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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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Franki Africa’s geotechnical champion

It takes more than the highest levels of ground engineering expertise and experience to be Keller’s Franki Africa, Africa’s geotechnical champion. Much more, It takes business acumen, customer service excellence, team-building skills, and a whole lot more.

Among the important skills required to wear this crown, especially in these challenging economic conditions, is the ability to reconfigure original tender specs to suit local conditions, the ability to run successful branches in African countries and, where no branches exist, to work across borders, sometimes in very remote and harsh environments often having to transport heavy machinery over very long distances.

Multisports Complex, Mauritius

One of these successful branches is in Mauritius where Country Manager Yannis Mongelard runs a tight and successful enterprise and one of the contracts which exemplifies both his branch’s and Franki’s all-round skills is the Mauritius Multisports project currently underway. The project involves the construction of a new sports complex for the Indian Ocean Games scheduled for July 2019 at Cote D’Or, St Pierre, Mauritius and includes athletic training grounds and track, a football pitch, an aquatic centre and a multipurpose gym.

The Government of Mauritius contracted the construction and development of the complex to the Mauritius Multisports Infrastructure Ltd (MMIL), a state-owned company. Mongelard says that the tender, which was launched in December 2017 with anticipated start in early 2018, stipulated 96 days for piling work. “This was not possible for a host of different reasons at that time,” he says.

Franki’s response was typical of the company’s ability to size up a situation and offer the client a different – and better – alternative. “We submitted a solution which was cheaper, allowed for an earlier start and which could considerably cut down the duration of the job under normal circumstances. Moreover, it enabled us to work with the plant we had on the island at the time, which contributed significantly to the cost saving on the project,” Mongelard says.

He adds that from the original piling-only solution in the tender, Franki further enhanced efficiencies with a solution comprising a mix of piling and ground improvement. “The original tender specs involved the installation of more than 850 Temporary Cased Auger piles of various sizes drilled to an average depth of 21 m. Our ultimate solution comprised ground improvement in conjunction with a mix of piling techniques optimised to support each of the structures.”

Mongelard says piling and ground improvement was required following geotechnical investigations, which observed worse-than-expected ground conditions. Moreover, the required bearing capacity of the backfilled soils could not be achieved and deep foundations (piles) were opted for,” he says.

The details of the accepted solutions were as follows:

Stadium & Skydeck:

432 nos x 610 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles to an average depth of 16 m

33 nos x 520 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles an average depth of 16 m


124 nos x 610 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles an average depth of 16 m

Aquatic Centre:

30 nos x 1 080 mm Auger piles to 20 m deep for the roof structure

180 nos x 520 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles for the back-of-house

493 nos x 410 mm x 9 m deep Rigid Inclusions for the main and warm-up swimming pools

Multi-Purpose Arena/Gym:

48 nos x 1 200 mm x 20 m deep + 7 nos x 1 200 mm x 6 m deep Auger piles for the roof structure

629 nos x 450 mm x 9 m deep Rigid Inclusions for the back-of-house and the field of play

While these solutions could have cut down on production time, it turned out that high rainfall and the clayey platform made it almost impossible to achieve the daily minimum production from the start. In addition, the platform works could not proceed because the earthmoving vehicles were unable to work efficiently. In this regard, Franki requested a thick stone mattress in lieu of the soft soil platform. This was provided drastically, improving productivity.

“In spite of six weeks being lost due to weather and related platform issues, works have already been completed at the Stadium and the Skydeck is still under progress – the newly agreed completion time was set for September 2018. The stone mattress, an additional piling rig and longer working hours have made that a certainty,” says Mongelard.

The piling works started early June 2018 and, in terms of budget, the cost of Franki’s alternative solution will still be less than the original alternative solution – hence the project is within budget.

“This is an important and high-profile contract in Mauritius and our success is based on excellent teamwork. The ability to work as a team and the support we have got, and always get, from Brian McDonald and the head office in general, is typical of Franki’s commitment to ensuring the best possible service to its clients,” concludes Mongelard.


