good reason, the sheer diversity of the projects that the team undertakes is guaranteed to stagger even the most hard-to-please clients. The professional services offered include civil and infrastructure works, water and sewer improvements, electrical works, design and construction, ports and airports, hardscaping, decorative water features and even industrial metal building frameworks. If you can think it, ISD are more than likely to be able to design and create it for you, which is why their clients keep coming back for more. That, and the impressive legacy of growth that the company can demonstrate; “In 2009, Bahamas Marine Construction (BMC) ventured into site development work, including services on the Albany project,

21st Century Road, Off Six Way Roundabout, (Bahamas Mack Building) P.O. Box SP-63796, Nassau, Bahamas, P: 242.328.2463, F: 242.322.7049

and a joint venture was formed to determine their possible future

were pursued by the group and the decision was made to proceed

66 | Endeavour Magazine

business plan - BMC Underground Services Co. Additional projects

with a new company, which became Island Site Development (ISD). The assets of the shareholders for the venture were very substantial – more than enough to support the business plan of ISD. ISD independently supports its own working capital, plant requirements, bonding and insurance. It is also an approved contractor for the Water and Sewerage Corporation.” It’s hard to know where to begin, but let’s take a moment to fully appreciate the rarity of a large operation being formed thanks to self-funding. Whilst that’s impressive as a standalone fact, it becomes even more critical when you realise that it ensures client peace of mind. At no point can ISD fail, as it will mean ruin for known shareholders, and not just a faceless bank. This is something of a unique reassurance for everybody involved, as they known that ISD will prioritize its sustainability, and purports to the ‘if you build it, they will come’ school of thought as well. Essentially, what has happened here is an ‘invest your money and it will be successful’ approach and we applaud the tenacity and assuredness that was needed behind it. Such confidence is certainly inspiring, especially in a time period that has been witness to serious financial instability throughout every industry, the world over. The vision for ISD is somewhat simple, but maybe that’s the secret to success, as there are no false promises to live up to or unattainable standards set in stone. ISD state that they want;

Endeavour Magazine | 67

ISLAND SITE DEVELOPMENT (ISD) “To provide to our clients quality services and products within a

family, an approach that contributes to low staff turnover, higher

safe work environment, as well as developing local talent and skills

reliability and in turn, improved project competency. It’s true what

with our clients to achieve their stated goals while improving the

enterprise and ISD is one of a handful of operations that seems to

work environment and working morally and ethically to earn the

really understand that. 561.354.0114 to contribute to the economic stability of the Bahamas. To work they say, the staffing body really is the backbone of any successful privilege of being contractor of choice.”

With a number of multi-million dollar projects already

They plan to manage this by managing beneficial and

completed, ISD looks set to welcome many more into the portfolio

genuine relationships whilst acting as steadfast stewards for the

in the coming years and with former clients pledging to return, the

environment. That’s a tricky balance to maintain, but ISD know that

order book must be filling up nicely. After all, anyone can have a

the secret is to portion out separate concerns. To this end, client

PR team spin a good yarn as to how professional and respected a

expectations are managed outside of employee support, while

company is, but you can’t fake rave reviews like this;

environmental issues are subject to their own policies as well and

“We have found ISD to be willing to work as a team to ensure

yet, everybody remains happy. Speaking of employee support, ISD

that the work is completed satisfactorily in a timely and professional

takes a different approach to team harmony;

manner. Based on our experience with ISD, they are unquestionably an COMPLETE “We encourage our employees to seek training to improve the exceptional company and we do not hesitate to recommend them for DEVELOPMENT level of quality of work and efficiency of delivery, while creating a any size project.” PRODUCT SOLUTIONS family atmosphere that encourages longevity.”

Baker’s Bay.

