Civil Designer Showcase

Eddie Sparkles With New Kimberley Prison

"You are, at this moment, standing right in the middle of your own 'acres of diamonds," said Earl Nightingale to his audience. He was talking about finding and taking the opportunities around us. The new Kimberley prison that will house some 3000 inmates is a big project by any standards and represents a sparkling opportunity for Eddie Schön and Copad Engineers to really shine.

Copad Engineers purchased Civil Designer about a year ago at Eddie's insistence, once he heard he was to be working on the prisons project. He and his Bloemfontein colleague have been using it successfully for roads and road safety projects in Mangaung Municipality.

The prison site alone is 27ha; it will be completely cleared, with no vegetation remaining. The design of a prison is dictated by different criteria to other projects. "A lot of research is currently being done into the infrastructure demands of a prison. The prison is one of 4 prisons being constructed. I was fortunate enough to be part of the design team, which is a joint venture between us and Stabilus for the civil engineering services," he says proudly.

The security fence has very specific slope requirements, e.g. the slope may not be more than 6% anywhere. "Clearing the site will entail removing some 60 000m3 of hard rock, with another 62 000m3 of red earth needing to be excavated. But we are still importing another 60 000m3 of material that will be mixed with our cut material."

The total earthworks require cutting, moving and compacting approximately 170 000m3 of material. "The site is interesting in that there is a lot of shale and dolerite."

In the joint venture, Eddie has been tasked with the bulk earthworks, storm water and sewer aspects. "Stabilus has assisted with some of the drawings, and we in turn have assisted them. We have developed a very close working relationship. As the designs progress and we see what the costs are, we will shift the work around to ensure an equitable 50-50 split," says Eddie. "In fact, in Kimberley all the consultants work together more closely than elsewhere. Our cake is so small, we have to work together."

The state-of-the-art prison comprises a series of linked, but separate, cell blocks each housing 250 inmates. "There is 'Main Street' that houses all the administrative functions, a large common exercise area and sports fields.
  This created some problems that had to be solved before the project could go ahead. The municipality had to provide additional water as there was not enough to meet the needs. A brand new 8km sewer line will serve the prison, an adjacent mental hospital and 3000 residential units."

The site, like so much of the terrain around Kimberley, is flat. "We were fortunate in that the site has a beautiful little koppie and so we were able to gravity-feed everything, the water, the sewer and the storm water, says Eddie.

Eddie has been a committed Civil Designer user for 10 years. "It is a brilliant design package and provides the best value for money on the market today. I don't settle for second best, so I use Civil Designer. Years ago I was doing a very long sewer pipeline in Dunswart out near Benoni; I can't remember the exact length now, but it was around 8-9km. The initial design specified a 1.2m diameter pipe. The problem was that if I used that size, it blocked off the major storm water line between Boksburg and Benoni."

"I was faced with the daunting task of having to punch in the co-ordinates for all the 800 manholes. I was able to export the co-ordinates from the other package I was using, Sewer read them, and in no time the design was optimized and the pipe specified was 450mm. Civil Designer probably saved me in the order of at least 3 weeks of work then," he says delightedly.

Eddie's next project, a sewer master plan, required an analysis capability. At that stage Civil Designer could not do what was required. "I phoned and spoke to Vincent Bester, MD of Knowledge Base Software and - this is what I like about these guys even today - he listened, and within a day or two I had the patch, installed it and finished the project. That kind of support and service is priceless."

Eddie clearly relishes the opportunity to work on this prestigious project. "It's just brilliant," he says. When cutting a diamond, the hardest part is knowing where to cut. The diamond that Eddie is cutting will shine brilliantly for a long time.

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