Travelling The Road Together
"Civil engineers live a good life but they never get rich being a civil engineer. Our reward in this business is making a difference in peoples' lives and by doing so we leave behind a legacy for a better future." These words uttered by Kevin Naidoo from Nathoo Mbenyane Engineers reflect the solid commitment of consultants in the industry.
To Kevin Naidoo and Jermaine Maistry, the job is only half done if it is not delivered with perfection and with a strong emphasis on client satisfaction. "At Nathoo Mbenyane Engineers we strive to uphold the company's motto, "travelling the road together", and practice this ethos in everything we do. The nicest part of my job is working with different facets of people and meeting the challenging demands of each new project. No two assignments are ever the same so it adds to the dynamic nature of the environment," says Kevin.
Being the first PDI consultant to land a R100 million contract in 2002 has laid a solid foundation and set the company head and shoulders above the rest. "The Matatiele to Mount Fletcher project required the rehabilitation and resealing of 63km of existing road. The bulk of the work consisted of the rehabilitation and widening of 23km of road and the resealing of the remaining 40km of road."
Kevin recounts the interesting history of how the venture came about. "The Matatiele project was fast tracked by the president's office and came about when members of parliament realized the dilapidated state of the road after experiencing a wheel puncture."
According to Jermaine, the rural areas of Matatiele and Mount Fletcher are breathtakingly beautiful. "Matatiele is former East Griqwa land just 70km outside of Kokstad and Mount Fletcher borders the Lesothu Mountains. This assignment has generated significant tourism in the Eastern Cape and helped to create a link to Cape Town from Matatiele through Mount Fletcher, effectively saving three hours of travel time. What made this project challenging was that we had 6 weeks to do the design and we relied quite heavily on Civil Designer to produce quick results," explains Jermaine, recalling the pressure of those early weeks.
The company was first exposed to Civil Designer in 1995 when they acquired Stardust to help complete a project. "We completed the designs in just two days and since then we havenít looked back. The program is user friendly and allows for quick analysis."
'Today, clients want fast results and often set unrealistic time-frames, but with Civil Designer you can output quickly and the support backup is great. The total value of the Matatiele project is R100 million and all the work was done on one package exclusively, so you can say that we've fully tested the program and it has passed with flying colours,' says Kevin with a grin.
Although the project was completed in record time, there were many design challenges. 'The actual widening of the existing carriageway was tricky to say the least. We created a model of the road and then, based on the design requirements, the program was able to identify areas where the design did not meet requirements. From here we could advise the client and then offer alternative suggestions.
We went from narrow 3.0 metre lanes to a category 2 road design standard, and imported 450 000 cubes of material from borrow pits. In addition, we requested the results from geologists and studied the Environmental Impact Assessment reports so that we could conform to environmental restrictions imposed.'
Despite numerous challenges, the lessons learnt on the project were many. Kevin's final words provide the perfect summary. "Each project is different but travelling the road together means learning and sharing from each other and the road seems that much shorter when you travel it together. I love being a Civil Engineer and it gives me great joy to work together to achieve something worthwhile." The firm nod of Kevin and Jermaine signs the seal on a winning philosophy that will certainly stand the test of time.