Special techniques give cutting edge

Posted On Wednesday, 10 March 2004 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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ONE of NMC's specific areas of expertise is in superflat concrete flooring, which offers considerable advantages, particularly in industrial building projects.

Shaun WebberMD Shaun Webber says modern materials-handling equipment operating in retail distribution centres demands high-quality concrete floors to operate at the required 13,5m height.Repairs and maintenance bills on this equipment is heavy when operating on sub-standard floors.

Webber says NMC's leading technology in concrete floors integrates with its tilt-up technology, essential in projects such as film studios, among others. Tilt-up construction will meet the soundproofing requirements, and superflat floors are critical, he says.

These low-maintenance, high-specification floors are produced by the superflat concrete flooring division. It is an area of construction that Webber believes holds considerable growth potential for the company "and one in which we can effect massive savings for clients".

Tilt-up construction is a technology that has been used extensively in the US, Australia and to a limited degree in Europe, but is relatively new in SA, says Webber.

Reinforced concrete walls are completed on the ground and then raised to their final position by a crane. This can shave months off production time for clients, as bricks and mortar are not used in the process.

Recent projects included the design and construction of an industrial building for Clicks in Centurion of about 35000m² using the tilt-up concept.

NMC also deployed tilt-up technology in the construction of a new shopping centre in Gaborone of about 7500m², as well as in two industrial building projects in Cape Town.

The company is active in the industrial sector, which lends itself readily to the design-and- construct process.Webber says that NMC has probably designed more industrial buildings than any other company in SA.

He says that about 35% of its work has traditionally been focused on the industrial sector, with about 32% in the retail environment, but the company took a strategic decision to make greater inroads in the commercial and retail environment to build on its reputation as an industrial contractor.

Closer to home, the company will explore the potential for new shopping centres in Western Cape areas such as Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Willy Learmonth, business development director, says that about 65% to 68% of the company's business consists of repeat business from existing clients.

"It reflects the importance we place on service excellence. We see the substantial amount of repeat business as a big plus factor in building our brand."

He says service excellence will increasingly become a differentiating factor in what is becoming a very competitive market.

One of the contributing factors is that as a result of the recent strengthening of the rand, some major South African construction companies have experienced reversals of previously good results in their off-shore construction operations and, to a degree, are focusing on the local market .Learmonth says some of these major companies are now actively bidding for construction projects in the local market.

Webber says that in line with global trends, NMC places great emphasis on partnerships.He says building relationships through partnerships in which consultants play a major role shortens supply chains and integrates project planning.This in turn affects costs.

"We know that through partnering we can save clients substantial amounts of money, improve on our own bottom line, and produce a better project, because the entire process becomes integrated and streamlined."

NMC was the only South African company to be referred to in Sir John Egan's report to the British government on rethinking construction for productivity improvement. The company's philosophy on business with clients and consultants is aligned with those of Egan's task team's findings, says Webber.



Last modified on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 19:21

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