L2B Blog: Building Design & Construction: Interesting Buildings & Structures

Building Design & Construction: Interesting Buildings & Structures

Building Design & Construction: Interesting Buildings & Structures

Over the ages, there have been many buildings and structures built that have an absolutely amazing design. Some of these buildings and structures have withstood the test of time in ways that newer buildings / structures have yet to experience and only time will tell if they will be able to withstand the forces of nature. Today, I am having a look at some of these brilliant buildings and structures that have captured my imagination.


  1. Bridge of Eggs, Lima, Peru

Puente de Piedra (the Bridge of Stone), was built around 1610 by the architect. Juan del Corral, and is referred to as the Bridge of Eggs, due to the belief that the mortar was mixed with egg whites as opposed to water. The bridge is still standing today.

 Photo Credit: Mangal Home Builders

References: WikipediaDid You Know?


  1. Cathedral of Brasília(Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida), Brazil

The Cathedral of Brasília (Portuguese: Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida, “Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida”) is the Roman Catholic cathedral in Brasília, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Construction started in 1958 and was completed in 1970.

Photo Credit: Author – Victor Soares – ABr

References: WikipediaMost Amazing Facts.

  1. Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel, Urgup, Cappadocia, Turkey

Yunak Evleri is a 5-star hotel built into ancient Turkish caves that were carved out of the rocky hills. The combination of the renovated caves (7) with the private cave rooms (40 in total), dating back to the 5th and 6th century, capped by a 19th century Greek Mansion, would entice anyone to go exploring.

Photo Credit: Yunak

References: YunakMost Amazing Facts

  1. Air Force Academy Chapel, Colorado, United States

Construction on this amazing building started in 1957 and it was completed in 1962. Designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and constructed by Robert E. McKee, Inc., it provides the following worship areas: Protestant chapel (Protestants), Catholic chapel (Catholics), Jewish chapel (Jews), Buddhist chapel (Buddhists), Falcon Circle (Followers of Earth-Centered Spiruality, which includes Wicca, Paganism and Druidism) and All-Faiths rooms (these are for smaller religious groups and faith specific accoutrements are available for use).

Photo Credit: Author – Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

References: WikipediaDocomomo-USMost Amazing Facts

  1. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Of course, one of the most famous buildings in all of time, is the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower, also became the namesake. Construction started in 1887 and was completed in 1889.

Photo Credit: Benh LIEU SONG (License)

References: Wikipedia

  1. Fallingwater House, Pennsylvania, United States

Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, designed this astounding house for Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann in 1935. Construction started in 1936 and the main house was completed in 1937. In 1966 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. The Lego product range, Lego Architecture, features Fallingwater as a landmark set.

Photo Credit: Author – Daderot

References: Wikipedia

  1. La Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

This minor basilica was designed by Antoni Gaudi and construction commenced in 1882. Due to reliance on private donations and being interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, it has an anticipated completion date of 2026.

Photo Credit: Author – Bernard Gagnon

References: WikipediaMost Amazing Facts

  1. The Big Pineapple, Bathurst, South Africa

Built between 1990 – 1992, the Big Pineapple is a tribute to the agricultural success of the fruit in the region. It is almost 20m high and has three floors.

Photo Credit: NJR ZA

References: Buzz South AfricaAGU Blogosphere

  1. The Shoe House, Abel Erasmus Pass, Mpumalanga

Ron van Zyl designed and built this house for his wife, Yvonne, in 1990. Today the house is a Museum and also includes a chalet guest house, restaurant, bar, a camp site, curio shop and pool.

Photo Credit: FunPic

References: Buzz South AfricaTraveler’s Log.

  1. Alice Lane Towers, Sandton, South Africa

Designed by Paragon Architects and completed in 2010, this is definitely one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen. This is the first high rise building with a curved façade, being completely glazed and made from low energy glass and utilising glass printing technology.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

References: Wikipedia

These are some of the structures and buildings which have caught my interest, but there are still so many other amazing, popular, strange and fantastic buildings and structures in the world.

Do you have any that have caught your interest?

Feel free to leave a comment.

If you are interested in becoming one of our subscribers, please visit our website.

To view notes with screenshots on how to use our website, please visit our Wiki site.

