L2B Blog: How to demolish a wall the right way

So when I got my topic for our blog I thought to myself, how am I supposed to know? Well seeing as though we’re in the Industry and get to work with the Pro’s on a daily basis, why not ask them how they do it? I reverted to my client Mr Brenton Bokelmann from Supa Diggers. With his great sense of humour, his first response was “drive the machine through the wall”

Please note, it is imperative to use the proper tools. Employ care when demolishing the wall to steer clear of injury. Wear the relevant PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as safety glasses, a dust mask, heavy duty gloves and safety boots.

First things first! Everyone dislikes a mess and extra work, so best you clear out the room or the area where the wall is and place a plastic covering for minimal cleanup time and effort.

Knowledge of the simple basic construction craftsmanship and knowledge with power saws and power hammer drills is convenient when demolishing the type of brick wall found in and around a home in South Africa.

For your regular buildings, such as houses, that are one, two or three stories high, demolition is quite an effortless process when you don’t have close by buildings etc. The wall is pulled down either physically or by using yellow hydraulic equipment: cranes, bulldozers or excavators.

Size Matters! If you have a neighbour to bear in mind and don’t necessarily want your debris lying in their dining area, break down the wall piece by piece ensuring the wall doesn’t come down all at once, causing damage to surroundings. Begin by measuring and marking the area of the wall you want to be removed, doing this you create a breaking point for your wall. Score over the said marks with a utility blade that is sharp. This prevents unwanted wall breaking or being demolished in error. Then slowly take it down piece by piece Either with your sledgehammer or excavator depending on size.

If it is a load-bearing wall, in other words, it keeps the roof in place, best you be ready to first remove the roofing in that specific area.

“A brick wall is as easy as pushing it over with an excavator and when it falls it breaks into manageable sizes so that you can move the debris,” Brenton says. If the wall has items such as electrical cables, plumbing or gas lines you will require a professional to come out and give the relevant permissions for you to be able to go ahead.

Final step, remove and dispose of all debris from the demolition in a safe and responsible manner

Thank you for reading my blog, please subscribe to receive our Building and Construction News e-mails which include the blog articles, for more amazing industry related blogs by my dearest colleagues.





Brenton Bokelman from Supa Diggers


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About Julia Smit

I am 25 years of age and a Dynamic entrepreneur who utilizes creativity, leadership and teamwork to design and execute solutions that create customer value. I am an effective communicator with the ability to create a prospective customer into an actual customer. Experienced professional with planning and organizational skills that balance work, team support and ad-hoc responsibilities in a timely and professional manner. I am a New business development executive with 6 years of experience in sales, customer care, business growth and expansion. I take my career at Leads 2 Business very serious am super passionate about what we do.

L2B Blog: 10 Ways to Set Yourself up for Demolitions

One thing about construction projects like houses and buildings is that as they went up, someday they must come down. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes residential homes and buildings, as well as commercial structures.


When that day arrives and the building has become unsafe or just seen better days, it’s time to call in the building demolition experts. Every safe and successful demolition begins with the company you hire to carry it out. After you’ve hired a qualified and reputable company to do the job, the demolition process begins.


Here are a few things to consider before the actual Demolition:


Engineering Survey: The first step of this process is making an engineering survey. Make sure a competent person does this task, one who perfectly knows the condition of the building. This person must indicate in the survey, the condition of the floors, framing, walls and the possibility of unplanned collapse of any part of the structure.


Hazardous Material: It’s important to determine if any hazardous material like chemicals, gases or explosives have been used with any equipment in the structure. If such material is present, then testing and purging must be done first to eliminate this hazard.


Creating the Plan: Once your needs are determined, a plan is created. The plan will include how the demolition is to be carried out, as well as all of the equipment that will be used to do it. The ultimate goal is to get that building demolished in the safest and most efficient way possible while staying within budget. These decisions will depend on things like the size of the building, the building materials, the reason for the demolition and the location of the building.


Some of the demolition methods that might be considered include:
• Implosion
• Deconstruction
• Selective Demolition
• Traditional Excavator with grapple or “claw” and thumb


Once the plan is set, the demolition company will know the method, the equipment that’s necessary, the approximate cost, how much debris there will be, how it will be dispersed at the site and how long it will take to clean up. Backup plans and emergency plans will also be part of the overall demolition plan.


