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The Annual South African Association of Consulting Engineer’s (SAACE) prestigious SAACE Glenrand MIB Engineering Excellence Awards were held at a Gala Banquet at the Sandton Convention Centre on the 26th of July this year. The Awards with the theme this year of ‘Consulting Engineer’s – We Shape Your World’ are a celebration of innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism.

The Association is proud to host this annual event, sponsored by Glenrand MIB, as a platform to showcase the outstanding achievements of its member organizations. The event is the highlight of the year in the Association’s calendar and is a spectacular networking opportunity for leaders in industry as they celebrate the cream of South Africa’s Consulting Engineers. Awards were handed out for nominations in the following categories: Engineering Excellence for projects both above and below a value of R5million; Business Excellence; Young Company of the Year; Visionary Client of the Year; Young Engineer of the Year; and Publication of the Year.

The category of Engineering Excellence with a value greater than R5 million was won by Goba Consulting Engineers for the Durban Harbour Tunnel for the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department with Maguga Dam Joint Venture, consisting of Ninham Shand, Goba, Vela VKE, SRK, and ZMCK receiving a commendation for the Maguga Hydropower Project. In the category of Engineering Excellence with a value less than R5 million, Jeffares and Green won the award for the Mkomaas River Pedestrian Bridge situated in the Sisonke District Municipality for the KwaZulu Natal Department of Transport. Vela VKE received a commendation for the Plettenberg Bay Pedestrian Bridge. Goba Consulting Engineers also won the Business Excellence category with Usizo Engineering receiving an accolade in the Young Company category. The Publication of the Year Award was won by Creamer Media for Engineering News. A Special Recognition for Publishing Accolade was presented to Crown Publications on the 10th anniversary of their promotion of Consulting Engineering among the ‘other’ engineering professions through a dedicated SAACE page in their chemical, mechanical and electrical journals.

In the “Visionary Client of the Year” category, SAACE nominates candidates for the award, who must then consent to their nomination. Nominees in this category can be from the public, parastatal or private sectors, and are judged inter alia on their contribution to sustainable economic job creation in South Africa and or Africa. Creating sustainable development in communities through skills and knowledge transfer is an equally important factor. The judges also look at the opportunities provided for the growth and expression of professionals, including those from formerly disadvantaged communities. Projects should also have embraced innovative designs that highlight the ability of South Africans in the technological field. The Association this year gave recognition, in the category of Visionary Client, to The Gauteng Department of Public Transport and Works for the GAUTRAIN project.

The Gautrain is one of the most significant engineering projects undertaken in Africa to date. It began as a dream and ultimately became a reality through the efforts of the visionary Gauteng Provincial Government backed by a dedicated, passionate and committed team of engineers. Gautrain is recognised as the biggest Public-Private Partnership project in Africa. It is also the second biggest project of its kind in the world and one of the most significant “green fields” rapid rail engineering projects in the world today.

In addition to this in order to promote the Consulting Engineering industry to young professionals, SAACE recognised the contribution young consulting engineers make to the industry and to the future of the profession. The nominees in this category must be graduates younger than 35. The nomination may be made by co-workers, but must be approved by the head of the firm. Naturally the winner must be available to receive the award and attend the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Convention which this year took place in Singapore in September.

Furthermore, he or she must be available to serve on the Young Professional's Forum for a 12-month period. Judges look for outstanding performance in areas like technical achievement on a project; educational achievement; recognition such as awards received; contributions to sustainable development – such as environmental initiatives, social responsibilities, and community involvement. And finally, the winner in this category has leadership ability, and contributes the image of the firm and the industry as a whole. This year SEW Eurodrive once again sponsored the Young Engineer of the Year Award, enabling the winner to attend the FIDIC Convention which took place in Singapore in September this year. The winner in the category of Young Engineer of the Year is Dr. Michelle Kruger from Goba Consulting Engineers.

Dr Michele Kruger is an enthusiastic, highly motivated and intellectual individual who has a passion for the water discipline of civil engineering. Michele Kruger has a Doctorate in Civil Engineering from the University of Johannesburg; a Masters and a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from Rand Afrikaans University; and has completed an M Com Bridging Year (Cum Laude) from the University of Johannesburg. She has also presented numerous articles for publication in local Water Magazines as well as for presentation at conferences. She has also attended a number of courses at RAU, University of Pretoria and overseas and has completed the FIDIC 2007 Management Training Programme for Young Professionals.

This year for the first time, in addition to sending the Young Engineer of the Year to the FIDIC Convention in Singapore, the Association also sent the Chairman of the YPF, Richard Dlamini to attend the Convention. The Association would like to thank SSI; Kwezi V3; Ndodana Consulting; Arcus Gibb; BCP Durban; Vela VKE; and WSP Group for making it possible through their sponsorship for Richard to attend the FIDIC Convention.


The results of the Association’s Management Information Survey (MIS) for the period January to June 2007 recently released indicate once again that Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) has shown strong growth in the context of a healthy and expanding economy (GDP 4,7%)

Gross fee earnings and profitability were substantially higher for the period especially when compared to firms expectations which bodes well for a healthy consulting engineering sector, faced with increased demands and pressures for upward movement on salaries. Amidst rising capacity, fee income has increased by 13,7% year on year during the June 2007 survey. Staff numbers continue to rise and are now estimated to be in the region of 15 807 up from 14 912 in the previous period.

