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Top clients allow Zutari to make an impact at industry awards

19 November 2020

Engineering consultant Zutari has celebrated its approach of making an engineered impact on the projects and communities it is involved with, as well as co-creating value-adding solutions in collaboration with its clients, with various wins and commendations at the recent Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Aon Engineering Excellence Awards 2020 and the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) National Awards 2020.

“Without having clients who are willing to challenge design boundaries, we would not be able to receive such recognition,” acknowledges Zutari CEO Dr. Gustav Rohde. The online awards ceremonies hosted by CESA and SAICE on 11 and 12 November respectively represent the top accolades in their fields.

From significantly improving water quality for end users to ensuring the well-being of occupants in an iconic office development, raising a dam wall to assist with drought resistance and improving the quality of life for thousands of informal-settlement inhabitants, Zutari focuses on delivering practical solutions to real-world problems. “We work in conjunction and partnership with our clients. Our focus is on the social impact of design, which means we are uniquely positioned to co-create fit-for-purpose solutions for sustainable development through infrastructure,” highlights Dr. Rohde.

At the CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards 2020, Zutari won in the category of projects with a value between R250 million and R1 billion for the upgrade and extension of the Stellenbosch Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project saw the introduction of a full biological nutrient removal process capable of handling up to 35 Mℓ/day average dry weather flow and ensuring compliance with the National Water Act.

The fully-automated plant included innovative features such as a sophisticated control system, odour eradication and energy-efficient technologies, all in the context of sustainable design. It is currently the largest membrane bioreactor plant in South Africa. The incorporation of membrane technology has significantly improved the condition of the Eerste River and the quality of water available for users.

Zutari also received a Commendation in the same category for 144 Oxford Road in Rosebank, Johannesburg for client Growthpoint Properties. It provided mechanical and environmentally-sustainable design services for the 35 000 m2 premium-grade office development. During design development and construction, Zutari worked closely with the client, architect, professional team and contractors through the various iterations to ensure that the mechanical services and sustainability objectives were seamlessly aligned with the proposed design.

At the SAICE Awards 2020, Zutari won in the Technical Excellence Category for the raising of the Garden Route Dam Wall by 2.5 m. This not only adds much-needed drought resilience to the water-supply system in the area, it also minimises any environmental impact. The Stellenbosch Wastewater Treatment Plant clinched a Commendation again for the city’s proactive approach to its infrastructure development.

In the Community-Based Project category, Zutari won for its work at the Emergency Shared Basic Services project as part of the Upgrading of Informal Settlement Programme (UISP) process in Mossel Bay. The project benefited more than 6 000 households in 28 identified informal settlements.

The Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam, Hydropower Station and Network Integration in Nigeria for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Federal Ministry of Power was the winner in the Best International Project category. Design-and-build contractor SCC (Nigeria) Ltd. was Zutari’s client, for which it undertook studies, detailed design, factory-acceptance testing and commissioning.

In addition to its principles of engineered impact and co-creation, Zutari also places a huge emphasis on its valued staff, who represent the best in their respective professions. At the CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards 2020, Dr. Lloyd Fisher-Jeffes was Joint Winner of the Young Engineer of the Year award.

As a civil engineer with a specific interest in the design, management and planning of water resources, his most significant project to date is the Drought Management Planning and Operational Support Project for the City of Cape Town, which was critical in modelling the Western Cape Water Supply System during the worst drought in more than 200 years. “Lloyd is an exceptional engineer whose technical prowess and leadership skills have earned him considerable standing in the water resources field,” comments Mpho Ramphao, Head of the Zutari Water Unit.

At the SAICE Awards 2020, Amjad Hendricks won the coveted title of Construction Project Manager of the Year. Hendriks has been Zutari’s regional representative on the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) infrastructure programme for the last seven years. Amjad is currently mentoring six candidates for the Department of Transport and Public Works on their Mentoring Programme and a further two candidates internally at Zutari. All the candidates are eligible to register as Professional Construction Project Managers with the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP).

Marisa Ackhurst received a commendation in the Professional Engineering Technologist of the Year category. She is local secretary for PIANC, the global organisation providing guidance and technical advice for a sustainable waterborne transport infrastructure to ports, marinas and waterways. Marisa mentors, lectures and contributes SAICE magazine articles and project award entries. She is an inspiration to young South African engineers, showing what can be achieved if you put your mind to it.

Zutari was recently ranked number one in the Top 225 International Design Firm Rankings for Africa, published by US magazine Engineering News-Record (ENR). This demonstrates the value that a local player brings to the table, as well as being able to compete against the best. “A prestigious international accolade such as this, in addition to our latest wins at these flagship local awards, is incredibly important for an African management-owned company, especially as many of our competitors are listed international players,” concludes Dr. Rohde.

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