Getting Permits: Obviously, it isn’t possible to just stroll into any city or town and demolish a building without getting the proper permits. Removing any building from a site will alter the landscape and can even alter property values and property taxes in the area.


Surroundings: The site must be fenced or suitably barricaded to prevent public access during the demolition process. No part of any external wall on or within 6,000mm of the street alignment is to be pulled down except during times as specified by the building surveyor.


Move Your Property to Storage: Before any demolition project, you need to get your valuables out of there, of course. Usually, there’s at least something in your old building worth holding on to! Make sure your property is well out of harm’s way long before the demolition begins so you aren’t scrambling at the last second. Anything you find that you don’t need anymore can be sold for a profit or donated to charity.


Check Your Insurance: It’s always a good idea to check your insurance policy and notify your insurer before beginning a demolition project. If a water pipe bursts or someone is injured, you don’t want to be held liable.


Arrange Alternate Space: If you’re demolishing your home or an office building, you need to make sure alternate arrangements have been made well in advance. Where will you live, or where will your employees go? Don’t put yourself in a pickle by failing to address where the people will go to after their home or workplace has been demolished.


Arrange Alternative Accommodation: Before demolition begins, ensure you have arranged suitable alternative accommodation. You may have another property to reside in, or you may wish to rent, share or board with family or friends. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s all planned out well in advance of demo day.


Reuse Old Materials: Before you bring in the wrecking ball, consider whether any materials can be reused for your new property. For example, you may wish to retain the old pavers for an outdoor patio or keep some well-established garden plants. Indoors, you may want to keep some of the cornices or skirting boards for reuse, or even the internal and external doors – after all, it’s amazing what a coat of fresh paint can do. Remember, a saving here and there can add up to thousands of Rands in savings in total.


In a lot of ways, the building going down isn’t really an ending, but a new beginning for whatever structure is going to take its place.







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About Nonkazi Zondi

I started at Leads 2 Business in September 2016 as a Content Researcher in the Daily Tenders South Africa Department.

L2B Blog: Sustainable construction with 3d Modelling

I was asked to write a blog on “sustainable construction with 3D modelling” WHAT?!! How do you even say that? Well lets just say my heart sank and I ran around like a chicken without a head, I had no idea as to how I was going to write this blog or even how to start as I have never written a blog in my life so this was going to be a challenge, but what is a world without challenges and growth? I had another look at the topic and looked at it in a more positive way “Well….. I tried to”.


Let’s start with breaking it down:
What is “sustainable construction”?
A frequently used term yet nobody really knows the true meaning. Sustainable construction is the ability to preserve our environment and makes use of cost effective resources. While doing this we need to ensure we do not compromise the ability of our future generations to meet their own needs.


Sustainable construction is more than often misjudged by misunderstanding. Yet the very few businesses that do understand the meaning of sustainable construction do their utmost to embrace and preserve the environment by using efficient resources and stable economic growth. This also brings into effect the use of 3D modelling with the sustainable construction which also leads to saving valuable time, money, economic impact and errors found if we did not have. This technology is known as (BIM) Building Information Modelling.
Now you can see that the 3D modelling has come in and you are now thinking… okay, now what is this? Well, let me tell you about 2D then you will understand how 3D modelling works and how far we have come in the construction industry.

So what is 2D modelling?



When construction was implemented using 2D drawings, 2D drawings were not always as reliable as they would have liked, often they would find errors and faults throughout the building and sometimes only once the structure was complete. This would then cost a lot more to fix, if they could fix it. Take the leaning tower of Pisa, imagine how this building would look if they had 3D modelling back then.



What is 3D modelling?



3D drawings are a 3 dimensional drawing that brings your design to life. With today’s technology with BIM and 3D drawings, sustainable construction has taken a big leap forward with regards to building, laying, environment and economic growth. 3D printing/drawing has helped in the construction and development of buildings allowing them to last longer as there are fewer faults in the construction phase. BIM is a program that gathers data and allows you to make a 3D model of your vision.




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About Tamika Mays

I started working at Leads 2 Business the 7th March this year. I have been working in the Leads to Quotes department where we deal with the contractors on a day to day basis. We help the contractors get the pricing they need for the contracts. The construction industry is an ever evolving industry and I love learning new things every day. Leads 2 Business is an amazing company to work for and is filled with amazing staff.

