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Aurecon scoops prestigious transport engineering award

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Aurecon's winning project at the SAICE Awards '17

26 October 2017 – Global engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon is honoured to have been awarded the “Transportation Engineering Award” for 2017 by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) for the role it played in the construction of the Siphofaneni Bridge.

What distinguishes one infrastructure advisory company from another? Or one project from the other? Its people. When their passion, expertise and creativity is poured into a project, the sky is the limit. From bringing ideas to life through state-of-the-art designs, to demonstrating the characteristics of true leaders, Aurecon’s success is built on the ingenuity and passion of its people.

This year’s SAICE Awards – which took place on 20 October 2017 – recognised not just the Siphofaneni Bridge project but also our people. Aurecon employees scooped “Project Manager of the Year” and “Young Civil Engineer of the Year”.

The prestigious awards provide an opportunity for companies and individual engineers to showcase their achievements by giving recognition to well-engineered civil projects that portray the art and science of civil engineering.

The Siphofaneni Bridge

At the official inauguration of the Siphofaneni Bridge, King Mswati III of Swaziland said it would help set the standard for infrastructure projects in the country, describing it as innovative and world-class.

Suspended over Swaziland’s Usutu River, the impressive 375-metre-long incrementally launched bridge forms part of the 23-km St Phillips Road upgrade project. The bridge’s construction is significant; it will help reduce transportation costs for local sugar cane farmers, and transform the community by providing safer and easier access to schools, clinics and other places.

“In designing the bridge, the team used a design thinking approach which resulted in cost savings and a simpler construction method. That creative thinking is evident, from basing the design on the incremental launch method, to incorporating innovative features such as the use of reinforced concrete as opposed to post tensioned concentric cables during the construction stage,” says Ferdi Nell, Aurecon Managing Director – Africa.

Aurecon carried out the preliminary and detailed design, assistance with tender evaluation and construction supervision for the project, which  formed part of a larger agreement between Swaziland and the European Union, to develop the transportation infrastructure for the sugar industry. It included the development of approximately 11105 ha of smallholder sugar cane farms.

Project Manager of the Year Award: Denzel Maduray

It’s Program Advisory Principal Denzel Maduray’s diverse skillset that that led to him being awarded the “Project Manager of the Year Award”.

“I believe in practical project management that emphasises stakeholder engagement as well as successful product and project management”.

Speaking of the instrumental role each member of a team plays in this process, Maduray says the win is “one for the team”. “I’ve had the privilege of working with great project teams, and am humbled to have been the person leading the projects.”

Maduray leads the program advisory team at Aurecon’s Johannesburg office, as well as the project and construction management service line. He also sits on the board of the Construction Industry Development Board, a role in which he sees himself helping to further the advancement of emerging contractors and consultants.

Congratulating Maduray on the award, Nell says that he has demonstrated his commitment to operation excellence. “In the leadership roles in which Denzel is involved, technical development, and the ability to build strong teams and empower them with the necessary skills is imperative. That’s why Denzel is successful as a project manager – it’s these vital skills that he brings to the table,” says Nell.

Young Engineer of the Year: Pierre van der Spuy

“Figuring out solutions to complex problems” is what makes Senior Structural Engineer, Pierre van der Spuy, tick.

Van der Spuy secured the “Young Civil Engineer of the Year Award”.

A structural engineer who specialises in bridge design, Van der Spuy’s expertise extends to the design of wind turbine foundations and coastal structures. Since joining Aurecon, he’s worked on projects across Africa, in the United Arab Emirates and in Australia.

Van der Spuy has served on various SAICE committees and regularly acts as external examiner for undergraduate and master’s projects at Stellenbosch University. He also assists in the review of professional engineer (PrEng) applications for the Engineering Council of South Africa.

“This achievement demonstrates Pierre’s outstanding ability to help create the best solutions for our clients by applying a curious mind and an innovation mindset,” says Nell.

Aurecon Associate, Catherine Blersch, received a commendation in the same category. Blersch specialises in the civil design of wastewater treatment works (WWTW) for municipalities.

“I am really passionate about wastewater treatment and the important role it plays in protecting our water resources and ensuring the sustainable provision of sanitation infrastructure for all South Africans,” says Blersch.

Commenting on the awards, Nell said that being recognised by its peers affirms Aurecon’s investment in and commitment to Africa’s challenging infrastructure problems.

“By combining hard technical skills with our design thinking approach, we’re innovating cutting-edge solutions for our clients and the end-user.

"These awards not only illustrate the importance of what we do as engineers, but also demonstrate our drive for excellence in everything we do,” says Nell.

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