To view more articles, please visit our blog.

About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

Market Intelligence: Tenders by Category

Tenders by Category


There are many tenders out there, but Leads 2 Business specialises in the supply of tender notices related to the Building and Construction Industry. Even in this industry, there are different tenders for the different work required. Consequently, we have Tender Categories that are divided as follows:

The Tender Categories assist in making sure that our subscribers can choose to receive the tender notices relevant to them and prevent an inundation of irrelevant information. If the company’s services fall into a very broad category, they can narrow down the tender information, by making use of our “Keywords” function to assist them in receiving the correct tender notices according to their scope or when they are searching on our website.

Are you involved in any of these Tender Categories and interested in receiving leads?

Contact me on CecileD@L2B.co.za for more information.

If you are interested in becoming one of our subscribers, please visit our website.
To view notes with screenshots on how to use our website, please visit our Wiki site.
To view more articles, please visit our blog.

About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

Falling Bridges?


Collapsing Bridges … Falling Skies?

One of the most written about stories from the end of last year and continuing now is the M1 Grayston Drive Bridge collapse on 14 October 2015. There are many questions surrounding the collapse of the temporary structure and the inquiry into who will ultimately be held responsible is ongoing.

Some of the points that have emerged so far:

* Two people were killed and 19 others injured in the accident.

* It was the scaffolding for the support structure that was intended to be a pedestrian and cycle bridge connecting Alexandra and Sandton that collapsed.

* There was no structural movement on the M1/Grayston Drive pedestrian and cyclist bridge before it collapsed.

* The failure of the couplers to provide adequate stability to the structure may have been central to the collapse.

* Australian Engineers who are experts in collapse analysis and who investigated the matter found that failure to properly tighten the couplers, may have led to the structure not being robust enough to withstand the force of the wind.

* Two batteries of girders not being bolted together in the centre of the motorway and the fact that the structure had not been bolted to the ground. A security video that captured the event shows the eastern and western girder batteries, which are the two halves of the horizontal structure that spanned the freeway, separating during the collapse as a result of not being bolted together.

It will be interesting to hear what the final determination will be in this case, but this is not the first bridge to collapse in South Africa or in the world.

One other big bridge failure in South Africa, occurred in 1998; the Injaka Bridge Collapse was found to have been caused by: Incompetence and negligence; Steel launch nose not structurally stiff enough; Incorrect temporary works slide path; Incorrectly placed temporary bearings; Incorrect feeding of bearing pads; Under-designed deck slab.


Below are some examples from the beginning of 2015 of bridge failures that have occurred:

January 2015: Two bridges in Mozambique.

19 January 2015: Hopple Street Overpass, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

01 February 2015: Plaka Bridge, Plaka-Raftaneon, Epirus, Greece.

02 February 2015: Skjeggestad Bridge, Holmestrand, Norway.

18 June 2015: Pennsy Bridge, Ridgway, Pennsylvania, USA.

20 July 2015: I-10 Bridge, Southern California, USA.

03 August 2015: Queen Juliana Bridge, Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands.

29 September 2015: Bob White Covered Bridge, Patrick County, Virginia, USA.

29 December 2015: Tadcaster Bridge, North Yorkshire, England.

10 January 2016: Nipigon River Bridge, Ontario, Canada.

31 March 2016: Vivekananda Flyover Bridge, Kolkata, India.

16 April 2016: Aso-ohashi Bridge, Minami-Aso, Japan.

21 April 2016: Niemeyer Avenue Bicycle Lane, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

20 May 2016: May Avenue Bridge, Oklahoma City, USA.

03 August 2016: Mahad Bridge, Mumbai, India.

Just under half of these were due to design or construction faults and the rest due to natural disasters.

It is clear that bridges are collapsing around the world, not just in South Africa and that most are caused by natural disasters. However, in the cases that were not natural disasters, could they have been prevented? Were there measures that should have been taken, and weren’t?

As outsiders, watching the events unfold after the fact, we will never have all the facts and all that runs rife is speculation.

As in the words of Chicken Little “The sky is falling”, and so, are bridges…be wary of the bridges you cross, or burn.






About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

Understanding the Tender Process in Africa


Leads 2 Business : Understanding the Tender Process in Africa


Understanding the African Tender Process is not much different from the South African Tender process (see link to previous blogs referencing SA Tender Process).


