Civil Designer Showcase

In His Element

Henk van der Watt has an easy going and down to earth personality which keeps him grounded. He is also extremely humble when describing his role in the completion of intricate projects recently undertaken. Three of these developments in the Eastern Cape include the Cape Morgan initiative situated near Kei Mouth, the Gonubie Palms resort in Gonubie and Sunshine Lakes in Port Alfred.

Having acquired extensive experience in Civil Designer, Henk is in his element at Element Consulting Engineers, working out numerous design solutions for the various projects. According to him, part of the allure of Civil Designer is the 3D modeling functionality which is used to great effect when providing the clients and town planners with a view of the site.

"The Cape Morgan development is an Eco Estate with 220 hectare's of farmland and 220 erven which will be built in pockets of 10 all over the farm. It also has roads networks to link the erven as well as various stream crossings. I found the 3D modeling feature to be of great value in Civil Designer and also made good use of the program to calculate the quantities for sewer, roads and water networks during the preliminary design and costing phase," explains Henk.

One of the challenges during the project's progression was the intricate terrain. The Kei Eco Estate covers some 279 hectares of undulating coastal land. The terrain and vegetation is also varied with grasslands, coastal forests, the 40m deep Cwilli River gorge and the marine areas providing habitat for some 270 different bird species and a variety of small mammals.

Due to the environmentally sensitive nature of the venture however, houses had to conform to environmentally friendly measures. "Each plot has sufficient space to accommodate cattle and wild farm and there is no fencing between erven. The development also has a big adjacent dam for the provision of water."

"Part of the requirements for the project was the construction of a purification plant and an adequate sewer network system. We managed to overcome sewer network problems with the provision of a small bore system to accommodate outflows.
  The project is valued at approximately R55 million and started in February 2006, with preliminary designs for the road and networks already complete. We intend to get subdivision approval in January 2009 for the detailed design," says Henk.

A second project which started in August 2008 is the Gunubie Palms Estate undertaken as part of the Own Haven development social housing projects. This development entails a secure development with 135 erven and ten blocks of flats. The Palm Springs Estate is situated next to Kidds Beach and offers shops and amenities for daily living. According to Henk, Civil Designer will be used to design all the services for the project and will be especially useful when identifying service clashes. The project, valued at approximately R10 million, is likely to go on tender at the end of October 2008.

A more recent initiative, is the Sunshine Lakes development situated in the Eastern Cape's Port Alfred. "The R100 million project consists of the design and construction of 900 erven. The venture also presented the opportunity for 3D site modeling and required extensive design for the preliminary phase."

In the last five years at Element Consulting Engineers, Henk has put the software to the test amid tight deadlines and intricate design parameters and is today considered an expert in the program. Yet despite his level of expertise Henk remains humble. "You will never get to a stage in Civil Designer where you know everything about the software. I am continuously learning something new every day and enjoy the problem solving and challenging scenarios presented. In fact, I enjoy the fact that the industry is anything but boring and that I am applying myself every day," Henk says in closing.

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