Transmission Mains This isn’t just lip service, as ISD is fully committed to sourcing Just one of many glowing testimonials, this should give you Non-Revenue Water all talent from the Bahamian population, in a bid to give back to an idea of just how cherished ISD is, as a one-stop resource in Housing Developments the region that elevated the company to such impressive levels the Bahamas and we hope to report back in the future about its Hotels & Resorts of success to begin with. Once team members are welcomed into continued success. Water Treatment Road & Highway the fold, they are genuinely considered to be a part of the ISD Golf Courses Airports & Seaports Commercial Mining & Landfills


AVEM WATER and ISLAND SITE DEVELOPMENT have developed a strong

partnership over the years. The companies provide a collaborative effort that give developers, facility owners, and municipalities the power to complete projects on time and on budget. AVEM Water understands what it takes for a contractor like ISD to succeed. This understanding helps ISD consolidate their total supply chain, logistics support, and ongoing project support along with the surety that estimated project schedules will be met. AVEM Water has proven to ISD that they are the complete development product solution. Contact them to find out how they can do the same for you.

68 | Endeavour Magazine


COMPLETE DEVELOPMENT PRODUCT SOLUTIONS Transmission Mains Non-Revenue Water Housing Developments Hotels & Resorts Water Treatment Road & Highway Golf Courses Airports & Seaports Commercial Mining & Landfills



EXCLUSIVITY AND BUSINESS EXCELLENCE Situated at the heart of Johannesburg’s prestigious north – an area renowned for its exclusivity and highly regarded as a commercial, industrial and retail hub, Northlands Business Park Ltd is a company that has carved out a reputation for excellence. Operating strictly out of Northriding and Muldersdrift, the company has become a leading player in the city’s highly competitive construction sector, and oversees of one of the most desirable business parks in the region – a park that was built brickby-brick by Northlands itself. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


Darin D’Oliveira, Northland Business Park’s Managing

Director and Founder, is a man with construction in his blood. From humble beginnings, D’Oliveira has worked tirelessly to develop a once near-barren patch of land into what it is today – a bustling hub of industry that has grown to become one of Johannesburg’s most affluent business parks.

To Darin and the Northlands Team, It has been a great pleasure working with you for all these years. Best of luck with your future projects.

Andy, Keith and the Hollyberry Team


entered into the construction sector in 1987 after completing my national service, first with LTA, and started Dolveira Developments with my brother, who was also a

civil engineer. I joined my dad in his consulting business prior to this, but it lacked the excitement of a big concrete power. My brother and I did a lot of residential developments and contracts for Group Five, and it was later in 1999 that I was approached by Guerrino Cellini to join him in developing Northlands Business Park. We opened Northlands Business Park Ltd in 1999 and proceeded to develop the entire Northlands Precinct, consisting of Northlands Business Park, Deco Park, Production Park, Industrial Park and Commercial Park. In 2013, Cellini and I dissolved our partnership and I took over 100% of Northlands Business Park Ltd.” Over the course of his 18-years leading Northlands Business Park Ltd, Darin has overseen the design, development, and construction of 700,000m2 of premium business property, comprised of buildings ranging from steel framed warehouses and factories to smaller external-face brick and glass buildings. Every inch of our developments, has been built with a discerning clientele in mind, and a conscious effort has been made to create a lush and

72 | Endeavour Magazine

NORTHLANDS BUSINESS PARK visually striking business park which is environmentally sustainable,

Northlands Business Park’s excellent positioning, which makes the

fit for a Johannesburg on the rise:

precinct easily accessible by both the N1 and N4 Highways, and is

“Northlands prides itself by building with as much energy

within striking distance of O.R. Tambo International Airport. This

efficiency as possible. We encourage the use of double glazing

convenient location and the business park’s wide array of onsite

polystyrene under floors and between brick walls, and the use of

amenities easily positions Northlands Business Park as the equal to

solar power. Attention to detail is our main focus and to produce a

impressive business hubs in any global city.

quality product at the best price.”

