Articles in Category: Industry news

Murray & Roberts Western Cape’s diverse order book

Current economic conditions dictate that companies that continue to succeed are those with a depth of construction expertise. These companies are able to undertake a range of projects, from new buildings to refurbishment work. The extensive experience garnered by Murray & Roberts Western Cape in this regard has seen it secure many high profile projects.

The company is also aided by the close relationships it has nurtured with its clients, which include many of the leading property developers in the province. This allows it to keep abreast of the latest trends in the construction industry. It also means that Murray & Roberts Western Cape is able to meet the full requirements of its diverse customer base.

Among its current order book are the expansion of the flagship Century City mixed-used development, the refurbishment of the existing tower blocks at Merriman Square, the new Melomed Hospital in Tokai and the new eTV headquarters building in the heart of Cape Town.

“Such a range of projects demonstrates that Murray & Roberts Western Cape is sufficiently flexible in its implementation strategy. This is a critical differentiator for us in these tough times. The construction industry has had to adapt its service offering as a result, and we are at the vanguard of being more responsive and innovative,” Dave Heron, managing director of Murray & Roberts Western Cape, says.

An excellent example of the company’s proactive approach to helping its customers cut costs and boost productivity is its work at Century City. Here Murray & Roberts Western Cape runs three distinct projects, namely Urban Square, Grosvenor Square and Bridge Park, from a single site office. “These contracts have a common service base that is responsible for high level administration such as construction drawings. The benefit for the client is a single point of contact and a much quicker response time to design iterations, which ultimately impacts on their bottom line,” Heron says.

The success of this integrated approach to project management is also reflected in Murray & Roberts Western Cape’s close working relationship with one of its main clients, the Rabie Property Group. “We secured the Bridge Park contract on competitive tender. Our success on that project in terms of delivery and quality placed us in an excellent position to carry on at Urban Square. As a result, we have been able to pass on major cost savings to the client. The fact that the two projects are in such close proximity means we do not have to duplicate infrastructure, which speeds up the construction process as well,” Heron says.

It is this customised and streamlined approach to individual projects that has seen Murray & Roberts Western Cape continue to secure high-profile projects. “Our focus is on appropriate engagement models in terms of specific projects. We cannot take a cookie-cutter approach by simply applying the same model to the next project. We approach each job differently, both in terms of its unique characteristics and the client’s specific requirements.

“Wherever possible, we strive to assist the client in meeting these needs in the most practical and cost effective manner possible. This means always paying close attention to the way in which we approach and carry out projects, as the tried and tested way of doing things does not always deliver the best results in terms of cost efficiency,” Heron says.

However, the nature of long term client relationships has changed as the construction industry itself has changed. “Our close working relationship with our clients acts as a barometer for the general state of the construction industry. This means we are constantly aware of the issues and concerns facing our clients and how their needs change accordingly.

“We now, more than ever, have to deal with smaller, less institutionalised clients as opposed to the insurance companies who were the major property developers in years gone by. We have to be sensitive to such dynamics, which often means having to establish special-purpose vehicles for each and every project,” Heron says.

One of the trends identified by Murray & Roberts Western Cape as the needs of its clients have evolved is the conversion of existing buildings into modern apartment complexes and the refurbishment and rejuvenation of older buildings. A case in point is the refurbishment of the two tower Merriman Square, also known as The Towers, in the Central Business District of Cape Town.

“What we are finding is that as some of the older buildings around Cape Town come up for refurbishment, a key requirement is increasing the parking space available,” Heron comments. Refurbishment projects pose their own challenges, however. At Merriman Square these included vacating the existing link between the two towers and incorporating a temporary entrance during the construction period.

Murray & Roberts Western Cape is recladding the façade with glass in order to render it more aesthetically appealing and modern. The respective 24 storey and 18 storey towers have existing basement parking, but a 13 storey parking garage is being added between the two towers. The project is on track, with the cladding completed on one tower and 70% finished on the other.

“We are running ahead of schedule due to the fact that we have a reasonable brief from a mature client, in addition to working together with a highly professional and solid team. It has been a showcase project in terms of logistics, co-ordination and project management. At the end of the day, the success of any project hinges on the amount of upfront planning and accurate scheduling that goes into it,” Heron says.

In contrast to this project is the flagship new eTV headquarters in Roeland Park for Sabido Properties, comprising six levels of studios and four levels of basement parking. A particular challenge here was the coordination of a large team of specialist sub-contractors responsible for equipping and fitting out the building. Another specialist new build project is the Melomed Private Hospital in Tokai, a 148 bed specialist facility with a cardiac, neonatal and paediatric unit for client the Melomed Group.

“We encourage all members of our team to engage with the clients and the professional teams, from the project managers right up to executive level. We also have a core team of seasoned professionals with many years’ of invaluable industry experience, in addition to a cadre of young up and coming professionals that we train through our own Enterprise Development programme, as well as initiatives such as the Go for Gold mentorship and training scheme,” Heron says.

Health and Safety is a major focus, with Murray & Roberts Western Cape having achieved 500 000 manhours without a single lost time incident at the mammoth Century City development, for example. “It is a testament to the Murray & Roberts Group’s STOP.THINK.ACT 24/7 campaign. This inculcates a safety culture from the top management right down to the workers on the ground,” Heron says. “We take health and safety very seriously as a collective responsibility, as it affects the well-being of every single employee in the entire group.”

