Civil Designer Showcase

Challenging Views

YOU will find one of the most beautiful sites in the Cedar Creek estate situated within the greater Cedar Lakes environment. This breathtaking area with elevations of up to 60 metres has amazing views that stretch as far as the eye can see. To Edwin van Rensburg from Lidwala Consulting Engineers this site would be any residents dream but proved to be one of the most challenging terrains to work on.

The formidable venture which was requested by the ABSA Development Company started its construction phase in August 2005. The first infrastructure project designs for the housing development began however as far back as 2001. "There were endless challenges with this project. One of the biggest stumbling blocks was the registration of the existing waterways by the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry (DWAF)."

"DWAF wanted to register the two waterways in the private development as a public space while the ABSA Development Company wanted the area to be a private open space. The matter was later settled in court and the area was registered as a private space," explains Edwin.

Lidwala Consulting Engineers was responsible for the design of all the services for each of the 440 stands. They also did the designs for four dams and the bridge. Besides a challenging infrastructure design compounded by a steep terrain, the dams alone proved quite interesting. "Dams had to be resized according to specific standards and then modelled on Civil Designer. The program is such a joy to work with as you can create nifty 3D models for the client and the landscape architect. It literally all comes to life in Civil Designer," he says enthusiastically.

According to Edwin, the road construction proved very challenging with an average terrain slope of 1 in 5. To add to this, nearly 2000m of rock had to be excavated. In addition, the contractor had to import large volumes of material for the construction of the bridge. "When I say that a lot of material was used for the construction of the bridge I mean 20 000 cubes of G5 material to be exact," notes Edwin almost in disbelief.

Working with the initial 2001 survey system presented other problems. "When the assignment first began, all the data was on one system and then midway through it had to be imported into another system. This introduced various bugs which first had to be cleaned up before the data could be properly utilised."

Edwin also assisted with the design of the Cedar Lake development adjacent to Cedar Creek. "The development of Cedar Lake was positively received by the residents of Cedar Creek as it would help reduce the prospect of illegal squatting. Prior to the development of Cedar Lake, the area was just a couple of hectares of open space. Beyond the river however, was a large 20 ha informal settlement. Residents were afraid that if the settlement grew, that it would eventually spill over the river and encroach on their open space."
Lidwala Consulting Engineers | Cedar Creek development

The land owner of the informal settlement has tried to remove the people from his ground to no avail. Cedar Creek stands range from 900 to 3000 sqm in size and are being sold for between R800 000 to R1,2 million each. The project, valued at about R50 million is currently in its final phase of completion.

According to Edwin, working with the locals from the informal settlement was extremely satisfying. "Although we used mainly conventional construction methods due to the high volume of earthworks and excavation that had to be done by machine, we tried to include labourers from the informal settlement so that they could take pride in the development. This presented an ideal solution to the existing crime problem. Of course we did not expect that all the electrical cabling would be stolen overnight after it was installed the previous day," he says laughing.

Despite the many challenges that the Cedar Creek development presented, the wealth of knowledge acquired during the projects near completion is difficult to match. "I was the RE and the designer on this project. There are many great moments, but the greatest of all is seeing your designs come to life during the construction process. It's a proud moment," says Edwin.

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