Civil Designer Showcase

New Ground for Bau-afrika

Large scale developments in Somerset West

His interesting career path started at the then South African Transport Services where Kevin learnt the draughting profession in an intensive six-month training programme. "We learnt draughting across all the disciplines and it was here that I first discovered a special interest in structural engineering. After completing my studies at the Natal Technikon in the early eighties, I returned to the South African Transport Services and worked in the structural drawing office in Johannesburg."

The subsequent retrenchments in the design office led Kevin to diversify his skill set. He integrated his draughting experience with civil engineering practice at companies like B S Bergman and Partners, Lillicrap Crutchfield, Scott Steel, Jeffares & Green, the City of Cape Town and eventually Bau-afrika.

"I often marvel at how easy engineers have it today. Back then, we were still using the drawing board and did everything manually. With programs like Civil Designer and AllyCAD the design function from DTM creation to triangulation can happen in a matter of seconds."

Kevin's first experience with AllyCAD was an interesting one. "I was very skeptical about the capability of the program. I used to design with the drawing board behind me and would then compare my progress on computer against the drawing board. I was absolutely amazed at how accurate and simple the software was to use. It was only after I completed my first AllyCAD training course way back in 1989, however, that I could fully appreciate the program's strength and served as one of the first beta testers during the transition from AllyCAD Dos to Windows," explains Kevin.

Besides having extensive experience in AllyCAD, Kevin has become skilled in the Civil Designer package. "Bau-afrika Director Rudy Schwaeble took the time to mentor and train me on the program. In my current capacity I am also able to impart all my knowledge to the junior engineers and technicians within the firm. I believe that nothing compares to experience and this is the best way to learn. At Bau-afrika everyone is down to earth and humble. I remember starting my first day with a tie on and being told by Rudy that we don't do ties here at Bau-afrika!" he says laughing.

A current project that is keeping Kevin busy at present is a large scale development in Somerset West. The venture is undertaken in conjunction with other multi-disciplined consultants, with Bau-afrika playing a key role in co-ordination and responsible for the geometric design and bulk services for phase one of the project.
Bau-afrika | Developments in Somerset West

"This project is exciting because it requires practical design while maintaining its aesthetically pleasing eighteenth century appeal. The various materials used for the construction of the road include the creation of a stone chip finish, exposed aggregate, cobbles and intricate landscaping while still remaining eco-friendly during construction."

"We put Civil Designer to good use when we created the 3D drive through model. It allowed the client to visualize the route and we could demonstrate our recommendations in overcoming project obstacles. We also used the program to show the client where the low lying points were in order to help with cut and fill decisions. It's all about delivering a superior service," explains Kevin.

Kevin's passion for his work is clearly evident and he succinctly sums up what he loves about his job in the following: "I love the variety and being able to get involved in all aspects of engineering, both civil and structural. No two days are ever the same. I also enjoy the culture at Bau-afrika. We don't refer to subordinates here, we are more like colleagues. We also take decisions jointly and have a strong sense of unity."

"If engineering can be seen as a human body, the architect would look after the cosmetics of the human body's outer, while the structural engineer is responsible for the design of the skeleton. Sadly, and in most cases, the architect normally takes most of the credit because you can see the outer and the finished product, but if the monument stands and lasts, the engineer has done his job! I certainly couldn't see myself doing anything else, I am proud to be in the Civil Engineering profession." It is commitment like this that gives the next generation of junior technicians the edge when receiving Kevin's first class practical training.

image Kevin Siebert: is an Associate at Bau-afrika and has built up extensive experience in his current role and at previous companies like B S Bergman and Partners, Lillicrap Crutchfield, Scott Steel, Jeffares & Green and the City of Cape Town. Besides being an experienced Draughtsman and Civil Engineering Technician, he has taken a vested interest in the training and development of junior staff and works alongside them to ensure that quality is maintained, an aspect of his work he will not compromise on.

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