Amid the pressures in the built environment, professional services provider WSP is proactively looking for opportunities to diversify and alternative ways of conducting its business to improve efficiencies that will benefit clients.
“The need for infrastructure investment and development has not gone away. In fact, it is more apparent than ever. Built projects are levers which should be used to drive growth within the economy, which is still possible, despite the country’s current economic climate, and South Africa still offers immense opportunity for investment and infrastructure development,” says WSP in Africa MD Mathieu du Plooy.
There is some promise for investment under way in primary, secondary and tertiary infrastructure development, he adds. Public- and private-sector-driven infrastructure projects range across the transport, power, water, healthcare and education sectors. Although more localised, such projects interface with the country’s long-term infrastructure objectives, which comprise improving access to services and overall quality of life with significant knock-on effects for communities, industries and the country, Du Plooy explains.
However, to gain further value from current investments and projects, a change in focus is needed to leverage opportunities that will show economic contributions in the short-term, without compromising their adaptability to incorporate new technologies, he points out.
Du Plooy believes that this could effectively futureproof the country’s infrastructure networks and ensure an attainable long-term vision of sustainable and inclusive growth.
WSP is one of the first companies that has been approved as a WELL performance testing organisation globally. The company announced the accreditation in May.
The aim of WELL certification is to deepen the understanding that building sustainably promotes a healthier environment and is, therefore, beneficial to the personal health and productivity of occupants.
WELL certification is a data-driven approach to verifying building performance and is focused specifically on the influence that the interior design of a building has on the health of the occupants. Performance testing entails that a suitably trained and certified WELL performance testing agent conducts on-site tests involving air quality, water quality, lighting and acoustic parameters to record the data and verify the performance of the building within such parameters.
WSP in Africa’s global network of expertise can offer WELL performance testing services to clients in the local market.
“WSP is now authorised to provide independent, third-party verification for building projects pursuing WELL certification in support of promoting human health, productivity, wellbeing and comfort,” notes Du Plooy.
Further, to support the firm’s growth strategy, WSP continues to build on its business strengths in key sectors such as marine, energy and environment, power, mining, transport and infrastructure. The firm also looks for opportunities to support projects in other sectors where it can apply its expertise such as in property, industrial and healthcare.
“And in everything we do, we consult with clients on building for sustainability of their projects. Working across sectors in the domestic market, we realise the important role we have to play in the delivery of the much-needed infrastructure projects,” asserts Du Plooy.
WSP is acting in the role of Implementing Entity on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe for the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (EPIRP), which secured grant funding from the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund, or Zim-Fund, as administered by the African Development Bank.
The power team from WSP in Africa is providing consultancy and project management services throughout the EPIRP life cycle. This encompasses project scoping, the development of technical specifications, tender-stage management and design management, as well as construction supervision and final handover.
“Though a brownfield project, the EPIRP is crucial to improve the reliability of the power sector in Zimbabwe and restore supplies to the more than 20 000 customers who have been without stable access to electricity for some time,” explains WSP in Africa power director Dinesh Buldoo.
He adds that the project has been thoroughly planned and is being implemented in phases to ensure maximum overall success, since there are a number of components that are, ultimately, interdependent.
The project entails various upgrades and rehabilitations on ash handling plants, the replacement of transformers and renewing equipment on site, as well as the construction of new substations at various sites throughout Zimbabwe.
Buldoo adds that working on such a high-profile project that can have a direct and lasting impact on people’s lives, and on the economic and social development of a country, is a great honour. “Everyone involved has shown ingenuity and dedication in working towards the same end-goal. We are very proud of our involvement and contribution to this project.”
Further, owing to WSP’s deep-seated understanding of local markets, the company is primarily positioned to assess and advise parties on development projects and deal structures. WSP has, therefore, taken it upon itself to play a more active role in initiating engagement between different project parties and looking for ways of being a conduit for increased collaboration on joint project planning and delivery.
WSP’s optimism about the future ensures that its partners and clients always receive innovative solutions from passionate people.
WSP can anticipate trends and offer innovative ideas and solutions to tackle complex problems and advance the delivery of infrastructure projects.