In general, tendering follows the following (simplified) process:

  1. A need for a service is identified.
  2. Approval is obtained from the necessary entities.
  3. Documentation (including Bid Documents, BoQ, Drawings, Specifications, etc.) is prepared and approved.
  4. Advertising of Tenders.
  5. Receipt and opening of tenders.
  6. Evaluation of Bids.
  7. Awarding of Bids

Procurement can be achieved via the following methods:

Single Source (also referred to as Direct Contracting), Requests for Quotations (RfQ’s), Two-Stage Tendering, Request for Proposals (RfP’s), Restricted Tendering, Open Tendering, Prequalified Tenders. (For an explanation of the methods, please see http://procurementclassroom.com/procurement-methods/).

Of course, each country will have its own Public Procurement Regulations, rules and laws that govern the procurement process. Furthermore, each institution may have its own policy that is applied over and above the country’s regulations. Each advertisement will identify the forms and documents that will be required for that specific bid.

Some things to bear in mind specific to understanding the African Tender Process are the following:

There might be language barriers: depending on which country is advertising the bid, it might be advertised in another language (not English). Some bids will include a copy of the bid documentation which has been translated to English, but in the cases where they do not provide translated documents, it might be necessary for a translator.

When needing to contact the specific institution, ensure that you have the right dialing code for the country you are trying to contact.

It might be easier to communicate via email and this will ensure that there is also a paper trail of any queries raised and answered, in which case, the correct email address is a necessity.


[tweetthis]Communication with the right people and always confirming the details is essential.[/tweetthis]



For some tips on tendering, please have a look at the following articles:



About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

Where do you find value?

Where do you find Value?



This is a very tricky question. Where you find value is going to depend on what you value. Different people value different things.


Those who value saving, will find value in all sales. They will scour the newspapers, internet, shops etc., for any discount. This might not mean that they are actually buying an item they need, it might just be that because they will be saving, they will buy it now instead of waiting until they actually need it.


Everyone wants value for their money. If it’s an item you have purchased or a service. And because you have paid, you want the most out of it. Sometimes, you are amazed by the value you receive for your money, but a few times you are so very disappointed and this is when comments and reviews are published on websites like Hello Peter.


Others value family and friends. They understand that each minute you spend with someone you love is to be valued, as you don’t know if you will have the next minute.


I recently found a quote from Mother Theresa: “In the West we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results. In the East – especially in India – I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving.”


At the end of the day, we are all different, will value different things and therefore, we will all find value in different places. I think the best would be a balance between everything we value and how / where we find that value. Remember to find value in the smaller things in life. It is oft times, the smile you give a stranger, that uplifts them on a bad day, the small kindnesses you do for others, without expecting anything in return. These small things leave a lasting legacy and give value to others’ lives.



About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

The Effect of Inclement Weather on Construction

posted in: How To 0

The Effect of Inclement Weather on Construction

The completion of a project depends just as much on the weather as on the contractor’s rate of work.

Most projects have standard Main Contract Conditions, i.e. JBCC, NEC or FIDIC contracts, and construction programme periods which outline the conditions for any inclement weather claims the contractor might need to submit for a specific project. Then, there might be other employers who have their own additional conditions as well.

It also does not just depend on the days when it is raining, but also on the days following the rain, as the working conditions won’t allow normal activity for safety reasons, due to excess water or muddy conditions, etc. Strong winds can also prevent construction from taking place.

Different provinces will have their own specific rainfall patterns, and contractors in the provinces will be aware of these, however, each construction site is to keep daily weather records which include rainfall meter and/or wind speed meter.

So, the question is, are contractors able to depend on weather sites and/or reports to predict the days that they will not be able to continue construction due to bad weather?

Given all the technological advances during the last few years, the prediction of the weather has become more accurate. However, given all the variables that need to be taken into account in order to predict the weather, the chances are quite high that should one of the elements change, it will affect the entire prediction. This means that a prediction for the weather for the next three days will be more accurate, but a longer-range forecasting becomes significantly less reliable by the third and fourth day of the forecast.

