Project and people awards for excellence in civil engineering

22 October 2014


The prestigious annual SAICE Awards gala event for the Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievements for 2013/2014 was held at the Durban International Convention Centre on 16 October. It was the first time in many, many years that the event has been brought to Durban and the Durbanites responded excellently by turning up in numbers – approximately 550 guests!

SAICE received more than 30 project entries from across the country to compete for these illustrious awards. It includes awards for international and technical excellence, as well as community-based projects. On top of that there are awards for the Engineer of the Year and other individual awards, as well as awards for projects entered by the SAICE technical divisions. The photo competition attracted more than 50 entries with civil engineering as the theme.

SAICE is proud to announce the winners in the following categories for 2013/2014:

Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Project Achievements are:

• Community-based projects

The winner

D1506 Upgrade (Road)
This project, under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), saw the steepest part of District Road D1506 (located in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, KZN) – a rough, dangerous track full of deep erosion gullies – upgraded using labour-intensive methods.

Naidu Consulting used the geo-cell system to construct a very cost-effective, all-weather road on exceptionally steep grades. The maximisation of labour-intensive activities yielded substantial benefit for local labour. The KZN Department of Transport also needed guardrails to be installed on the steeper sections of the 1.6 kilometre-long, and five metre wide road.


Kwapata Pedestrian Bridge
This project in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg, entailed the construction of adequate pedestrian facilities to ensure that learners of Kwapata Primary School could safely cross over an unguarded railway line, the Kwapata River and a wetland to get to school. Using local labour and labour-intensive construction methods, Naidu Consulting designed three separate bridge structures – a 78 m long bridge across the wetland, a 20 m long bridge across the Kwapata River and a 17 m long bridge across the railway line, creating much needed pedestrian facilities for the community.

The Kwapata project, has successfully married technically sound outputs with labour-intensive construction methods. The KZN Department of Transport funded this R360 000 project.

Technical Excellence projects

The civil engineering industry makes a huge contribution towards infrastructure creation with the resultant economic and social development in South Africa. Exceptional projects have again been entered and the adjudicators decided on joint winners and one commendation:

The winners are: 

Karatara River Weir: Technical excellence aspects
This innovative 80m long concrete weir across the Karatara River in Sedgefield is essential in regulating changing water levels in the Karatara River System and protects the permanent abstraction point against contamination. Using an open cylindrical caisson construction method, the weir was constructed of two metre diameter circular caissons stacked upon each other and two fully automated 4.5m long stainless steel estuarine gates were then installed in the weir. Throughout the project, a critical balance between functional design and a cost-effective end product was maintained, while taking into account the highly sensitive ecology of the environment.

Tuiniqua Consulting Engineers designed and managed this R5.9m project for Knysna Municipality. This is an innovative 80 metre long concrete weir across the Karatara River. As the gates close, a pool of potable water sufficient for 10 days is trapped, and also prevents salt water from migrating upstream to contaminate the fresh water.


The KwaMashu Interchange Upgrade
The pioneering conversion of the KwaMashu Interchange in Durban from a standard diamond road layout to an innovative diverging diamond layout has provided a low cost, effective means to enhance the interchange’s capacity and safety. It is the first application of a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) in the southern hemisphere and that in a left-hand drive road system. Aurecon was responsible for the conversion. SANRAL is happy with the 60% reduction in traffic delays in the interchange. At under R50m, the project saved more than R250m had conventional methods been used.


Malmesbury Wastewater Treatment Works Upgrade
In order to increase its capacity and remedy its discharge of sub-standard effluent into the Diep River, the Malmesbury Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) to the northeast of Cape Town was upgraded and its capacity significantly expanded using a membrane bioreactor (MBR). The upgraded WWTW consists of an innovative hybrid system incorporating the treatment works’ existing infrastructure and new MBR, and doubles its capacity from 5 Mℓ/d to 10 Mℓ/d average dry-weather flow. Apart from significant cost savings being realised through the state-of-the-art hybrid MBR, it represents a first in South Africa in terms of wastewater treatment and non-potable water reuse.

The Swartland Municipality needed a solution to extend the facility and Aurecon proposed innovative hybrid treatment works incorporating the existing conventional treatment works and the membrane bioreactor. The quality of the treated effluent exceeds the Department of Water Affairs standards. The project came at R114m, eliminating the risk of sludge spills into the Diep River.

• International projects of excellence where South African engineers are involved

The winner

Metolong Dam Pedestrian Bridge
The Metolong Dam Bridge in Lesotho is believed to be the first multi-span, pre-stressed concrete ribbon bridge built in Africa and provides a vital link between communities divided by the tail waters of the Metolong Dam. This 249m long by 50m high bridge employed an innovative design that was cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally friendly, and has no towers, stabilisers or large abutments that impose on the rural landscape.

The progressive design utilises precast units, after which the units are made through continuous utilising in-situ concrete and post-tensioning, resulting in the slender structure. The Jeffares & Green, RHDHV and GWC joint venture executed the R9.5m project for the Metolong Authority.