Frank Africa contact details:

031 507 1051

Media contact:
Bridgette Macheke
MoonDawn Media & Communications

Tel: 011 079 5494
Cell: 073 400 1549
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Web: www.moondawnmedia.co.za


  • Published in News

Tanzania: construction of Rufiji Hydropower Plant imminent

Energy Minister Medard Kalemani has announced that construction work on the 2,115MW Rufiji hydropower plant is expected to commence in June this year. He said setting up of enabling infrastructure for the project execution, including construction of linking roads; electricity and water supply are now 80% complete, reports Tanzania Daily News.

“The project will be completed in 36 months, so it should be completed by 2022. The contractors have been given six months of mobilisation and they will hit the ground by June,” Kalemani said. He said execution of the mega project will require 30MW of electricity out of which the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) has so far supplied 10MW against the current demand of 7MW.

“I have directed Tanesco to ensure they provide the required electricity to avoid stalling the project. Other government institutions should work jointly to ensure that everything is in place for implementation of the power project," the minister instructed.

Last month, President John Magufuli and the Prime Minister of Egypt, Mostafa Madbouly, witnessed the signing of an agreement for implementation of the project between Tanesco and the Egyptian consortium, Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric, at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania’s budget proposal unveiled in May 2018 earmarked $307 million for the project, which will include the construction of a roller compacted concrete dam on the Rufiji river. The 134-m dam will have a storage capacity of 34 million cubic metres of water. The reservoir will be 100 km long and 1,350 km2 in surface area while the earth embankment will be 3.7 million cubic metres.

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Namibia: SDFN constructs hundreds of houses in Kunene

Juliane /Uxams, the regional facilitator in Kunene for the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), has entered into agreements with several municipalities, village councils and town councils for SDFN to build over one hundred low-cost houses in Kunene Region.

In terms of the agreement the federation was given virgin land, which the beneficiaries will de-bush and dig trenches for the installation of water and sewerage pipes. It was also agreed those listed as beneficiaries will make bricks and have weekly meetings where progress reports will be shared.

Based on affordability, monthly contributions are expected to be made and some beneficiaries that spoke to New Era said they made contributions ranging between N$250 and N$300 so that they could in turn access the housing loans being availed by the SDFN, to enable them to build a house comprising of one bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen, but if the beneficiaries want a bigger structure they are requested to provide the extra funds.

/Uxams said: "We are busy with hundreds of houses in Kunene. We want to do away with shacks." At Outjo, according to /Uxams, 72 houses are under construction, at Kamanjab eleven houses are under construction while at Khorixas 28 houses are under construction although 34 houses were supposed to be constructed.

Fransfontein settlement has completed 36 houses over the years, and there is a plot available for 126 houses at the settlement but due to challenges such as lack of sewage, water and electricity infrastructure funding construction did not begin yet, but according to /Uxams the construction of the houses is locally driven "and the beneficiaries must inform us when they are ready as we cannot say when the next phase will be".

At Opuwo, there are more than 300 people on the waiting list and approximately 30 houses will be constructed in the Kunene regional capital this year. Khorixas has 190 people on the list and Khorixas town council has availed a plot for about 150 houses.

"We want to upgrade informal settlements therefore those who own an erf at the informal settlement must rather build their house on it," /Uxams advises.

At Outjo alone there are 640 members who belong to the local shack dweller groups who are awaiting plots. The two regional facilitators say that the Kunene regional council, office of the governor together with local authority councilors have been of great assistance. Kunene Governor Marius Sheya, Outjo Constituency Councillor Johannes Antsino and Outjo Mayor Samuel !Oe-amseb have been making bricks for the houses. Antsino and his team work on constructing elderly people's houses at Outjo every Monday for four hours.

  • Published in News

LHDA appoints engineering panel for LHWP II

The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) on Tuesday announced the appointment of an engineering panel of experts for the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands waterproject (LHWP II).