With these great attributes in mind, it is easy to see why

Magnificent sweeping tree-lined roads and paved walkways,

competition for a spot in Northlands is so fierce, particularly in

framed by well-tended gardens, run adjacent to the cutting-edge

the Deco Park area of the precinct, which stands within touching

architecture of vast warehouses and factories, retail outlets and

distance of Johannesburg’s affluent northern suburbs. Darin

showrooms. Truly, Northlands has succeeded in combining chic

elaborated: “From Northlands Deco Park, the precinct’s dedicated

design with nature to create a tranquil environment in which

retail park, clients have access to an exclusive customer base. From

anyone would want to conduct business.

here, many furniture and furnishings businesses operate, as well as

More than beauty and clean energy, Northlands makes another

interior renovation and building supplies outlets – a lot of people

promise in its business park; safety. The development is highly

come here seeking quality materials for this reason. This, combined

securitised, boasting 24-hour onsite security, electric booms

with Northlands’ competitive pricing of R70 per m2, has seen our

offering controlled access, and extensive CCTV camera coverage

retail clients flourish.

which monitors both the perimeter and interior of the park. If this

Business is booming at Northlands, but Darin doesn’t only

weren’t enough to attract the crowds, there’s the powerful draw of

credit this success to his park and its facilities; his highly skilled

74 | Endeavour Magazine

and professional team are essential for ensuring that the site keeps

40 000 m² of industrial space for Northlands Group Holdings,

ticking along smoothly and providing the high standards promised

namely Northlands Retail Park. We have also won the tenders of a

by its impressive design. They are also paramount in helping to

few residential homes at the Avianto Estate. Considering the state

ensure the successful completion of further construction projects

of the nation currently, we are very lucky to have as much work as

the company is committed to. Darin told us:

we do. There is always plenty of competition so one is driven to

“What sets Northlands apart from the rivals is that it is a small

keep providing a better service, and at a more competitive price

highly-driven team that are young and energetic working under my

than anyone else. The biggest obstacle at present is the time it

leadership with 30 years of experience. Northlands Business Park

takes to get plan approvals and township establishments through

has 14 employees. Staff are encouraged to enrol in courses that

the council.”

develop their skills. Staff grow within the company however the

Through hard work and self-belief, the story of Darin and his

number of positions are limited. Key staff in managerial positions

company is testimony to what can be achieved if you pursue your

are incentivised with profit share.”

goals with determination and commitment. Beauty, efficiency, and

In terms of what lays ahead for Northlands, the future appears as bright as the present. It is no secret that the South African

quality; suffice to say, Northlands is a company we’ll be watching closely over the years to come.

economy has been struggling in recent years, and this has certainly had a dampening effect on business, and yet Darin is happy to report that, going into the second half of the year, his business diary is filled. “Currently Northlands Business Park has a contract to develop

Endeavour Magazine | 75


THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE Wherever a high quality of life is sought for the inhabitants of a region, you can guarantee that a solid Ministry of Works department is present and looking to continually improve living conditions. In the case of Bahrain, that is very much the case; Endeavour Magazine took a closer look at the vital construction arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain government to find out what they are developing. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


Offering steadfast infrastructure in accordance with

all legal frameworks, the Bahrain Ministry of Works has taken on quite a challenge. Responsible not only for the strategic planning and design of all major road networks and vital drainage systems for the Kingdom, it also has the task of maintaining existing infrastructure and overseeing the construction of any new innovative additions.


dd to this the responsibility for every facet of public buildings

responsible organisation, the Ministry of Works is fully certified for

construction, from design through to project management,

everything it sets out to achieve. While priding and defining itself

and it becomes clear just how incredibly important the

in terms of the incredible project management skills that underpin

Ministry is. What is truly staggering, however, is that the reasons

the entire organisation, there is a clear focus on maintaining an

behind this careful management strategy are never forgotten. And

exemplar public-facing persona as well:

the Ministry themselves explain: “The Ministry aims to provide physical infrastructure that improves the quality of life for all residents of Bahrain. This

“The Ministry is a leading organisation in promoting public interest, equity and reach of services, transparency, sustainability and conservation of the environment.”

infrastructure supports national development goals by maximising

Before we explore the Ministry’s latest projects, which look

the potential of the Kingdom for economic progress. This economic

set to enhance the Kingdom even further, it is vital to understand

diversification is complemented by increased allocation of funds

exactly what the ministry is attempting to accomplish:

for community development projects and the improvement of existing infrastructure.

