Not too much of a problem for the well-crafted experience of engineers from BCP Engineers (Pty) Ltd. "Township and infrastructure development is one of our specialist areas, and we were technologically well geared for this big operation," says BCP director Meyer Cronje. It was also another job for Knowledge Base's Civil Designer engineering software.
It has taken about five years, but the R50-million project to design and construct a sewerage reticulation and storage system for a population of about 100 000 people in the new Palm Ridge residential development south of Kathlehong in Gauteng is approaching completion.
The Gauteng province department of housing is the funding body for the development in one of the fastest-growing parts of the country, and has identified it as one of its current 'Focus Area' projects.
Palm Ridge was originally nothing much more than a squatter camp - "informal settlement", in the common jargon. Its conversion into a formal township began in 1998, with the installation of main and collector sewers. Phase 2 in 2001 saw the completion of house collection and reticulation lines to 2 500 erven, while Phase 3 has this year seen the connection of another 7 500 erven into the expanding services network. That leaves just over 3 000 erven still to be connected in the course of the final Phase 4, and, according to Cronje, that is due for completion by June 2004.
To design and draw the matrix of sewerage reticulation lines, BCP Engineers employed specialist design software - specifically, Civil Designer, a suite of fully interactive design modules and one of the most popular software packages currently in use by civil engineers. The modules - among them Sewer, as used by BCP - together form an integrated data-gathering, drawing and surface-modeling and design system.
"We had a choice of three design packages, but opted for Civil Designer, and we're glad we did," Cronje says. "It is a fantastic tool. It redefines your whole thinking about hands-on design and draughting. In mapping the routes and optimizing levels & depths of sewerage reticulation lines, it produces detailed reticulation layouts, longitudinal sections and schedules of quantities. It has enabled us to cut down on design times dramatically. In fact I would guess we have saved at least 60% design time."
Survey and Terrain, Roads, Stormwater and Map are among the other models in the Civil Designer package, but for the Palm Ridge project, BCP Engineers used Sewer exclusively.
"When you have many kilometres of pipes fanning out in all directions, where every pipe and manhole must lie at a specifically calculated level, Civil Designer is a great tool for assisting your thinking and planning," Cronje says.