Harbour reconstruction project nearing completion

04 August 2017

Construction companies Stefanutti Stocks Coastal and Axsys Projects have partnered for the Maydon Wharf reconstruction project in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and they expect the project to be completed next month.

The project started in 2014 and entails the reconstruction and deepening of berths one to four, 13 and 14.

The project won the SAICE award in October last year for most outstanding civil engineering achievement in the railway and harbourprojects category for 2015/16.

Stefanutti Stocks Coastal MD Matthew Horwill said the biggest challenges with offshore and marineprojects are unforeseen conditions, such as geotechnical conditions, the weather, tides and swells, as well as objects encountered below the surface of the water.

For example, when Stefanutti Stocks Coastal excavated the existing shoreline and constructed the new rock revetment for shore protection in Port Nolloth, in the Northern Cape, the company discovered timber piles that were part of an estimated 100-year-old jetty.

This area of the project was considered a heritage site and Stefanutti Stocks had to take care during construction to preserve it.

Another challenge with offshore constructionprojects is labour unrest. “It is something we are sensitive to, as construction is a very labour-based and labour-intensive operation.

He adds that the construction sector is also affected by community unrest. Stefanutti Stocks is often required to employ unskilled general workers from surrounding communities and provide them with training, skills, experience and growth opportunities.

However, Horwill notes, often, the number of work opportunities expected by communities exceeds those that are available, even on large constructionprojects.

Stefanutti Stocks also has bursary programmes providing support for people, particularly from poor, disadvantaged communities, by sponsoring their tertiary education.

“Skills development is key to the business and its sustainability. The primary focus is to make sure we have a pool of talent available, but we also focus on uplifting communities so that they have acquired sustainable skills by the time we complete a project and leave the area,” he notes.

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