L2B Blog: Consulting Work in Africa

I hope that my blog doesn’t bore you too much. I like to talk – to the point where I am consciously aware that I am bothering the people around me… and yet I continue. As a mitigating consideration, (fingers crossed) I don’t think I’m boring. The fact that I think I might have the gift of the gab is probably one of the main reasons why I shouldn’t run out of things to talk about. 😉


I will be discussing consultants, who are they and what do they do?


To be honest, the very first time I heard the word “consultants”, I immediately thought of doctors, I don’t know why… probably because I’m Afrikaans. I lie awake at night sometimes worrying that my words, phrases, and punctuation will end up in court. Why? To be sentenced, of course.


A consultant is a person who provides professional or expert advice in a particular field of business to either an organisation or individual. There are various different types of consultants. Consultants are professionals, typically appointed by the client to perform expert tasks on a project.


The members of the Consultant team that are likely to be required on most projects are:

*Quantity surveyors


In this regard, I’m going to focus on Architects.


Giving people an exceptional experience, and turning what appears to be nothing, into a space of breathtaking beauty.


That is the art of being an Architect. #WeLoveOurArchitects

#SiyawathandaAmaArchitectsAseAfrica #OnsWaardeerArgitekte



What is an Architect?


An Architect is someone who plans, designs and reviews the construction of developments. The architect is acquainted with the tender procedures and building contracts.


It’s amazing how opportunities in Africa became extraordinary. With the rapid economic growth, masses migrated into the cities, (which is quite distressing) how would you plan for expansion of these cities which were built for only a limited few? Well, with the right political agency and the right construction environment you can transform an empty space into a breathtaking sight, Exciting right!! I like to think that Architects develop the world, after all they create the foundation which our shopping malls, hospitals, schools and so much more are built on.


Please click here to view a project in Swaziland on our site














Image Source



Enough harping on about how much I love architects. If you think about it for a second, throughout Africa there is a great need for mixed use developments. It’s an important aspect and this is the reason why I feel that Architecture plays a big role just as much in Africa as everywhere else.


The continued population growth across Africa has resulted in increased demand for infrastructure development. This has in return driven a significant rise in the number of investors seeking opportunities. There are companies whose main goal it is to provide exceptional services from conceptual to completion in developing new structures for the prosperity of Africa.


A long time ago there was no such thing as big flashy buildings or proper roofing with foundations and pretty things for the eyes. It was simple, traditional architecture. You had a choice of a wooden or a mud house. On the southern coast of Benin in West Africa, for example, there is an entire city built on stilts. These range from churches to banks and even hospitals. I read something once that caught my eye: “I asked him why he wanted a metal roof, and he said, because then I would be somebody.


Image Source


If you think about it, this way architects have the power to make developments in Africa a source of income for the majority of locals who happen to be young people and are most likely unemployed. If Architects build sturdy structures they are automatically creating employment. By pushing innovation in local materials with skills and craftsmanship based on African heritage, they can actually end up with a mix of development that can benefit the population. Yes, we value our Architects in Africa. If African countries keep growing, it’ll continue to be an exciting place to work as an architect. Just remember, whatever good things we build ends up building us. #ValueOurArchitects


I would just like to place emphasis on the importance of proper architecture in the construction industry, after all architecture is the art and science of designing and building large structures. I would like to let you in on a terrible incident that took place in Kenya due to poor consultancy service and planning. In this case Kenya’s lab got a D on their report for this “science project”.


In April this year a building collapsed in Nairobi, leaving at least 12 people dead and others injured. The underlying cause and I quote “is poor construction, a problem reflected across the city and many other parts of Kenya”. In Nairobi alone only 42% of the cities buildings are considered safe for inhabitants, according to the 2015 audit by Kenya’s National Construction Authority, the Daily Nation reported and I quote again “developers are bypassing construction rules and regulations in order to meet the demand” said architecture professor Alfred Omenya in an interview after two buildings collapsed last year.


So… Consultancy in Africa…..yes, we need you and we don’t want any more buildings collapsing in Africa.


Please click on the link to read more about the article of the collapsing buildings in Kenya.


Finishing off, I would like to encourage you to check our website at www.l2b.co.za for amazing leads and business opportunities on consultancy. You can also sign up for a free trial to see what we are all about.


Until we meet again:)


“The road to success is always under construction”


















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About Sonet Du Plooy

I started working at Leads 2 Business in 2014. I was part of the Tenders Africa team and have now recently moved to Private Projects. I love every second of it!

L2B Blog: Visions of the future from the architectural past

Visions of the future from the architectural past

When you look at a building, what do you see? I see bricks, some windows, a door or two, oh, and we can’t forget the roof. I am sure that is pretty much what everyone else sees. But when I was given the task of writing this blog, I couldn’t find anything on visions of the future from Architectures past besides the thoughts and visions of what the future might look like with flying cars and buildings in the air floating around (Ok, maybe not to that extent, but you get the idea). With a pounding headache and the confusion lingering, I was forced to take a deeper look into what was handed to me.

A light bulb appeared and low and behold, bam! The idea popped into my mind. I started to think a little out of the box. As the searching started I was amazed at what I discovered, who knew that there is more to a building than just bricks, windows, doors and a roof. Confused? Let me shed some light…

When you look at a building there is more than what the eye can see. There is a past, a story to be told. If I had to write about each and every building, we might be dealing with the longest blog known. Instead I have isolated 3 buildings to tell their story…


1. The Dresden Fraunkirche ( Church of the Lady)

The Dresden Fraunkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, capital state of Saxony, Germany, first built in the 11th century in a Romanesque style. The first Frauenkirche was torn down in 1727 and replaced by a new and larger church. The church’s most distinctive feature was its unconventional 96m high dome, called ‘die Steinerne Glocke’ or “Stone Bell”











(Frauenkirche, between 1860 and 1890)


The destruction of the Frauenkirche took place on 13 February 1945, when Anglo-American allied forces began the bombing of Dresden. The church withstood these attacks for two days and nights and held long enough for the evacuation of 300 people who had sought shelter in the church. The dome finally collapsed on 15 February. The pillars exploded and the outer walls shattered and nearly 6 000 tons of stone plunged to earth.


During the last months of World War II, residents expressed the desire to rebuild the church, however reconstruction came to a halt due to political circumstances in East Germany. Due to the continuing decay of the ruins, Dresden leaders decided in 1985 to rebuild the Church of Our Lady. The project gathered momentum as hundreds of architects, art historians and engineers sorted through the thousands of stones, identifying and labelling each for reuse in the new structure.


Reconstruction proceeded in February 1992 and a rubble-sorting ceremony started the event in January 1993 under the direction of architect and engineer Eberhard Burger. The foundation stone was laid in 1995 and stabilised in 1995. In 1996 the crypt was completed followed by the inner cupola in 2000. The exterior was completed by 2004 and the exterior painted in 2005. The intensive efforts to rebuild this landmark were completed in 2005, one year earlier as planned and in time for the 800-year anniversary in 2006.

(Frauenkirche at night)


2. The Reichstag Building

The Reichstag building is a historic edifice in Berlin, Germany which was constructed in 1871 to house the Imperial Diet of the General Empire.

(Reichstag Building, August 1932)


The building was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged after it was set on fire. The building fell into disuse after the World War II.

(Reichstag, postwar. June 1945)


The ruined building was made safe against the elements and partially refurbished in the 1960s. Only after the German reunification on 3 October 1990, did the Reichstag undergo reconstruction led by Architect Norman Foster

During reconstruction, the building was almost completely stripped, taking out everything except the outer walls. Respect to the historic aspects was one of the conditions stipulated to the architects so that traces of historical events were to be retained in visible state.

Reconstruction was completed in 1999 and is the second most visited attraction in Germany. The building houses a huge glass dome that was erected on the roof as a gesture to the original 1894 cupola.

3. Last but not least, the demise of the next buildings, shattered America and brought the world to a standstill… the World Trade Centre (The Twin Towers)

At the time of their completion the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world. On 20 September 1962, the Port Authority announced the selection of Minoru Yamasaki as lead architect and Emery Roth & Sons as associate architects. The original plan was for the towers to only be 80 stories tall, however, to meet the requirements of the Port Authority to have 10 000 000 square feet of office space, towers were eventually 110 stories tall. Demolition work began on 21 March 1966 to clear thirteen square blocks of low rise buildings. Groundbreaking took place on 5 August 1966. On 4 April 1973 the Twin Towers opened.


About 50 000 people worked in the towers with approximately 200 000 additional visitors passing through on a typical weekday. On 11 September 2001, the world came to a standstill when terrorists hijacked American Airlines and deliberately crashed into both the towers. It was estimated that approximately 17 400 occupants were in the towers at the time of the attacks and 2 977 people died as a result.


During the following years, plans were created for the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre which is now known as the World Trade Centre Memorial and Museum. They commemorate all the victims that were killed on 11 September 2011, including the names of 6 people who were killed in the World Trade Centre bombings in 1993. Construction began in August 2006 and despite many delays, the opening of the memorial took place on 12 September 2011, one day after the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The names of the victims are inscribed on 76 bronze plates attached to the walls of the memorial pools. Below is the transcript of ‘The Memorial Mission’:


‘The Memorial Mission’

‘Remember and honour the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.

Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.

Recognise the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.

May the lives remembered, the deeds recognised, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.’



With a new outlook on buildings, always remember that just like each and every one of us, we all have a story to tell. A past, a present and a future.






Did you Know #DYK: Project Life Cycle Explained

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About Nadine Vermeulen

I started working at Leads 2 Business in October 2014 in the Leads 2 Quotes Department. I managed all the Daily Tender Bill Requests and followed up on BoQ's for our Daily Tender Subscribers. In 2017, I was promoted to L2Q Assistant and now work with Bill of Quantities for Contractors. 🙂

L2B Blog: Exploring New Ideas in the Role of the Project Manager

Exploring New Ideas in the Role of the Project Manager

If you are involved in the construction industry you have most likely come into contact with a Project Manager (hereafter referred to as a PM) or heard of one mentioned in the process of developments and particularly larger developments.

Certainly in Leads 2 Business’ Projects Department PM’s are one of the most common professionals we deal with. The reason for this, is their role within construction projects.

So, what does a PM actually do? It would seem rather obvious right, they manage the project? But nothing is ever as simple as it seems. PM’s actually do a whole host of duties.

Some of which include: planning, organising, controlling, communicating, executing, reports, programs, advice, analysis, resource control, health and safety, budgets, administration and handover.

All of these duties are done ensure that the project runs successfully thus lowering the risks while meeting all of the objectives timeously to ensure completion which effects the profitability of the project.

So, when do new ideas come into the picture? What new ideas would PM’s have to explore in todays construction industry?

To be honest, I was at a loss when pondering this question, after all I’m not a PM and it’s not a role one easily assumes to answer. So I emailed a few PM’s to get some feedback on ideas that they might want to put out there… but still no luck, probably snowed under with work given our economic environment. I scoured the Internet and there didn’t seem to be any publications or news out there for new ideas when it comes to PM’s until I happened on some LinkedIn Posts. Phew!

This may not be a new idea but how about technology, either using existing tech and / or molding it to PM’s requirements, partnering with IT and creating PM specific tech or even sharing your tech tricks with other PM’s? For example: Ahmed H. Emam, PMP writes “Detect and Fix Dangling Activities in Time Schedule using Excel Macro.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/detect-fix-dangling-activities-time-schedule-using-excel-pmp

Using tech could make PM’s jobs easier but some seem to think that PM’s might be replaced in the future by Tech/Bots. As Oliver Yarbrough, M.S., PMP illustrates in “Can a Robot Do Your Job? Here’s “How Project Managers Can Survive a Takeover.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-robot-do-your-job-heres-how-project-managers-oliver

There are some things that tech, no matter how advanced it gets, cannot replace. Oliver suggests to focus on the following skills in order to stand out: “Leadership, Diplomacy, Negotiating, Public Speaking, Emotional Intelligence, Communication (verbal and nonverbal)” and instead of fighting tech, work with it to enhance your service delivery.

Another thought also came to mind: what is one of the key aspects that I think of when I think of a PM? It would have to be communication. So, what new idea would make communication more effective? What about a platform where all the schedules, notes, admin, planning and analysis can be seen by all the professionals involved in a specific project? Where each person can make notes or get alerts thus avoiding confusion, emails back and forth, potential loss of material, and saving time, something like Google Sheets for PM’s? Does this already exist? It’s possible… calling all PM’s out there, let us know! Perhaps I need to patent this idea.

After all, we all know that communication is key whether you are a PM or not. Another useful tool to facilitate communication and interaction between professionals and all other contacts which fall within the scope of projects is to use L2B (Leads 2 Business). If you are looking to get involved in the different aspects of construction, information is our business. We encourage communication, new ideas and growth in order to build and establish business.

If any of the above sparks your interest leave a Comment below or or Contact me on SashaA@L2B.co.za







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About Sasha Anderson

I enjoy making new professional acquaintances and corresponding with existing clients. Reach out if you want to talk, L2B, social media, construction, technology, shoes, dachshunds, popular culture or travel.

L2B Blog: The longest Civil Engineering job Underway in SA

The longest Civil Engineering job Underway in SA

“N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway”

The longest Civil Engineering job Underway in SA

PPA 6181 on L2b Website: http://www.l2b.co.za/Project/N2-Wild-Coast-Toll-Highway/6181

Is it the One / Is dit die Een / Ingabe iwo na?

Image Source: click here


Talks about this project have been going on since 2008, when the project was first captured on the L2B Website.

It has created thousands of jobs as the work included nine major bridges and three interchange bridges. The project also includes two mega-bridges across the Msikaba and Mtentu river gorges at a cost of R1.2-billion and R1.3 billion respectively.


What this all looked like before the works:

Image Source: click here

Which justifies why this was the most controversial subjects and most popular as it was famous for its unspoilt and untouched natural surroundings


As we all know Construction works are carried out in the form of projects. Projects are becoming progressively larger and more complex in terms of physical size and cost. In the modern world, the execution of a project requires the management of scarce resources; manpower, material, money, and machines to be managed throughout the life of the project – from conception to completion – as per pictures below:


Construction Process (From Start to Finish):

Image Source: click here


Image Source: click here


Image Source: click here


Image Source: click here


Facts and Benefits:

  • The creation of this new road increased accessibility to the area and thus increased job creation and improved livelihoods
  • It has also served to increase connectivity and logistics between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal regions.
  • Moreover, the many coastal reserves, whose aims are to educate people and to conserve the natural environment, and serve as tourist attractions, will become more accessible.
  • Overall, on the positive side, it is anticipated that the new N2 road has greatly benefitted the surrounding communities in terms of job creation, infrastructure development and accessibility, which facilitates tourism and related economic opportunities.

Despite the works that have taken place over the years, it is still amazing how the Wild Coast has preserved its originality by keeping and maintaining its tourist attractions:

Image Source: click here

No wonder Everybody likes taking a walk on the Wild Side…..Thanks to the N2 wild coast Highway, it has made this much much easier

For reference purposes, please refer to the following link: http://www.wildcoast.co.za/wild-coast-toll-road-eia-public-participation-flawed

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About Michelle Ngubo

I have been working at L2B since March 2014 and my current position is Content Researcher - Africa Department and Classy is the best word that describes me.

Potholes and Pitfalls in civil engineering contracts

Potholes and Pitfalls in civil engineering contracts

Potholes… an infrastructure issue that deserves a whole blog to itself! How often during your travels (be it your annual drive down to your favourite holiday spot, or your daily route to work) do you face the inconvenience of roadworks? I think all of us experience this from time to time. It goes on for months, sometimes even years. Finally, the works are completed and we breathe a sigh of relief. No more queues of traffic or uneven road surfaces, no more narrowing down to one lane. Phew! At last. A few weeks down the line…. a POTHOLE!!?? The blame gets shifted around quite a bit between all the parties involved in the contract, but where does the problem really lie?


I must admit. This blog title planted a new “anxiety seed” in my brain, and I found myself trying to put on a civil engineer’s shoes (figuratively, not literally).
I follow the progress of numerous infrastructure projects (but not pothole repairs!) in the department that I work in – the Projects Department. Or more affectionately known as the PP office. A few months (usually about 3 months) after a Tender is advertised for a civil engineering contract, we follow up with the relevant contacts in order to obtain the awarded civil engineering company’s details. We then contact the civil engineer and follow the design process, then the tender and construction progress, until the Project is complete. We do not delve too deep into the issues that may be presented during or after the life-cycle of the project, however, we do try to ascertain if or how those problems will affect the time frame of the development.


During my research for this topic, and on more than one occasion, education and training seemed to be a major area of concern when looking at civil engineers in the public sector. South Africa’s public sector appears to have very few professionally registered civil engineers and some of the engineers are placed in positions without possessing the required skills and experience. This could lead to errors in proposals when tendering for contracts and can have serious consequences.


Numerous failed infrastructure projects throughout South African history must surely be making things a bit more difficult for companies to win civil contracts. I would imagine that quality standards have been raised in order to improve public health and safety. These standards would hopefully be imposed on both engineering and construction firms, as both (among other professionals) are just as important in the quality of the completed project.


One example of a failed project is the collapse of the P166 bridge over the N4 in Mpumalanga in 2009. The beams collapsed and blame was shifted between a speeding truck which caused vibrations while travelling under the bridge, to vibrations caused by jackhammers and manufacturing errors. Another concern was the amount paid for the beams – it was substantially lower in comparison to what other engineers said the beams would usually cost. Sub-standard materials constitute a huge issue and can end in disaster.


The Foreshore Freeway Bridge in Cape Town is a well-known incomplete road structure. The bridge was designed in the 60s, and in the early 70s construction commenced. Construction was halted in 1977, apparently due to a lack of funding. However, rumour has it that there was an error in calculations during the design phase and that the two ends of the bridge would fail to meet!

By Flickr user Paul Mannix – https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulmannix/552103944, CC by 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46305687


Perhaps one of the most spectacular bridge collapses in the world was that of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (also nicknamed Galloping Gertie) in the USA, over 76 years ago due to strong winds. The design of the suspension bridge did not allow wind to pass through the sides, causing the bridge to sway and eventually collapse. It only stood for about 4 months after completion before disaster struck. Lessons have been learned and the way in which future suspension bridges are designed, have changed. The parts of the bridge that plunged into Puget Sound have formed a man-made reef, which is protected by the National Register of Historic Places. Click here to see the video, and to see where the bridge got its nickname.

By Barney Elliott; The Camera Shop – Screenshot taken from 16MM Kodachrome motion picture film by Barney Elliott, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23093518


Project failures, such as the ones I have mentioned above, can cast a dark shadow over the industry – an industry which is partly responsible for ensuring that our country’s infrastructure withstands time, utilising taxpayer’s money in a responsible manner. It is critical that we recognise the importance of skilled civil engineers and that employees of the profession look to improve their skills if given the opportunity.


Don’t get me wrong, we have some excellent civil engineering structures on our continent. The Maputo / Catembe Bridge, a 680m suspension bridge standing 60m over the water between Maputo and Catembe, is just one example to prove that:







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About Bianca Warwick

I had the privilege of joining the Leads 2 Business content team in January 2012. I work in the exciting Projects department, following the progress of construction developments in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

Did you know #DYK – Cost to build Roads

Cost to build Roads

Cost to build Roads

What is a road?


A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places that has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by foot or some form of conveyance, including a motor vehicle, cart, bicycle, or horse) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road which costs a vast amount of money to build


The question “Cost to build Roads” was ignited from Trevor Manual’s speech to CESA (Consulting Engineers South Africa) dated 08 October 2009 (#throwback) where he had mentioned the high cost of building of roads in South Africa.


Please Click on link to view the speech: http://www.cesa.co.za/cesaway_presentations/Trevor_Manuel_%20Speech.pdf

Flanders Drive Intersection – Mt Edgecombe:

This is a very difficult question to answer as road construction costs may vary as there are many factors to consider when building a road, please view the list below:

  • Design
  • Amount of environmental mitigation required
  • Terrain
  • Soil Conditions
  • Type of Roads
  • Width of Roads
  • Road Standards
  • Machine and Labour Costs
  • Skill of operators and labours
  • Accommodation
  • Contractors operating cost (such as fuel, labour, interest rates, insurance)
  • Traffic Management
  • Safety Aspects of pedestrians, detours
  • Time available to complete the task
  • Time of the year
  • Construction materials used
  • Availability of materials (shipping material outside the province vs using local materials)

“Road construction techniques are similar throughout the world, you can possibly achieve cost estimates once the main conditioning factors have been identified, by applying figures from similar Road construction projects. For reasons of comparing costs, it is advisable to break down labour and machine costs into different elements. The following breakdown is suggested: Surveying, staking the alignment and clearing right of way; formation of the road; rock blasting; Draining facilities (ditching, culverts); Crushing gravel; Gravelling, grading and compacting; Construction and environment protection works (bridges, retaining structures and soil stabilisation works). The cost of construction; Miscellaneous works (such as transport, delivery and minor earthworks; Projects servicing costs). Once the costs have been calculated for the different elements, unit costs (costs per m, per square m, per piece of construction work) should be developed to facilitate in estimating costs in future road projects and for comparative purposes. http://onlinecivilforum.com/site/index.php/2016/10/27/road-estimate-excel-sheet/


What does 1 km of road cost to build in South Africa? Up to R25 million per km according to CSIR (this information is sourced from the link below if you beg to differ please let us know): http://www.answers.com/Q/What_does_1km_of_road_to_build_cost_in_south_africa


The question still remains to be answered why are the construction cost of roads still so high and are they paved with “gold”?


For your information from OUTA (Organisation undoing Tax abuse): Please see Paper on High Pricing, Collusion and Capture of National Road Construction.


Please click on the link below to view active (Road) Projects currently on our system:


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About Pauline Rainbird

I have been working at L2B since March 2011 and my current position is Deputy Head of Department - Africa. When I am not working I am either riding my bicycle or spending time with my dogs.

L2B Blog: 5 Ingredients in the Constructions of a Road

5 Ingredients in the Constructions of a Road

5 ingredients in the Construction of a Road

Have you ever baked a cake and realised you forgot to add the flour or the baking powder? What tends to happen? Your cake flops or does not rise. Building a road is similar, but a lot more complex. There are so many ‘ingredients’ and important aspects that need to be considered before and during the construction of a road.

The first step to constructing a road would be planning. Your engineer/consultant would come on site and decide what type of road will be built and what materials would be used to construct the road. This will all depend on how much traffic will occupy this road. Even the simplest of roads can take up to months or possibly even years for the planning of the road. The engineer will need to evaluate many factors such as the environmental impact of the road, the availability of materials needed to construct the road, will the road be safe and, the most important factor, the cost of the road. These plans will be written into a final proposal where the consultants will need to evaluate these plans. Meetings will take place with all parties concerned and all the pros and cons will be discussed in vast detail. Without proper planning and careful consideration of all these factors, there is a chance that the foundation will collapse.

Shortly after careful planning and long and tedious meeting’s the plan will either be approved or rejected. We are going to assume that the planning was approved. The next step would be the construction of the actual road.

Ingredients used to construct a road:


1. The standard Foundation:

Bulldozers and graders, which are two types of machinery, will be used to flatten the ground surface. This ground layer will make up the bottom layer of our road



2. Gravel:

The gravel will be added in layers where a roller machine will be used to roll over this surface to ensure that the surface is compact and flattened



3. Drainage facilities:

Drainage facilitates play a huge role in ensuring that the road is safe at all times from water backlogs. We are not able to control the weather and for this reason, we need to ensure that the road never gets saturated and water-logged. Firstly it is not safe for drivers on the road and secondly, the road will soon disintegrate and start deteriorating over time. Examples of drainage facilities would be drain and storm water sewers.


Once the foundation is complete and compact and has been inspected by the consultant, it is time to pave the road!

4. Asphalt / Bitumen

Asphalt uses an oil based substance called bitumen to make sand and crushed rock stick together like a glue-like substance. The asphalt is heated to +- 300 Degrees Fahrenheit (148,88 Degrees Celsius), where it

will be transported to the site where the construction team will spread the mixture evenly across the smooth gravel service. The mixture is rolled over the gravel surface where it will form a solid layer on the top.



5. Concrete Slabs

The finishing touches will be the concrete slabs that are laid on the side of the roads. Workers will pour liquid concrete into a steel mould called forms. A finishing machine is used to shake these moulds to ensure the mixture is distributed evenly for an even finish. The concrete slabs are laid alongside the road where incisions in the road are made to allow the concrete to expand and contract depending on the temperature, this will ensure that the road does not crack



Every day we take our course of life, may it be a trip to the shop or work and take for granted these roads that we drive on. Most people think they just appeared or are set up overnight by machinery. The planning and work that goes into these roads are far more complex than most can imagine.


Sources used:




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About Roxanne Mustard

My Name is Roxanne Mustard and I started working at Leads 2 Business in September 2016. My role in the Leads 2 Business team is as a Regional Content researcher in the Projects Department.

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