Construction, civils and housing company Motheo Construction Group is upgrading the on- and off-ramps at the Engen Blockhouse on the R59, in Vereeniging, which is scheduled for completion in January.
Having started in September, the project comprises earthworks that mainly consist of the recycling of about 9 000 m2 of the existing base course on the access ramps, as well as selected internal asphalted areas of the Blockhouse.
The work also includes the replacement of the asphalt surfacing, road marking and minor drainage detail, as well as the extension of a parking lot area in concrete block paving. Significant emphasis is also placed on the accommodation of heavy traffic experienced on the highways in South Africa.
Motheo Construction MD Archie Rutherford explains that, during the tender stage of the project, the construction of the ramps was a challenge. The ramps were initially programmed to be executed in full widths, which meant the construction of temporary deviations to enable motorists and commuters to access the Blockhouse at all times.
However, owing to the nature of the site, there was insufficient space available to construct the temporary deviations. This also posed a safety threat on site, as motorists were not adhering to the speed limits when entering the off-ramps.
It was then proposed that the ramps be constructed in half widths and although this method would result in a longer construction period, owing to the loss in production rates, it would ensure the safety of the patrons, notes Rutherford.
“Our vast experience and knowledge in roads and earthworks rendered us the preferred contractor to execute works of this nature. The human resources employed on this contract are competent enough to ensure the end-product is delivered within the specified time and budget, despite the challenges faced,” he states.
Motheo Construction’s new civils division is headed by Rutherford, who is the former CEO and director of Ruthcon Civil Contractors. Motheo Construction highlights that Rutherford brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to his latest role.
The civils division specialises in the construction of roads and earthworks, as well as the installation of services such as water, sewerage and stormwater reticulation. It has also established a concrete division specialising in all forms of structural concrete work.
The civils division has clinched many major projects, including a canning factory for community advancement company Gayatri Cans, part of Golden Era Group, in Germiston, and road-repair work for the Woolworths Distribution Centre, in Midrand.
Contracts recently tendered for, include the Clanwilliam dam project on the Olifants river, in the Western Cape, as well as the Nooitgedacht wastewater treatment plant, in the Eastern Cape.
“In order for us to ramp up quite quickly, we are targeting major contracts, but in conjunction with joint venture partners. We have, to date, entered into various joint ventures with some of the leading listed construction companies. This will give us exposure to the bigger projects and also build our skills base,” Rutherford explains.
Motheo Construction, which has Level 9 GBPE and Level 9 CEPE rating from the Construction Industry Development Board, has a competitive advantage in that it can price work independently on a national basis. The civils division has also been granted full membership of the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors.
Rutherford adds that the company has embarked on a major recruitment drive to not only lure the best skills in the industry but also ensure that it attracts talented black graduates and professionals interested in a career in construction: “The goal is to deliver a black-owned and -operated construction company.”
This forms part of Motheo Construction’s longer-term goal of becoming one of the biggest black-owned construction groups in the country.
“The idea is for us to ultimately compete in the same arena as the other major listed companies,” Rutherford says.
Commenting on the current state of the construction industry, he notes that, while project awards seem to be slow, he remains optimistic that government will deliver on its promise to be more efficient and spend its budget in the construction sector effectively.