The panel comprises a selection of experts from the UK, Europe, the US and Australia, with the combined knowledge covering tunnelling, bridges, concrete faced rockfill dams, hydro-mechanical and geotechnical engineering, grouting and construction.

“The LHDA’s appointment of an external panel of experts to provide technical reviews of the major works of Phase II reflects its commitment to implementing Phase II to the highest quality and in accordance with internationally recognised standards to minimise the risk of engineering errors,” explains LHDA Phase II divisional manager Tente Tente.

The panel, finalised in December, was introduced to the full scope of the multi-phased, multibillion-rand project, and met with LHDA CEO Refiloe Tlali and the Lestho Highlands Water Commission before embarking on a site visit to Polihali.

This follows the formal site handover to the Wilson Bayley Holmes-Ovcon/LSP Construction JV at the Polihali and Katse village for civils works, which includes earthworks and the creation of platforms for buildings, water and wastewater systems, landfill, roads, drainage and electrical and telecommunications networks.

The LHDA also engaged an environmental panel of experts to review social and environ-mental activities to ensure that its implementation of social, environmental and public health programmes are held to internationally recognised standards.

LHWP II, building on the successful completion of the first phase in 2003, delivers water to Gauteng and uses the water delivery system to generate hydroelectricity for Lesotho. LHWP II will increase the current supply rate of 780-million cubic metres a year incrementally to more than 1 270-million cubic metres a year.

Further, it is expected to increase the quantity of electricity generated in Lesotho, with the process to secure an independent electricity source to meet Lesotho’s domestic requirements. 

  • Published in News

Ghana’s US $3.1m Accra-Nsawam railway line to commence operation

Operations on the US $3.1m Accra-Nsawam rehabilitated train service in Ghana is set to commence by the end of January 2019 says CEO of the Ghana Railway Development Authority, Richard Dombo.

He added that a section of the Kotoku-Nsawam line will require additional work to strengthen the structural integrity of the track, dealing with encroachment and removal of unauthorised level crossings which resulted in the delays to commence the Accra – Nsawam shuttle service before the end of 2018 as planned.

Ghana Railway Company Limited is still running free services for rail commuters which started from January 8 to January 19 on the Tema-Accra line as part of its 120th Anniversary Celebration. Passengers will pay US $1 as a standard rate afterwards.

Dombo also said rehabilitation work on the 56-km narrow gauge line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta is nearing completion, and will lead to the restoration of passenger rail services from Tarkwa to Takoradi for the first time since 2007.

“The freight service from the manganese mine at Nsuta to Takoradi is in operation, and the ongoing rehabilitation has also led to a spectacular reduction in the number of derailments and incidents that occur on the line,” said Dombo.

Rehabilitation of the Accra-Nsawam railway line became necessary following a derailment of an Accra bound Diesel unit. The ministry decided to rehabilitate sections of the Eastern line.

The contract was signed in 2017 and was expected to be completed in seven months but extend due to unforeseen circumstances. Reviving Ghana Railways Company Limited gave 300 young people permanent work. Joe Ghartey, the Minister for Railways Development revealed that construction of the new standard gauge Eastern Rail Line will commence soon after the rehabilitation.

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Western Cape govt starts Holgaten trunk road improvement project

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has started a project to improve and reseal 16.5 km of trunk road between Holgaten and Oudtshoorn, and reseal another 6.7-km section of trunk road between Holgaten and Uniondale.

The first section is a major north-south link between Oudtshoorn and George, while serving the N12/R62 route to the Southern Cape. The second section is a major west-east link between Holgaten and Uniondale, serving the N9/R62 route to the Southern Cape. The R55-million project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The works on the project includes patch repairs to the existing pavement, shoulder reinstatement, general maintenance of major structures and resurfacing. Auxiliary lanes will also be built at certain locations along the first mentioned sector of trunk road.

The construction of six auxiliary lanes, on the first section, is expected to take place from mid-January to end-October, using 24-hour stop/go controls. Motorists can also expect such controls to be in place from February to May on the second section. 