Looking to the future, Heron says that Murray & Roberts Western Cape is well-positioned to continue adding to its legacy of being involved with some of the most iconic projects in Cape Town, from Portside to the V&A Waterfront. “The key to our success is our people, and the passion that those people bring to every single aspect of the job they do. We have established an enviable reputable in the Mother City for quality and delivery, and look forward to continue working with all of our major clients,” Heron concludes.

V&A Waterfront announces the ultra-luxurious Silo Hotel

In 2013, the V&A Waterfront announced its R500m philanthropic undertaking in the conversion of the historic Grain Silo complex into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. More than a year into the ambitious redevelopment of this heritage landmark, an exclusive 5,500m2, 28-key hotel, managed and operated by The Royal Portfolio, has been announced.

The Silo is an exclusive hotel in all aspects, including its special location atop the Museum with 360 degree mountain and sea views. Renowned industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, London is the architect for the reimagining of the Grain Silo complex, which combines both the museum and the hotel above it.

From the outside, the greatest visible change to the Grain Silo’s monumental structure will be the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the existing geometry of the upper floors, which will bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this will transform the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbour.

The size of the suites range from Luxury Suites at 41m2 with full height 5.5m glazing to the 120m2 double storey Family Suites, the 132m2 Royal Suites and the Penthouse which extends up to 211m2.

David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront said, “This hotel will offer something rather unique by virtue of its size and incredibly special location. We believe The Royal Portfolio is the operator that will deliver an exceptional guest experience and run the hotel to the highest, luxury boutique standard.”

In an independent economic impact assessment commissioned in 2012 and updated in 2014, findings indicated that future developments at the V&A Waterfront would contribute R223.7bn to the nominal GDP by 2027, over and above the R259.1bn contribution of the past 12 years. In addition to the contribution to GDP, development at the V&A Waterfront is responsible for impressive direct and indirect job creation. At its peak, the Silo District development, at a cost of R1.5bn, will have 2,000 workers onsite.

Green concluded, “Development at the V&A Waterfront is important in not only ensuring the destination remains relevant and fulfils market needs, but also in the economic stimulus it provides.”

Meet the Cape construction community

The Cape Construction Conference and Trade Expo will be taking place at the CTICC on the 12 – 13 August 2015, which will include a programme that aligns itself with the government mandate of transparency by providing a platform for government and industry to meet. The programme highlights industry needs and challenges and aligns them with government expectations and opportunities.

The Cape Construction Conference is solution focused and provides insights into all things construction. Cape Construction Conference headlines industry heavy-weights such as MEC of Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, who will be discussing government opportunities in the province and how government aims to minimise red tape and Koran Grover of Koran Grover and Associates in India will share his vast knowledge on sustainable building and how this can be replicated in the South African context. Llewellyn van Wyk of the CSIR will also be on hand to facilitate a session focusing on creating effective cohesion in the construction industry and how collectively the industry can prioritise sustainable building and produce buildings that perform better.

Together with the Cape Construction Conference, the Cape Construction Trade Expo will attract over 3000 construction professionals such as property owners and developers, contractors (small, medium and large), architects, engineers, investors, quantity surveyors and consultants. This is the only expo of its kind for the region and will also feature over 15 hands on training workshops for industry professionals, an exhibition with over 100 different technologies on display, site visits to interesting local construction projects and live demonstrations hosted by Cape Construction Trade Expo exhibitors allowing visitors to get the chance to preview new machinery, vehicles and products. “Cape Construction 2014 exceeded all our expectations. The NHBRC stand received a record total of visitors, creating an unique opportunity to network and to learn and to grow our business” says Agnes van den Berg, National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

For more information contact : Nomvuyo Tena +27 21 700 4344 or Rashaad Essop +27 21 700 4356


SA's economy is linked to Africa

The intolerance of foreign nationals threatens the prospects of South Africa's economy, says Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Minister Patel said the economic benefits from the rest of the African continent were real as it was estimated that 885,000 direct and indirect jobs were created in South Africa through exports.

V&A waterfront rental accommodation offers affordable and vibrant luxury living

The iconic V&A Waterfront has contributed approximately 227 billion rand towards the GDP of South Africa's Western Cape Province between 2002 and 2014, with forecasts revealing that this growth will continue for the next 10 years. Despite the perception that the V&A is predominately a retail and tourism hub, the residential property component is a significant contributor towards GDP growth.

Construction date set for Saldanha Bay IDZ

In a key milestone for South Africa's oil and gas hub, the Industrial Development Zone site at Saldanha Bay is being prepared for construction, which is set to officially begin in August. Preparatory site work at the IDZ is expected to run until the end of May.

Commercial real estate sector a hefty contributor to economy in 2013 – Sapoa

A study commissioned by the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) has found that the real estate sector contributed R1.32-billion to the fixed capital stock of the country in 2013, while the gross fixed capital formation of the sector added R97-billion over the same period – respectively representing 20.9% and 14.95% of the entire economy.

Deserving Beneficiaries Receive Homes in Struisbaai, Cape Agulhas

On Tuesday 2 July 2014, 14 beneficiaries of the Struisbaai Community became proud owners of their new homes, at a handover ceremony lead by the Deputy Mayor of Cape Agulhas Municipality, Mr Dirk Jantjies. The project, on which construction began in November 2013, has a budget of approximately R12.8 million and is set to deliver 111 houses when complete by the end of July 2014.


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