Of course, there are also alternative ways of predicting the weather, i.e. observation, pattern and folklore. According to wikiHow (http://www.wikihow.com/Predict-the-Weather-Without-a-Forecast), there are four methods of predicting the weather without a forecast:

  1. Observing the sky
  2. Feeling the wind and air
  3. Watching animal behaviour
  4. Creating your own prediction methods

I am not going to go into all the details, but they had the following rhymes/proverbs which are quite interesting:

  1. “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”
  2. “Rainbow in the morning, need for a warning.”
  3. “Circle around the moon, rain or snow soon.”
  4. “Flowers smell best just before a rain.”

To find out the meanings of these, you are welcome to follow the link above, it does make for interesting reading, although these are for the Northern Hemisphere.

In conducting my research for this article, I came across the COMBISAFE UBIX® temporary roof system (http://www.combisafe.com/news-and-events/keeping-construction-on-track-when-under-the-weather/). This is a British product that they use in construction to keep a project on course and limit the effects of adverse weather conditions. Further to the temporary roof system, it can also feature a COMBISAFE RunWay system. This means it can quickly and safely be rolled open to allow for plant, equipment and materials to be craned in and out as required.

In the end, it appears that although there have been great strides in predicting the weather, it is not possible to only rely on weather predictions for accuracy. A combination of all methods described here might have better accuracy than just one or two of all the methods. But unfortunately, there will still be instances when mother nature decides that she has to vent, and construction will have to bow down and surrender to her will for a day or so.

Special thanks to Neels Van Staden from Steffanutti Stocks Building Gauteng for his assistance.

About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

Why are Professionals reluctant to hand out a BoQ?

Why are Professionals reluctant to hand out a BoQ?


Disclaimer: Please take note that this is my opinion and none of the comments below are intended to cause offence and do not point to any professional in particular.


Ok, as someone (who is not a contractor / tenderer / sub-contractor / vendor etc.) who has to obtain electronic bills of quantities from professionals, I have to state unequivocally, that I do not understand why all bills of quantities are not available in an electronic format. I understand that those electronic bills may only be available to the contractors who are tendering on the contract, but I believe there should still be electronic bills.


Some of the reasons we are given are:

1. Client does not want the electronic bill released.

2. Bill is only released to the tenderers who have purchased the tender document and attended the site inspection.

3. Bill is only released to everyone who attended the site inspection.

4. There are no electronic bills.

5. The consultant does not want his format available for anyone to copy.

6. There are some people who will try to tender on the contract without having purchased the tender documents.


My thoughts on these reasons are:

1. Why not? Does the client not realise that the electronic format is easier for redistribution to vendors, suppliers and sub-contractors? It is easier to re-incorporate the prices that are received back and makes it easier to compile prices. If it is easier for the contractor (and by extension, the vendors, suppliers and sub-contractors) to gather the prices, make sense of them and fill in the tender document, then it is probably going to mean that the client will receive better bids.

2. I have no problem with this reason, but in favour of making it easier for us to obtain the electronic bill, it would be great if you would provide us with the name of the person you sent it to at the specific contracting company, so that we can advise our contact at that company, who they need to contact in order for them to provide us with the electronic bill.

3. Please see point 2 above.

4. This is rather difficult to believe as there are various programs (WinQS, Bill, CCS, excel, etc.) which are available for use. Adobe is also used and although not optimal, it is definitely preferred over a scanned file any day.

5. Sorry to say, but most bills are in the same format already, irrespective of who the consultant was that drew it up.

6. So what? If they hand in an electronic copy of the bill or even, a printed out version of the bill, so what? The tender state clearly that only the filled in ORIGINAL tender documents will be accepted as a valid bid. Therefore, any and all bids submitted that are not filled in original tender documents should be void and it shouldn’t affect any of the other tenderers submissions.


In conclusion, the reasons we are requesting an electronic bill of quantities are:


A. Our subscribers (contractors), who are tendering on this contract (therefore they will purchase the tender documents and attend the site inspection), would like us to upload the bill on our Electronic Pricing System so that they can send it out to their suppliers / vendors / sub-contractors.

B. A vendor / supplier / subcontractor is interested in seeing if anything is on the bill that they supply or do, so that they can supply the contractors who are tendering on this project with prices (this is usually helped by an accompanying site register, so that they know who to submit their prices to…hint hint)


This should be a win-win situation for everyone concerned, so please, please be nice and provide electronic BoQ’s (even if it is just to the contractors:)).



