Franki Africa’s geotechnical champion

23 January 2019

It takes more than the highest levels of ground engineering expertise and experience to be Keller’s Franki Africa, Africa’s geotechnical champion. Much more, It takes business acumen, customer service excellence, team-building skills, and a whole lot more.

Among the important skills required to wear this crown, especially in these challenging economic conditions, is the ability to reconfigure original tender specs to suit local conditions, the ability to run successful branches in African countries and, where no branches exist, to work across borders, sometimes in very remote and harsh environments often having to transport heavy machinery over very long distances.

Multisports Complex, Mauritius

One of these successful branches is in Mauritius where Country Manager Yannis Mongelard runs a tight and successful enterprise and one of the contracts which exemplifies both his branch’s and Franki’s all-round skills is the Mauritius Multisports project currently underway. The project involves the construction of a new sports complex for the Indian Ocean Games scheduled for July 2019 at Cote D’Or, St Pierre, Mauritius and includes athletic training grounds and track, a football pitch, an aquatic centre and a multipurpose gym.

The Government of Mauritius contracted the construction and development of the complex to the Mauritius Multisports Infrastructure Ltd (MMIL), a state-owned company. Mongelard says that the tender, which was launched in December 2017 with anticipated start in early 2018, stipulated 96 days for piling work. “This was not possible for a host of different reasons at that time,” he says.

Franki’s response was typical of the company’s ability to size up a situation and offer the client a different – and better – alternative. “We submitted a solution which was cheaper, allowed for an earlier start and which could considerably cut down the duration of the job under normal circumstances. Moreover, it enabled us to work with the plant we had on the island at the time, which contributed significantly to the cost saving on the project,” Mongelard says.

He adds that from the original piling-only solution in the tender, Franki further enhanced efficiencies with a solution comprising a mix of piling and ground improvement. “The original tender specs involved the installation of more than 850 Temporary Cased Auger piles of various sizes drilled to an average depth of 21 m. Our ultimate solution comprised ground improvement in conjunction with a mix of piling techniques optimised to support each of the structures.”

Mongelard says piling and ground improvement was required following geotechnical investigations, which observed worse-than-expected ground conditions. Moreover, the required bearing capacity of the backfilled soils could not be achieved and deep foundations (piles) were opted for,” he says.

The details of the accepted solutions were as follows:

Stadium & Skydeck:

432 nos x 610 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles to an average depth of 16 m

33 nos x 520 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles an average depth of 16 m


124 nos x 610 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles an average depth of 16 m

Aquatic Centre:

30 nos x 1 080 mm Auger piles to 20 m deep for the roof structure

180 nos x 520 mm Driven Cast In-Situ piles for the back-of-house

493 nos x 410 mm x 9 m deep Rigid Inclusions for the main and warm-up swimming pools

Multi-Purpose Arena/Gym:

48 nos x 1 200 mm x 20 m deep + 7 nos x 1 200 mm x 6 m deep Auger piles for the roof structure

629 nos x 450 mm x 9 m deep Rigid Inclusions for the back-of-house and the field of play

While these solutions could have cut down on production time, it turned out that high rainfall and the clayey platform made it almost impossible to achieve the daily minimum production from the start. In addition, the platform works could not proceed because the earthmoving vehicles were unable to work efficiently. In this regard, Franki requested a thick stone mattress in lieu of the soft soil platform. This was provided drastically, improving productivity.

“In spite of six weeks being lost due to weather and related platform issues, works have already been completed at the Stadium and the Skydeck is still under progress – the newly agreed completion time was set for September 2018. The stone mattress, an additional piling rig and longer working hours have made that a certainty,” says Mongelard.

The piling works started early June 2018 and, in terms of budget, the cost of Franki’s alternative solution will still be less than the original alternative solution – hence the project is within budget.

“This is an important and high-profile contract in Mauritius and our success is based on excellent teamwork. The ability to work as a team and the support we have got, and always get, from Brian McDonald and the head office in general, is typical of Franki’s commitment to ensuring the best possible service to its clients,” concludes Mongelard.


Frank Africa contact details:

031 507 1051

Media contact:
Bridgette Macheke
MoonDawn Media & Communications

Tel: 011 079 5494
Cell: 073 400 1549
Email: [email protected] 


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