Considerable attention was experienced on the supply side in obtaining the necessary skills with difficulties being experienced in all categories including engineers, technologists and technicians, whether in the PDI category of not. Mergers and acquisitions are becoming more prevalent with a tendency for the larger firms to become even larger. Capacity utilization is once again running close to 100% and cannot continue to increase exponentially without an increase in resources.

An interesting point to note is that despite the significant increase in workload competition in tendering remains keen with many firms resorting to discounting of fees to obtain work which is damaging to long term sustainability. In order to address this issue the Association is convening a Procurement Indaba early in the new year to critically examine the procurement model with a view to producing a set of guidelines for members and clients.

Significant investment in bursaries and training continued with more emphasis on bursaries to ensure long term growth in capacity. Annualized contributions to bursaries and training amounted to some R96 million. Delayed payments although marginally improved remain unacceptably high particularly with regard to foreign ex-South African work. Interestingly cross border earnings have increased by 50% despite the buoyant conditions at home. Black ownership continued to grow despite the paucity of skills and experience in this area. On a very positive note the overall service of the Association and it’s Directorate continues to be rated highly among member firms. The complete MIS report is available on the SAACE website at

Graham Pirie


"Building Knowledge Capacity and Skills for 2010 and Beyond"

The South African Association of Consulting Engineers? President, Cecil Rose recently completed a series of 12 visits to all of the Association's nationwide branches to present his presidential message for the year. His message and the contents of his presentation can be viewed at


This year the Young Professional’s Forum (YPF) of the South African Association of Consulting Engineers, once again encouraged firms to get involved in its Job Shadow Day that took place in the week of the 30th July to the 3rd August. The aim of Job Shadow Day is to expose learners not only to engineering environment but to the Consulting Engineering experience in particular.


Firms were encouraged to choose a school from their local community and invite pupils from this school to spend a day with them during SAACE’s National Construction Week experiencing 'A day in the life of a Consulting Engineer'. The aim of the initiative is to encourage young pupils to choose “engineering" as a career. The YPF was inundated with entries from firms with the winning entry coming from BKS.

The Award is based on the events of the day and the nature of the experience by pupil rather that the quality of the photographs submitted. BKS received recognition in the form of sponsored attendance at the SAACE/SAFCEC Conference being held early in October in Somerset West in the Western Cape. 


The Annual Presidential Golf Challenge was this year held at the Johannesburg Country Club in Woodmead on the 24th of August. The event which once again was a great success is seen as a worthwhile opportunity for the Association to network with its members and clients in a relaxed informal environment.

The Association would like to extend its thanks to the sponsors of the event: Arcus Gibb, BKS, BVi Consulting Engineers, Leads 2Business and Meissner Uninterruptible Power Supplies. Winners of the event were a team from BVi Consulting Engineers.


The Association’s Annual Consultant’s Relay was once again held at Fountains Valley Resort in Pretoria. The Relay is a great opportunity for member firms to engage in some physical exercise, meet and mingle with other firms and enjoy a fun family day. Once again a record number of some 229 teams entered the relay and the Association would like to applaud our member firms for their enthusiasm and participation in this great event.

The Association would like to extend its thanks to SSI-DHV and the Committee for an excellent job in hosting and organizing the event for the first of their three year term as event organizers this year. Without sponsors the event would not be possible and the Association would like to thank this year’s sponsors: Bepmeds; Momentum; Netcare 911; Profhealth Benefits Consulting; Sasfin; Sovereign Health; Sportsman’s Warehouse and SSI-DHV.

  • The fastest team in the walking category was the Neon Knights team comprising: Moira Taylor; Tony Cross; Lynette Ray; Brenda and Douglas Dorren from Knights Piesold.

  • The fastest running team from a large firm was the Elite team from Bigen Africa with the team comprising Winnie Schluter; Anja Schluter; Solomon Methula; Daniel Ngozo; Edward Fouche; Adam Kgosana; Winie Schluter; and Edward Fouche.

  • The fastest running veteran team (40 +) was the Bigen Veterans team comprising: Wynand Du Preez; Judy Koch; Leon Fouche; Bernard Koch; Corrie van der Walt; Brittish Manyo; Mias vd Walt; and Carel Moolman in a total time of 2:28:17.

  • The fastest small firm was Infraconsult’s running team and comprised: Doctor Msamanga; Chardonniele Jansen; Monro Jansen; Evans Hlungwani; Musa Mahlangu; Theo Erasmus; Ernest Chigurah; and Tobie Bareleman.

  • The fastest cycling team was the Spun Platinum team comprising: Neil Fourie; Colette Fourie; Christopher Pearton; and Dylan Victor from Platinum Sports Consulting.

  • The Fancy Dress team in the Walking category was won by the BKS Hippies comprising Ria Van Der Heever; Karen Maas; Magda Manuels; Stuart Seath; and Jorge Nunes.

  • The fastest overall team were the Past Champions from New Balance / PBC comprising, Nuno Thomaz; Adinda Kruger; Ben De Klerk; Georgina Fourie; Patrick Koetsane; David Gwangwa; Christopher Dutton; and Allan Smith.