Written by Eamonn Ryan
The 2023 CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards were held on 16 August 2023. Now in its 51st year, the Awards celebrate innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism which was evident in the entries for each category.
Olu Soluade, president of ASHRAE South Africa chapter, as well as of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), opened the evening. “Tonight, we are here to celebrate not just the outstanding achievements of our member firms, but also the
profound impact they have had on the engineering industry and society as a whole.
“Throughout the years, the dedication and commitment of our member firms have undoubtedly made a difference in protection of lives and livelihoods. Your work as engineers goes beyond technical expertise – it embodies a noble calling: to serve and make a positive impact on the world around us. Tonight, we are about to witness the legacy of excellence in engineering, and these awards serve as a testament to the incredible achievements of your various firms and the immense impact you’ve had on society.”
“Excellence is not a static destination, but an ongoing journey of relentless progress towards achieving the extraordinary. What once constituted top-tier performance decades ago, may now appear as commonplace. And this emphasises the need for potential innovation and forward thinking,” says Soluade.
“Our inherent DNA bestows upon us the capacity and the resilience to push the boundaries and exceed our human limitations. To all our members, we call for commitment to invest in nurturing our future leaders, empowering them with the tools and support they need to enable us to drive ground-breaking infrastructure development and perpetuate this spirit of innovation that we now so passionately celebrate. At CESA we stand firm on our unwavering values of honesty and integrity.”
“May this event inspire even more innovation and transformative projects in the years ahead,” says Soluade.
“CESA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Campbell congratulated the winners and finalists whilst stating that amidst economic challenges and sluggish growth, it is essential to recognise the pivotal role of consulting engineering. “While external factors may pose obstacles, our focus on delivering excellence must remain unwavering.”
Winners and commendations
1 – 2: Maninga Engineering won the category Engineering Technology and Innovation – HVAC Building Systems Design Excellence, for the Test and Examination Centre: Part 1 – Flower Hall for the University of Witwatersrand. Image supplied by Eamonn Ryan | RACA Journal
In the category of Engineering Technology and Innovation – HVAC Building Systems Design Excellence, Maninga Engineering received a commendation for the Test and Examination Centre: Part 1 – Flower Hall for the University of Witwatersrand.
Wits’ Flower Hall is located in the southwestern corner of the West Campus and is currently being used as a test and examination venue. The university’s requirement was to free up academic desk and office space for various schools in anticipation for increased enrolment of postgraduate students as per the university’s 2022 strategic mission. A further phase of building will see the conversion of the building for use as engineering research laboratories. Maninga Engineering reduced the energy consumption of the building with the implementation of active chilled beams controlled by a building management system. The Flower Hall installation is the biggest installation in Africa with 138 active chilled beams.
In the category for Young Engineer of the Year, Mareli Botha from Zutari was named the winner. One of the youngest technical directors and shareholders of the firm, she acts as lead process engineer, project manager or engineering manager on a wide variety of impactful projects for the process mechanical group of the company. She has gained significant international experience through her involvement in several global projects in locations across Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, America and the Middle East. She’s an enthusiastic problem solver, mentor, sustainability specialist and leader with a deep passion for green process engineering. She embeds sustainability principles at the core of every design.
In her acceptance speech, Botha says: “It’s really excellent to see all these faces in this room who all believe in CESA’s vision of engineering excellence. A seed doesn’t grow except in soil. I have had access to brilliant leadership that is transparent (at Zutari) that brings us along. It’s all about the impact in this case. I really hope that I can actually make an impact in my role.”
Darren Pillay from Knight Piesold was commended for “striving to create infrastructure solutions that not only endure the test of time, but also promote efficiency and environmental consciousness. His eminent mindset and technical proficiency contribute to shaping a connected world where infrastructure serves as the backbone of progress and development.”
Stephen Rose was commended for successfully growing the data centre division at Royal Haskoning DHV, exceeding targets and expanding the portfolio to become the largest in Africa.
In the category of Projects with a Value Between R250-million and R1-billion, KBK Engineers were announced as winners for the N1 Musina Ring Road for Sanral.
Zutari was named winner in the Projects with a Value Between R50-million and R250-million category for the Square Kilometre Array Meerkat Extension for the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). Two commendations were awarded in the category with Bigen Africa receiving a commendation for the East London Industrial Development Zone Electrical Upgrade and Zutari receiving a commendation for the Groote Schuur Estate Refurbishment for the Coega Development Corporation.
In the category of Projects with a Value Less Than R50-million, the Naidu Consulting- MSW Consulting JV was the winner for the Tongaat Water Treatment Works Emergency Remediation Works for the eThekwini Municipality. Zutari received a commendation for the compilation of the 15-year Western Cape Integrated Drought and Water Response Plan.
The winner of the Best International Project was ARQ Consulting Engineers for Yusufeli Dam for Limak Construction SA for DSi, the Turkish State Hydraulics Works. Two commendations were awarded in the category with AECOM receiving a commendation for the ABSA Head Office in Zambia, and MPAMOT Africa receiving a commendation for the Beitbridge Border Post Upgrade and modernisation for Zimborders.
In the category Engineering Technology and Innovation – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Zutari received a commendation for the Groote Schuur Estate Refurbishment for the Coega Development Corporation.
BVi Consulting Engineers won the Business Excellence Award, while Koleko Solutions walked away as winners of the Small/ Medium Company of the Year category. For the Mentoring Company of the Year award, Naidu Consulting, received a commendation.