About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

Nightmare on Tender Street

Bills of Quantity (BOQ) Monsters


A story of how bidding used to work


Early Monday morning I walk into my office. On my desk are three bound documents, I shake my head in disbelief. Right on cue, my boss walks in the door. I point at the documents and ask: “I wasn’t aware of any other tenders for this month?” He replies: “We received them Saturday morning, they close in a week, 9 days and 14 days respectively, I want the prices back for all three in four days’ time.” He walks into his office and closes the door. I am left alone by my desk, feeling like I am about to be suffocated.


Four days! Only four days! Do I look like a miracle worker?!


I shake my head, roll my shoulders and try to calm down. There is no time for histrionics right now, I have to get these tenders out and priced back to my boss in four days. First thing I do is look at the tenders to ascertain the areas where the work will take place. Ok, two of them I can send to the same vendors for prices as they are in close proximity, this will cut my work by a third. Feeling a little bit better, I start typing up the cover letters for each tender. Once complete and printed, I take the first tender document and remove the fasteners holding the tender document together (luckily the two tenders that are close together, I can unbind. Unfortunately, the last tender I will have to copy each page of the bill and they will probably have that blinking black line obscuring the item numbers. Ugh!). I start sorting the pages of the bill into the different trades I need to send to; of course some of the pages will be required for different trades as well. I then grab our vendor list and start looking for vendors in the required area. Once I have compiled the necessary list of every vendor I will be sending to, I realise that due to the project being rural, I am going to have to fax almost every vendor, as there is only one that has an email address. Great! Just great!


I look at the clock; it is 11:10 am. There is enough time to at least fax a few before I am supposed to go to lunch, although it looked like it was going to be a sandwich eaten on the go. With a heavy sigh, I pick up the different piles and trudge over to the fax machine. The light blinks, indicating that I need to replace the ink cartridge, I grunt. Now, I have to go find a replacement cartridge, as the stupid fax won’t work until I have replaced the cartridge. Some days, I really hate my job! I open the supply cabinet, rummage through the piles and finally spot the cartridge right in the back. I cut open the package and cross back to the fax, trying to remember the steps in replacing the cartridge, wishing for the millionth time that we could get an upgraded fax/printer machine. I finally wrangle the old cartridge out and insert the new one. Ok, time to fax. I grab the first pile, position the papers and pick up my list of vendors; I enter the first number and press send. The first two pages go through with no issue, the third page never emerges and the fax starts emitting a high pitched shriek, with lights flashing. Page jam, fantastic. I open the machine compartment, do a scan of the areas where the paper can be stuck and see at least three pages in different locations. I grab the first one and pull it out quite smoothly, the second one I can’t get hold, so I take a pair of tweezers from my handbag and finally manage to get it out. I reach for the third one, manage a good grip and start pulling, it won’t budge. Grimacing, I reset my foot, take the page in a two-handed grip and yank with all my might.


Chaos erupts! It’s like the machine is possessed. It’s spewing paper everywhere and then a black rain joins in coating everything in ink, including me. I try to fight my way to the machine, guarding my face with my hands, finally getting to the power cord and reach to push the power button…I wake up in a cold sweat, bolting upright, gasping for breath. I shakily reach up to push my hair off my sweating face. It’s only a nightmare, it’s not real. I exhale and feeling calm again, turn onto my side and close my eyes. Thank goodness I subscribe to Leads 2 Quotes.

About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

What is a Bill of Quantities (BoQ) & a Bill Extract?

posted in: General 0

Bill of Quantities (BoQ): According to www.ask.com, “A Bill of quantities is a list of numbered items, each of which describes the work to be done in a civil engineering or a building contract. Each item shows the capacity of work involved. The bill is issued to tenderers, who return it with a price opposing each item.”

Bill Extract: The portion/s of a BoQ which relates to the supplier/vendor/sub-contractors’ trades, i.e. the specific trade/s that a supplier/vendor/sub-contractor does.


View this Diagram as a PDF

For more information on Leads 2 Business, please visit www.L2B.co.za

About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

1 2