On commencing the earthworks for a new warehousing facility near OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, ICON Group MD Wayne Neary comments that he has seen a boom in industrial developments recently.
“Industrial nodes are popping up in metro-adjacent areas, where greenfield land is being developed for warehousing and logistics. This has been a trend for some time but seems to be on the rise as individuals and businesses do more commerce online in efforts to minimise exposure to the coronavirus.” Property near major highways and in proximity to cities, such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, are prime for development as property developers aim to meet the growing demand for industrial spaces.
ICON’s latest warehousing-related project is situated with easy access to the R21 in Ekurhuleni, where the company is underway with earthworks to prepare the site for three warehouses to be developed by JT Ross Property Group. “The tenants are yet to be confirmed, but the demand is there. Interestingly, the three warehouses have been designed so that the spaces can be customised to the tenants’ requirements in terms of floor space,” says Neary.
Neary’s team began work on site in early February 2021. Despite the heavy rains posing a challenge, the project is expected to be completed on deadline, within 8 weeks from commencement. “We have completed site clearance despite dismal weather and are now underway with the cut and fill operation,” he says.
The R4-million project was awarded to the company due to their strong track record in the area, their price-competitiveness, and their reputation in the industry. Neary explains: “We were put forward for the project by Sutherland Engineers, whom we have worked with previously. They vouched for our services, and we were shortlisted for the project. From there, it was our affordability which gave us the competitive edge.” He adds that he is grateful for his good working relationships and collaboration with the wider construction industry, as this is vital for the success and improved performance of the sector.
In the coming weeks, Neary expects to encounter the usual rocky ground found in the area, which the team will then crush on-site with hydraulic hammers and use to fill the site again. “We call this a balanced fill – everything we excavate will be processed to the appropriate size and used for the layer works. Our carefully maintained, state of the art equipment makes this challenge a simple task for the ICON team,” he says.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Neary expects a continued increase for logistic services and industrial parks but adds that mixed-use and residential developments are sure to follow in those same locations. “Gone are the days where people travel 30 km from the suburbs for work. We are seeing that more people want to live close to work, and property developers are striving to meet this demand with more housing complexes popping up in traditionally industrial areas,” Neary concludes.