  • Published in News

Dangote targets foreign markets in sales push

Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, said on Monday he expected to step up exports of cement and other commodities from Nigeria from this year as he focuses on foreign markets to boost sales and generate much-needed hard currency.

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Egypt to complete construction of 13 industrial complexes

Egypt is set to complete 13 industrial complexes this year, out of 22 complexes the government aims to construct in accordance to the strategy set by the ministry until 2020.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, said the complexes will be completed in 12 governorates and will have 4,300 industrial units. Nine of the 13 will be allocated to Upper Egypt which were left out during the past period.

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) will develop 15 million square metres of industrial land across the region. The ministry will start work on the first phase of a textile industry zone in Sadat City and an industrial zone in Abu Zenaima in the South Sinai govern-orate this year.

The complexes comprise areas ranging from 50 to 600 m to meet the needs of small producers or micro-industries. “We seek to limit the idle capacities of factories and work on their operation, whether through expansion or manufacturing for others. This represents a great opportunity for small producers who wish to start their small projects,” said Amr Nassar.

The ministry has also established updated databases on the percentage of local components and the names of products and companies as well as the industrial registry numbers in both the Industrial Development Authority and the Federation of Egyptian Industries. This is aimed at automating the calculation of the percentage of local industrial components which is based on the added value of the product.

“We are studying the establishment of a national company to help small producers export their products, especially to markets associated with Egypt in trade agreements, namely the African market,” said the Minister.

Newly appointed Head of the Industrial Development Authority, Magdy Ghazi, said that so far the construction of four complexes in the cities of Badr, Sadat, Port Said and Mergham, Alexandria are complete.

  • Published in News

Tanzania set to construct US $43m Royal Glory residence project

Tanzania is set to commence construction of a mega residential project in Mikocheni area of Dar es Salaam dubbed the Royal Glory resident project that will cost US $43m.

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Sales Manager for Capital Tanzania Business Centre, Leo Zhang, describes the project as one which will change the face of Dar es Salaam, where occupants will experience new life in the city, advocate for environmental protection and energy conservation as it will be free from pollution.

The Royal Glory residents will sit on a five acre plot and will feature 14 villas and 156 apartments. The facility will also be equipped with a swimming pool, children’s play area, a fitness centre, gym and a tennis court. Zhang describes the residence as a mix of opulent lifestyle and leisure space under one roof

The development of the project will take place in two phases and is expected to create more than 1000 job opportunities. Zhang added that 17 modern shops 38 to 400 m2 that will be available for renting next year.

CCECC which is responsible for developing the project, is well known for the construction of TAZARA  and is also involved in construction of houses, roads, bridges and urban development. In real estate they started with Dream Glory which is situated in the high class neighbourhood of Oysterbay area while the Royal Glory is its second.

  • Published in News

McConnell Dowell boosts order book to R11bn

Construction group Aveng’s Australian subsidiary McConnell Dowell, has secured contracts to the value of R8.5-billion in the first half of the 2019 financial year.

This supports McConnell’s baseline revenue for financial year 2020 and beyond. McConnell provides engineering and constructionsolutions to the infrastructurebuilding and resource sectors across AustraliaNew Zealand and the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Contracts awarded during the year so far include the Tuas water reclamation project, in Singapore; the Wingfold Tower luxury apartment complex, in Australia; and the Pukekohe wastewater treatment plant and the Stanley street stormwater upgrades, both in New Zealand

Additionally, McConnell has been selected to head up the Wynyard Edge Alliance, in Auckland, New Zealand. Working alongside Downer, BECA, Tonkin and Taylor, Auckland council and MBIE, the alliance will design and build the infrastructure to support the 36th America’s Cup in New Zealand, to be held in 2021.

McConnell said these contract awards underpin the company’s strategic plan of steady growth, reliable performance and being a valued business partner through a disciplined project pursuit pipeline.

The awards in the first half of financial year 2019 total over R8.5-billion, taking McConnell’s order book to R11.4-billion as at December 31, 2018, which is up 50% from the order book of R7.6-billion as at June 30, 2018. 

  • Published in News
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