Civil Designer Showcase


Focus Engineering

After almost two years in the game, Focus Engineering has taken everyone by storm with their innovative business thinking and their commitment to supporting emerging contractors in the market place. Since their appointment as mentors for the Department of Public Works' EPWP Vuk'Uphile Learnership project in the Southern Cape, the company has made quite a name for themself and has recently entered into negotiations for a landmark merger with PD Naidoo & Associates

Civil Engineers André Wessels and Gerhard Vivier started Focus Engineering with the aim of delivering mentoring and project management services to contractors. “We had, through our past experience in business, identified the need to support contractors in South Africa because they lacked the experience to do main contractor's work and therefore had to occupy sub contractor positions,” explains André.

When André and Gerhard combined their strengths in March 2005, the dynamic duo was able to offer a broad range of consulting engineering, project management and construction management development services, aiding their quest to establish a one stop consultancy practice. With the Vuk'Uphile' Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), a project that André describes as “a dream venture", the team could apply their full spectrum of services. “We are proud to be associated with this initiative as it will help transfer and also sustain vital skills in order to create a qualified pool of contractors", says Andre.

"The programme addresses the shortage of work opportunities and qualified contractors by identifying candidates throughout the country who will undergo a thirty month training programme. Our role in the Southern Cape is to support 12 of the learner contractors throughout their thirty month course by performing the role of mentor. It is an immensely rewarding experience to be part of their development and it allows us to share our knowledge and experience."
  Once a candidate has been identified to enter the programme, the course is hardly seen as a walk in the park. "This is a demanding training programme that includes both theoretical as well as practical training. The practical training alone consists of three projects which are carried out under normal labour intensive contract conditions. All tasks are performed according to acceptable quality standards and the length of time spent on the projects is nearly two years in duration. In addition to a demanding practical curriculum, students also have to contend with 3 sessions of theoretical classroom training slotted in between the projects," notes André.

Delivering a quality service has always been high on the priority list at Focus Engineering and it therefore came as no surprise when they received recognition from the Department of Public Works for the manner in which the learner contractors were supported. "This kind of recognition is high praise for us because the EPWP Vuk'Uphile Learnership in South Africa is regarded as the benchmark against which similar projects are measured and we are honoured to be part of the process," says Andre proudly.

But what does the future hold for Focus Engineering once the merger with PD Naidoo & Associates has been concluded? "Besides forming one company and sitting on the board of directors at PD Naidoo & Associates, nothing much will change. Both companies share similar business philosophies and we both agree that Civil Designer is the best when it comes to infrastructure design projects. Over and above the existing mentorship function, we focus strongly on civil consultancy services. Our combined forces with PD Naidoo & Associates will therefore serve to strengthen our resolve to live out our philosophy of engineering a better future." Andre's parting words, a clear indication of the bright future ahead.

image André Wessels : holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch and completed his MBA at the University of Free State in November 2005. His extensive work history includes working as Graduate Engineer at Africon Consulting, working as Engineer and Regional Manager at Bloem Water Board and then as Senior Engineer and Divisional Manager at Stewart Scott in Bloemfontein. Today André is a founding member of Focus Engineering and will soon join the team at PD Naidoo & Associates as a Director.

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