“The Ministry of Works is the construction arm of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain. It is entrusted with a major

“The Ministry is committed to constantly improving its services

portion of the public works sector and capital asset formation in

offered to the Kingdom. This objective is achieved through long-

Bahrain. With responsibility for public works and infrastructure

term research, which addresses a range of complex technical issues

engineering covering construction, roads and sanitary drainage

that Bahrain faces in the modern world. For example, an Integrated

projects, the Ministry has an extensive portfolio of projects across

Transport Study is underway to find long-term sustainable solutions

these key sectors. Implementation requires rigor, responsiveness,

to address vehicle saturation on Bahrain’s roads.”

flexibility and a high degree of coordination between development

Naturally, any government body should always be looking


for ways to improve the lives of the citizens that it oversees, but

“The works undertaken by the Ministry include a large number

in today’s world of complex politics, that isn’t always the case.

of small projects and services that are local in nature, such as small

The Kingdom of Bahrain really is setting a standard in terms of

schools, local access road sections, road safety works, signs and

responsible stewardship, and that is clear to see when taking a look

signals, sanitary house connections and repairs of the sewage

at the mission, values and vision that underpins the Ministry.

network. This is in addition to medium-sized projects and large

Committed to being a world-leading, professional and socially 78 | Endeavour Magazine

complex projects that are of strategic nature or of global community

BAHRAIN MINISTRY OF WORKS interest, such as ports, airports, hospitals, bridges, complex

second-phase developments to fishing harbours, a national theatre

interchanges and sports facilities that normally span several years

and a Bahrain students club located in Cairo. This heady mix of

to complete and require large budgets and specialist expertise.”

necessary infrastructure improvements alongside more cultural

Never undertaking a new project without the values of

installations aptly demonstrates the foresight of the Ministry and

excellence, integrity, professionalism, team spirit and effective

the acknowledgement that enrichment can only be accomplished

communication firmly in place, it may come as no surprise that the

through a mix of commercial and artistic collaborations.

Ministry of Works has been recognised with a variety of awards. Nor will it be a shock that the structure of the Ministry has evolved

Speaking specifically about the exciting Um Al Hassam Interchange expansion, the Ministry noted;

over a number of years to offer the very best in responsive and

“The Um Al Hassam Interchange represents a vital interchange

reflexive infrastructure solutions and support. As everybody knows

connecting Manama, Isa Town and Sitra, and these works are

that the key to a flourishing, successful and adaptive society as a

important to improving access for road users. We are confident

whole is a strong and reliable network of infrastructure – a rock-

that in increasing the capacity of the junction from 2200 vehicles

solid foundation for future initiatives.

per hour to 3800 vehicles per hour, the new junction will serve to

Originally comprising of four separate directorates, the Ministry

strengthen the Kingdom’s investment environment.”

was merged into just two back in 1992, covering public works,

Such initiatives show, without any question, that Bahrain will

electricity and water respectively, but it was in 2001 that the

continue to move with the times and look for new and innovative

Ministry of Works as it stands today was finally created, and the

ways to embrace change and commercial development, and

Kingdom of Bahrain has never looked back.

Endeavour Magazine will be front and centre to report on any and

Currently, the Ministry of Works is engaged in a number of

all future successes.

special projects, the most notable being improvements to the Mina Salam Interchange, expansion of the Um Al Hassam Interchange,

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Endeavour Magazine | 81


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