The new 40 000m² Rustenburg Mall shopping centre remains on track for completion in April 2021, with main contractor Beckers Bouaannemers relying on readymix partner AfriSam for its concrete production capacity and technical know-how.
The project – where construction began in October 2019 – is set to meet its timelines despite three months of lockdown during which no construction activities could take place. According to Barend Becker, director of Beckers Bouaannemers, a large contract like this demands a well-resourced and responsive concrete partner, which is why the company has a long history with AfriSam.
Starting out as a small hardware retailer in Centurion over 30 years ago, with a doorframe installation as its first construction job, Beckers Bouaannemers has grown into a substantial construction company delivering multi-million projects for its clients.
“Over the years, we have built a good relationship with AfriSam,” says Becker. “We know that we can trust them to provide us with excellent service and a quality product. They work closely with us during the construction phase to make sure that our requirements are met.”
Once completed, a total of 14 000m³ of readymix concrete will have been used for the various construction components such as surface beds, columns and other structural elements as well as ancillary work. For this project, the construction team chose a more environmentally-friendly concrete mix that used a slag stone as an aggregate option. This was selected in conjunction with AfriSam, who worked with the project engineer to find an optimal mix design to meet all quality specifications.
“We rely on AfriSam’s expertise in the design of concrete mixes, to provide us with the best-suited product for each specific application,” says Cobus Mouton, contract manager at Beckers Bouaannemers. “All AfriSam products deliver a quality build, but we especially like their surface bed product which has a promising seven-day early strength result and provides a smooth finish.”
Mouton admits it has been a challenging year, with Covid-19 proving extremely disruptive to the company’s construction projects.
“However, our suppliers and subcontractors – including AfriSam – have pulled out all the stops to ensure that we bring this project back on track,” he says. “We are extremely grateful to all our subcontractors for the important role they have played in making up the lost time.”
Despite the disruption of the pandemic, 2020 has been a record year for AfriSam’s readymix plant in Rustenburg. In addition to the Rustenburg Mall, the plant is also supplying readymix concrete for the construction of another large mall in the vicinity.
“To meet our customers’ demand, the plant operates six days a week during the peak construction period from September to December,” says Gerhardus Maree, operational manager at AfriSam Readymix. “This means starting our supply to customers early in the morning and working through until late at night.”
The increased production for concurrently supplying both these large projects has demanded careful logistical planning from AfriSam. To meet the construction programme requirements, seven more readymix trucks were relocated to Rustenburg from other AfriSam plants in Gauteng.
The large pours on both projects – sometimes between 500 m³ and 600 m³ a day – have meant that raw material management was also critical. With limited silo capacity at the plant, the delivery of cement, aggregate and slag had to be carefully planned with raw material suppliers.
An extra batching plant was also erected on the existing premises to ensure there were no delays in supplying both projects. This plant produces an average of 58 m³ of concrete per hour.
AfriSam’s readymix plant in Rustenburg, in operation since the 1980s, has supplied concrete to Rustenburg landmarks such as the Netcare Ferncrest Hospital, Waterfall Mall, the Royal Bafokeng housing project and Tharisa Mine.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide our customers with the best possible service,” concludes Maree.