Civil Designer Showcase

Centurion Development


KLS Consulting Engineers, formed in September 2004, have an impressive record of civil and structural projects undertaken in South Africa and Africa, extending as far north as the DRC and Nigeria. Having been appointed to do the bulk earthworks, roads and services, municipal services and infrastructure on Shoprite Checkers property developments in South Africa and further afield in Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Windhoek, KLS have also recently completed work on the new Shoprite central distribution centre located in Centurion.

Bulk Earthworks & Civils
The contract for the Centurion central distribution centre is a two-part project, with a total value of R54 million for the bulk earthworks and civils comprising roads and services, upgrading of external roads and storm water retention ponds over a combined 12-month time frame. Bulk earthworks volumes comprise 80 000 m³ cut to fill with 40 000 m³ imported material.

This is one of the larger projects undertaken by KLS for Shoprite Checkers Properties with the scale of the distribution centre development at 114 000 square metres, in comparison to the 6 000 to 8 000 mē scale of other Shoprite projects (for individual stores) completed by KLS in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.

Improving the Supply Chain
When asked about the background to the development, Hannes Kotze, founding member of KLS says: "Shoprite embarked on centralised distribution in the early 1990s. Originally Shoprite focused on distributing non-foods centrally to circumvent agents and give customers the products at lower prices with higher availability than their competitors.

This process of centralisation moved to the groceries category whereby Shoprite wanted to be more price competitive while improving their on-shelf availability to their customers. This is done by controlling stock levels centrally, improving delivery cycles to stores, and taking unnecessary costs out of the supply chain, thus ultimately controlling and managing the whole supply chain."

The Centurion distribution centre has also specifically been built to help improve service levels to stores outside South Africa, and to introduce additional product ranges to these countries. As a central distribution centre, products for export are approved by customs before leaving the country, and channelled to the respective Shoprite/Checkers stores in Africa. Fresh produce is also flown from the perishable facility to these stores.

There are around 146 stores on the African continent in the countries listed: Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Centurion facility will also provide employment for approximately 2 000 people. It will help alleviate traffic congestion as it will combine supplier loads which have to date been individually transported.

Work in progress of the distribution area surrounding new warehouse
Distribution area surrounding new warehouse

The importance of distribution centres within the context of food distribution in South Africa has grown in the past two decades.

Asked about any challenges on the project, Kotze said that a main concern was to improve the bearing capacity of the existing 48 000 mē dry goods building platform in the most economical way so as to give it the required bearing capacity for the distribution centre floor.
Centurion distribution centre
Central Distribution Centre, Shoprite Checkers (Aerial View)

Says Kotze: "The biggest challenge was to do balanced cut to fill platforms on a 50ha site with a 20m level difference in contour value."

The Centurion site, originally farmland, and now bordered by formal developments also necessitated the design and construction of external roads as well as the upgrade of existing road infrastructure.

Project Software
In their designs on the project, KLS used Civil Designer and AllyCAD, both software packages developed and supplied by Knowledge Base.

According to Kotze, the basis of the bulk earthworks is done in Civil Designer and then exported to AllyCAD.

"Without Civil Designer it would have been virtually impossible to achieve the final design and go out to tender in the short time frame." Kotze adds: "The ease of using the Terrain module, changing design points and doing batch level adjustments are specific features of the package that helped on this project." The 69,000 m2 Building Platforms were constructed to a level tolerance of +10/-10mm and the level difference contour function of Civil Designer assisted a lot in checking the tolerances (high & lowpoints).

Centurion distribution centre
Central Distribution in Centurion (Aerial View)

Kotze started his career in engineering in 1981 after qualifying from the Cape Technikon with a Diploma in Technology (T5 Civils).

"I started off as a student at BKS and joined the Partnership De Villiers in 1987 and was with them for 15 years. I left in 2002 for a 2-year stint working as an independent consultant.

We started KLS consulting in 2004 and have never looked back since. KLS specialise in commercial and industrial developments."

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