Environmental Engineering Projects (sponsored by Sika)

The joint winners are

The Electron Road Waste Management Facility
Jeffares & Green designed this first large-scale green-field Waste Management Facility in South Africa, which includes a refuse transfer station handling 1 200 tonnes/day of waste. eThekwini Municipality spent R135m as unique piling methods and systems had to be adopted. R19m was spent on empowerment, which surpassed the required target.


Karatara River Weir
Tuiniqua Consulting Engineers designed and managed this R5.9m project for Knysna Municipality. This is an innovative 80 metre long concrete weir, across the Karatara River with two stainless steel gates that open and close automatically. As the gates close, a pool of potable water sufficient for 10 days is trapped, and also prevents salt water from migrating up- steam to contaminate the fresh water.

Structural Engineering Projects (sponsored by Vital Engineering)

The winner

Metolong Dam Pedestrian Bridge
The Metolong Dam Pedestrian Bridge is believed to be the first multi-span, prestressed concrete ribbon bridge on the continent. The progressive design utilises precast units, after which the units are made continuous utilising in-situ concrete and post-tensioning, resulting in the slender structure. The Jeffares & Green, RHDHV and GWC joint venture executed the R9.5m project for Metolong Authority.

Project Management and Construction (sponsored by the University of Pretoria)

The winner

Kwale Mineral Sands Export Facility
WSP was appointed by Base Resources of Australia to manage the development of their Kwale Mineral Sands project, 50 km south of Mombasa in Kenya. The $33.5m project included amongst other facilities, providing a power substation, storage shed, administration building, load-out platform, conveyor system and ship loader. Primary engineering services were provided in-house.

Transportation Engineering Projects (sponsored by LIDWALA Consulting Engineers)

The winner

My CITI System
This HHO Africa project showcases appropriate architectural and urban design, careful placement of the station precincts, and detailed attention to hard and soft landscaping. The City of Cape Town needed to introduce dedicated BRT infrastructure, and the upgrading of pedestrian and cycling environments. R265m was enough to seamlessly continue from the Atlantis Corridor Inception Phase.

Water Engineering Projects (sponsored by SMEC)

The winner

Spring Grove Dam
TCTA needed to increase the water supply to Umgeni Water by 60 million m³ per year to
390 million m³. AECOM SA’s design and construction of the project prevented the migration of small mouth bass to upstream trout waters through the construction of the fish barrier. A hydraulic model study to dissipate the energy of overflowing water, formed part of the design of the spillway in this project worth R582m..

Operation and Maintenance – a special award

The winner

Mahatma Ghandi Sewer Pump Station
The eThekwini Municipality commissioned Hatch Goba to relocate the pump station at a site adjacent to the north shaft of the recently commissioned Durban Harbour tunnel. This project is a multi-disciplinary project incorporating unique engineering tasks resulting in the automatic control of the station, effectively creating an un-manned facility.

SAICE Institutional Awards for 2014

SAICE Civil Engineer of the Year (joint winners): Dr Peter Day (Jones & Wagener) and
Dr Eduard Vorster ― sponsored by Aurecon
SAICE Young Civil Engineer of the Year: Dr Cobus van Dyk (UWP) ― sponsored by the University of Pretoria
SAICE Technologist Achiever of the Year: Vishal Krishandutt ― sponsored by Nyeleti
SAICE Young Technologist of the Year: Jeanne Rossouw (NMMU) ― sponsored by
URETEK Geo-Systems
SAICE Young Technician of the Year: Lasedi Seeco (Geo Techniques) ― sponsored by
URETEK Geo-Systems
Project Manager of the Year: Peter Henderson (sponsored by Hatch Goba)
SAICE Student Chapter of the Year: The University of Cape Town ― sponsored by Nyeleti
SAICE Branch of the Year: Durban Branch
SAICE Division of the Year: Joint Structural Division

Most Supportive Advertiser of the Year
The winner of the 2013 Most Supportive Advertiser in the SAICE magazine, Civil Engineering, went to Knowledge Base.

The award is made annually by SAICE as the Institution’s way of recognising the continued and loyal support of its magazine advertisers. The award is based on the figures of the previous financial year, and is made not only on the strength of the amount of money spent by an advertiser, but also on factors like general cooperation, meeting of deadlines, and the timely settling of accounts. Without our advertisers our magazine would not be able to reach those civil engineering professionals and associates who depend on our magazine for vital information

SAICE would also like to acknowledge and thank our 2013 runner-up, Aveng Manufacturing Duraset.

LAFARGE Photo Competition 2014
SAICE initiated the photo competition to celebrate the beauty of the industry and to show the world that civil engineering can be visually pleasing. The photo competition is sponsored by LAFARGE SA, one of the major cement companies in Southern Africa that manufactures and markets cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregate and gypsum. Their slogan:

Build Better Stronger

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue