Civil engineering sector’s readiness to undertake large-scale development & infrastructure projects was emphasised at the 2015 SAICE / SAFCEC Awards.

As the civil engineering sector’s readiness to undertake large-scale development and infrastructure projects was once again emphasised at the 2015 SAICE / SAFCEC Awards, Clint Wicomb, PPC’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing: Coastal, argued that the local industry finds itself in a unique position.

As downstream suppliers such as PPC expand across the continent, they’re providing civil engineering firms with an ideal opportunity to not only enter new markets and countries, but offer simultaneously a range of sustainable turnkey solutions that will meet Africa’s growth needs well into the future.

With South Africa’s economic growth and infrastructure development under significant pressure, players in the collective construction industry, including civil engineers, are looking forward to government investing in critical projects across the country. “The good news for communities in areas earmarked for development is that the civil engineering sector is ready and will be able to commence with infrastructure construction as soon as projects are given the go-ahead,” Clint assured guests during his opening address at the South African Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) Awards dinner.

He added that this was true for the collective construction industry – across the full value chain – from suppliers all the way through to the companies that would work on the ground to deliver on these projects: “To this end, as PPC we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate to government and all stakeholders present that the industry is not only ready for this work to commence, but we’re also capable. Partnerships such as those between PPC, SAFCEC and SAICE are indicative of this ability and readiness, and we look forward to the next phase of infrastructure development starting,” Clint continued.

He also noted that countries beyond South Africa’s borders were offering the sector a new source of infrastructure opportunities, making this an exciting time to live and work on the continent. “Over the past decade, economic growth across Africa has trebled, with the IMF identifying six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in 2014 as African,” said Clint. “This translates into a critical need for infrastructure – as illustrated in the recent African Construction Trends Report compiled by Deloitte. This highlights that the net worth of mega-projects across the continent grew by a staggering 46.2% last year alone. This represents an increase of US$ 103-billion, reaching a total investment value of US$ 326-billion in 2014.”

This extraordinary rate of urbanisation has resulted in a real need for urban development and associated infrastructure – where players across the collective construction value chain have a critical role to play. The challenge facing the sector however remains how to access these opportunities sustainably.  

Clint explained that PPC’s own experience in Africa had taught the company that partnerships were crucial if one were looking to invest in the long-term future of the continent. “To this end, we are committed to working with SAICE and SAFCEC to build and enable an environment of innovation within companies and communities, and across African borders,” he concluded. “As we strive to achieve this, it is equally imperative that we pursue sustainability across our various disciplines in order to redefine the value we are able to add, and build and shape our cities and continent responsibly for future generations.”