More sports and recreational complexes are being built in poor outlying areas of Limpopo as local government continues to prioritise the development of social infrastructure projects in the province.
In addition to keeping members of poor communities productive members of society, this social infrastructure serves other important functions. These are very evident on one of the latest sports complex and recreational construction sites in the province’s Mopani District.
Located just outside the Tzaneen central-business district, this site is providing more than 70 members of surrounding poor communities with construction-related jobs. Importantly, many are unskilled workers who are also receiving on-the-job training.
They are working alongside the teams of main contractor, Moepeng Trading 40, which arrived on site to commence work on the sports facility in July 2017, and the company is well on track to completing the project on behalf of the Greater Tzaneen Municipality by March this year.
Sky High Consulting joins the professional team as the consulting engineer on this typical Expanded Public Works Project. As design engineer, Sky High Consulting has ensured that the works are as labour-intensive as possible, while the firm has also been appointed to provide site supervision services to the municipality.
Themba Molaudi, project manager of Moepeng Trading 40, describes the project as fairly straightforward with very few technical challenges, barring a limited supply of water for building operations when the contractor commenced work on the project that was swiftly resolved by the client.
“Their simplicity is essentially what makes these projects so suited to developing the competencies and capabilities of unskilled members of rural communities, including women and youth. Meanwhile, they also provide ample opportunity to expose workers to a broad spectrum of general civil construction and building activities. This increases their chances of securing employment on other construction and building project once this one is completed. It is, therefore, critical that government continue to invest in this infrastructure,” Molaudi says.
Molaudi works alongside site agent Eleck Chauke, who is also confident that the project will be completed on time and well within budget.
Chauke attributes much of the efficiencies achieved on this site to the company’s extensive past experience helping municipalities deliver this infrastructure on behalf of their constituents. This is in addition to its ongoing involvement in further civil construction- and building-related projects in other provinces of the country.
Like so many other emerging contractors, Moepeng Trading 40 has its roots firmly planted in government infrastructure spending. Projects such as these have been an important source of work for these contractors, while providing opportunity to hone their skills and develop capacities to climb the Construction Industry Development Board’s Register of Contractors.
The complex comprises a sports centre, basketball and tennis courts, as well as a pitch, which was completed ahead of the builder’s break late last year. Moepeng Trading 40 also undertook the site clearing and bulk earthworks of the 1 500 m2 site and construction of the access roads.
This work, including the completion of the boundary wall, is being undertaken simultaneously to keep the project progressing according to schedule.
The construction of the large 300-seater precast concrete grandstand was built in just under a week, providing Moepeng Trading 40 with more than enough time in which to complete the balance of civil construction- and building-related work. By November 2017, as much as 80% of the project had been completed.
The construction of the podium was undertaken by Corestruc, and is just one of a number of grandstands this specialist contractor has already completed in the province and elsewhere in the country on behalf of municipalities and their professional teams.
Corestruc has developed a standard system – comprising precast concrete columns, raking beams and seating benches – that can be adapted to the varying podium size requirements early on in the design phases of the project.
They are manufactured at Corestruc’s state-of-the-art factory and transported to site where they are swiftly installed by its skilled teams, starting with the accurate surveying of the site. The company also assumes full project management of this component of the project.
Molaudi remains impressed by both the performance and workmanship of the precast concrete specialist which, he says, arrived on site once the foundations of the structure had been completed to commence installing the precast concrete columns.
“By outsourcing the construction of the super-structure to a specialist, we have been able to save on a lot of construction time and mitigate most of the risk associated with the works, bearing in mind our mandate that includes employing mainly unskilled workers. Corestruc arrived on site with its own mobile crane to safely lift and place each precast concrete item, eliminating the need to erect formwork or scaffolding. Its teams work independently of ours and the structure can be programmed at any stage of the project,” Molaudi says.
One of the many other advantages of this modular approach is the very high quality of the completed structure. This is considering the unprecedented accuracies and quality that is achievable in a controlled factory environment, contributing towards a more robust final structure to reduce maintenance costs.
The fabrication and installation of the structure’s fabric roof has also been outsourced to a specialist, while Moepeng Trading 40’s teams complete the external brick works and fitting out the inside of the structure. This facility will consist of a changing room and ablution facilities, again providing more learning opportunities for those employed on this site.
Thizylondy Mushwana, who has joined Moepeng Trading 40 as an intern, has been working closely with Molaudi and Chauke on this project, and confirms that she has been afforded a tremendous opportunity to gain on-site experience.
Mushwana is completing a National Diploma in Civil Engineering and intends pursuing a long and successful career in geo-technical engineering.
She is proud to be part of a growing number of females entering the industry as it continues to transform.
“It has been hard work, but invaluable experience that will stand me in good stead in the future. I have enjoyed seeing the project rapidly take shape, and witnessing for myself the many benefits it has already brought to this community of about 1 000 people. This is exactly what attracted me to the construction industry in the first place. I wanted to make a real difference to the lives of people, and I am certainly looking forward to the completion of the facility and its opening to the public,” Mushwana concludes.