Civil Designer Showcase

New Heights at Fourways Golf Park

"Climbing mountains is an incredible catalyst for teamwork - up there, someone else is always holding your rope," Mike Aldous nods his head slowly as he affirms the importance and benefits of teamwork. The pinnacle of mountaineering achievement is to climb the highest mountain in each of the seven continents. Known as the Quest for the Seven Summits, this extraordinary feat of endurance, skill, and teamwork has been completed by less people than have blasted into space.

Mike Aldous of KSS Consulting Engineers in Johannesburg is more than halfway there with just three peaks left to go, including the daunting Everest.

"It is always stimulating working within a good team. On the Fourways Golf Park project the team achieved some unique and fantastic technical solutions, yet crucially we still managed to make it almost aesthetically perfect," says Mike. The project required an enormous amount of co-ordination between all the disciplines involved. "We were taking basic engineering principles and squeezing them to attain optimal cost performance. Let's face it, everyone wants the maximum area and services, but with tight space reserves for those services - it's a very tall order," says Mike.

Fourways Golf Park comprises 13 freehold office buildings arranged around a tournament standard 9-hole short iron golf course. A manmade lake lies in the centre of the development, with an island putting green. A 150-seater restaurant forms a bridge between the course and the island green. More than 1000 parking bays have been provided.

"The earthworks were tied into the golf design. Many revisions later everyone was satisfied. A golf course is a demanding creation; it drinks a lot of water! There are two subterranean sumps that are fed from the stormwater system for the thirsty maintenance." All the Telkom manholes are cunningly and aesthetically hidden.

DiData is one of the major tenants. "We had to put the six ducts carrying the fibre-optics and other cabling inside the ring of buildings, not on the perimeter as would normally happen. The landscaping ultimately drove the project to new levels, as we had to achieve the aesthetic beauty that was cost-effective and highly functional. We are all very proud of Fourways Golf Park"

"CIVIL DESIGNER was part of the team too. I used SURVEY+TERRAIN, ROADS, SEWER, and STORM. The support was good as well. It saved me a lot of time and it is really a lifesaver when it comes to tricky earthworks."
Fourways Golf Park | KSS Consulting Engineers

"This project was not just about engineering though. It was a phased development, so the financial aspect took on greater significance. These projects are all cost-driven these days. We were continuously having to ask ourselves questions like 'how can we optimise the construction without comprising standards and integrity?'"

"I majored in Business Management and Information Systems when I did my B.Comm degree. Prior to that I was actually management illiterate, I thought accountants were the enemy," he says with a laugh. "Today it is vital that engineers understand the way business works, and how quickly the rules change."

"It's a lot like the weather you get on those high mountain peaks. The extremes are extreme. Equatorial glaciers - a true contradiction in terms - of the 4884m Cartensz Pyramid in New Guinea are a case in point. I was a member of the first South African team to reach that peak in 2000," he says.

"The power of nature is awesome when experienced on a cold cliff-face. You are starved of oxygen at those heights which makes it even more difficult.

"Mountain climbing is an expensive sport. "To climb Everest costs about $60 000 per person. I will be going with the Discovery Health 2003 South African Everest Team as Base Camp Technical Support for all satellite communications and media feeds. I will not be climbing on this trip but it is definitely a step in the right direction, and of course excellent experience." Another team - another successful achievement.

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