Civil Designer Showcase

Amalgamation Sees BEE Company Success

The amalgamation of Tifflin Purchase & Associates and Eyethu Consulting Engineers gave rise to the birth of Masuku Dube Tifflin (MDT) in the Eastern Cape. This was a proud day for Linda Nama from MDT as he explains the com-pany's reason for the expansion and the resulting effect this has had on employees.

MDT is based in the Eastern Cape with branches in Port Elizabeth, East London, Kokstad and lately Umtata. "The Kwazulu Natal region is still in the process of finalising their amalgamation, but once this is complete, the company will be well represented nationally, " says Linda.

Nama explains the company's aim. "Our vision is not only to include Cape Town in our expansion plans, but also to grow the business into Southern Africa. We would like to concentrate on the SADC area first and then expand beyond this," he explains.

His pride in the company is clearly evident. "MDT is a young and dynamic company that draws on the success of each individual person. There is a high level of expertise in the company's black partners and directors, and it is rare when PDI's who are shareholders as well, share such an advanced level of technical expertise," says Nama.

Township Developments
MDT is one of 12 consulting engineers that participated in the relocation of 15 000 families where they have settled below the floodline in the Motherwell area.

"Our work in this project involves sewage and services for 1 000 erven and this keeps us very busy with township roads, sewer and water work developments," says Linda adding that township services forms a large part of the company's bread and butter projects.

The 12 individual consultants are presently working with the preliminary designs within strict time frames so that the project can be completed by August 2004.

In another project, Linda is involved in the redesign of rudimentary road and services in the Kleinskool Township. "The project is an in-situ upgrade, with the road network to be constructed to sub-base level. A major challenge was that we had to connect to an existing 1050mm diameter sewer pipe and the gradient of the pipe meant that some of the erven had to be repositioned. I used Civil Designer software for the first time during this project," he says.

"My experience with the program was good as I found that it was not difficult to operate. It performed functions quickly and saved me time, allowing me to complete tasks within specified deadlines".
  "The project itself proved quite difficult, in that the construction dictated the design. We found that the existing 1050mm diameter pipes were positioned clumsily and there were a number of instances where we had to go back to the town planners in order to advise them that certain areas could not be sewered to meet the design criteria of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. The Municipality has one of the highest standards when it comes to the design of sewers," he explains.

The site was yet another factor to contend with. "We had to consider a number of different scenarios for filling due to the fact that the area was low lying. This meant that the total number of erven had to be reduced from 550 to 360. It was not a big development, but the problems and challenges made it a very intensive project to work on," says Linda.

Coega benefits Eastern Cape
With the current Coega development, there is a lot of activity in Port Elizabeth. "Things have been mushrooming up for some time now and there are very few engineers in town who have not got a piece of the cake".

MDT was involved in the structural and civil works of the Coega Recruitment Centre - a small part of the Coega Project. "We used AllyCAD to design the recruitment centre and this presently represents our total involvement in the Coega development."

Developing people
Linda has definite plans for the training and development of MDT's staff. "My main vision is to train people as much as we can. The days of recruiting fully trained ready-to-use people are gone and we are now trying to build a team from young graduates by sending them on a series of training courses to empower them," says Linda, adding that most of their recruits are sourced from technikons in the area.

For the most part, training is on an ad-hoc basis, but Linda foresees that once the amalgamation is complete, they will be able to look at the whole picture and structure training more comprehensively. "We have plans to create training manuals and to arrange tuition in such a way that it can be rotated on an ongoing basis."

Linda's vision on the company is one of continual growth and expansion, and judging from the dedicated staff at MDT, one would have to agree that the company and its people are definitely going places.

Block I, The Terraces, Steenberg Office Park, 1 Silverwood Close, Tokai 7945.
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