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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


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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.

  • Published in News

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
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