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Aurecon wins again at SAICE awards

The City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town's CRU Refurbishment Programme

31 October 2012 - Held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, on 11 October 2012, the annual South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Project Awards give recognition to well-engineered civil projects that portray the art and science of civil engineering to the general public and publicise how the profession finds answers to challenging problems (

This year saw Aurecon walk away with accolades in no less than two categories:

  • The Community Residential Unit (CRU) Refurbishment Programme for the City of Cape Town was joint winner in the ‘Community-based projects’ category
  • Aurecon achieved a commendation for the St Regis Resort on Saadiyat Island in the ‘International projects of excellence where South African engineers are involved’ category. The Tourism Development & Investment Company of Abu Dhabi is the Owner of this premier tourist destination and Aurecon was appointed by Mirage Mille Leisure Development

About the CRU Refurbishment Programme
Aurecon delivered project management, consulting and technical assistance and civil, structural and electrical design expertise for the programme, and was the implementing agent for the upgrade of 3 840 residential units.

“The project entailed general renovations to buildings, roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as the installation of new ceilings, floor coverings, cupboards and geysers. Other aspects of the programme encompassed fencing, refuse management, area lighting, the greening of areas and recreational facilities,” explains Johan Keuler, Aurecon’s project leader for this project.

Aurecon designed a temporary village for residents to stay in while their flats were being refurbished. The village consisted of 12 m converted containers with windows and doors, insulation, partitions, bathrooms, free electricity and water, and a garbage collection service.

According to Keuler, the project was a strong team effort that involved the local community.

“The project involved a lot of job creation, so Aurecon allocated work to the local community wherever possible,” says Keuler. “Over the five contracts, approximately half of the labour bill was allocated to the local community. This allowed us to transfer training and skills to members of the local community who were then employed in the projects.”

Before the families moved back into their refurbished units, they were also educated on the maintenance of a rental unit, the payment of rent, the management of electricity and water accounts, and the management of refuse.

About the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
February 2012 saw the official opening of one of Saadiyat’s most anticipated projects – the stunning new St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

Saadiyat Island is an 27 km² island situated 500 meters offshore of the capital city of Abu Dhabi. The developers, Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), are transforming the island into a signature tourist, leisure, residential and cultural destination, and the St. Regis Saadiyat Island resort and precinct forms part of a masterplan which will soon see the island become home to the famed Guggenheim and Louvre museums.

“In 2007, Aurecon was appointed to undertake all the geotechnical and structural engineering services as well as the design of roads, storm water and bulk earthworks. We also provided full-time construction supervision on site,” says Aurecon project director Wouter Brand.

The resort boasts 373 rooms, a banquet hall capable of seating 3 000 people, as well as seven apartment blocks (256 apartments) and 33 luxury Villas, amongst others.

“The size of the project required that Aurecon maintain meticulous focus in terms of producing and reviewing drawings. Due to last-minute client changes, the design of the end product had to be improved after construction had already commenced. The design programme was demanding and at times drawings were fast-tracked to construction within hours,” adds Brand.

A year into construction, the significant project expansion of the 3 000-seat banquet hall was announced. The team’s deadline was extended by just three months to accommodate this change.

Brand explains that challenging features of the design for the roof structure included the main span of 50.3 m, the high loadings to be catered for, and the limitation on deflection to ensure trouble-free operation of the acoustic partitions.

He goes on to say that to meet the strict design criteria, Aurecon ramped up its resources at short notice and put together teams specifically for the banquet hall design.

As Saadiyat Island is founded on natural land, it was critical that Aurecon’s geotechnical team conduct a thorough assessment. Several metres of compressible and liquefiable material, which could react as a fluid during a seismic event, had to be treated.

This stabilisation process was critical to ensure proper founding conditions, mitigating the risk of seismic-induced liquefaction and ensuring the stability of platform side slopes and other excavations envisaged for the proposed developments.

Innovative resourcing was key to the project’s success. The entire project was from the onset split up and the work divided between dedicated teams of engineers. This helped to maintain tight control on different aspects of the project and their accompanying construction programmes. In addition, technical input from across the group ensured that the very best international expertise was applied.

“We are proud to have been involved in a project that is part of the journey of creating one of the Middle East’s premier tourist destinations,” concludes Brand.

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