Civil Designer Showcase


THE international allure was no match for the deep South African roots of Naas van Zyl. He moved to New Zealand in 1999, but found that the South African call was stronger than ever and returned in 2002. "There was just no comparison to the size and scope of South African infrastructure design projects, and not many ventures can beat the Coega development," says Naas.

The rich history of this proudly South African civil engineer began in the Free State where he grew up. He completed his post matric qualification in Civil Engineering at the Tshwane University of Technology and looks back at the last twenty seven years as a milestone. His impressive work resumè includes companies like Auckland City Council in New Zealand, BKS Consulting, Goba Consulting and currently Izizwe Consulting Engineers in Port Elizabeth.

"In New Zealand, the civil engineering sector is much smaller than in South Africa. I was however fortunate enough to work on the State Highway 20 Freeway extension in Auckland. This was an amazing project. Other smaller projects included traffic management, bus routes and cycle way designs," explains van Zyl.

His current capacity as Design Technician at Izizwe Consulting Engineers has provided Naas with endless opportunity to exercise his design skills. "I have been with Izizwe Consulting for just over a year and enjoy the flexibility of working on site and in the design office. The company is 85% black empowered and has another branch in East London."

Naas is fully proficient in Civil Designer and has high praise for the program. "Civil Designer works like a charm. In the Coega Zone 1 project there was a lot of cut and fill required for the bulk earthworks and the software handled these calculations effortlessly. I was also able to detect any pipe clashes during the design phase and this in itself saved so much time," notes Naas.

Izizwe Consulting was tasked with the roads and sewer design for Zone 1 of the Coega project.
  "Zone 1 contains the CBC office block where provision has been made for a cold storage facility, and is regarded as the central industrial part of the development. I enjoyed this project because the terrain had many dunes, making cut and fill calculations interesting. This multidisciplinary project, awarded in a joint venture with Africon Consulting Engineers also had water and stormwater services attached to it."

"In addition, the terrain had two rising mains in Zone 1, making gravity mains and pump station designing a challenge. The road design also had to accommodate for a design speed of 80 km/h. Excavation material was stock piled and re-used up to sub-base level for the roads in the Zone," he explains.

According to Naas, all the designs have been completed for the various phases with construction currently in progress for phases 2-5 of the project. When asked what he would have pursued as a career other than Civil Engineering, Naas laughs out loud. "There is nothing else that I would rather be doing. In the next phase of my career I intend to continue improving my level and standard of the designs I produce."

"Working in an environment like this allows you to get involved in various projects ranging from smaller industrial assignments to large municipal works and even private ventures. I also enjoy coaching graduates from the Universities of Technologies and showing them the ropes in infrastructure designing. It is a very rewarding and fulfilling career and getting involved at this level and making a difference in your own country is simply unbeatable," he says smiling.

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