2014 Steel Awards – Overall winner – The cream of the crop

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When the Malapa Fossil Excavation Site project emerged as the best of the best of all entries in 2014 Awards, there was virtually no contest. According to the judges, the project epitomises the high standard of creativity from all perspectives.

Amongst the judges there was overwhelming consensus that the Malapa Fossil Excavation Site was the overall winner, as well as winner of the Association of Steel Tube and Pipe Manufacturers of South Africa’s Tubular Category. To be fair, this was not surprising.

Every phase was thoroughly considered. In the area of architecture, the brief was to build a removable structure over the proposed dig site to serve three functions:  protecting the site and the exposed fossils from the extremes of the weather; allowing for as much ‘dig time’ as possible; and blending in with the ‘ring of trees’ and the rest of the bush on the hillside. Further, there was need for a tourist viewing platform, a crawl hoisting structure to lift out rocks of mass up to 1 ton and impart maximum natural light into the covered area.

Evidently, the project team worked around the clock, ensuring that every element was observed in the course of construction.  And the result is a fascinating work of engineering.

Outstandingly, when viewed from above, it takes the shape of a beetle with eight legs. The structural elements resemble parts of the shoulder, the scapula and clavicle.

Even to the casual observer, theMalapa Fossil Excavation Site is eye-catching; it stands there screaming, “Here I am. See me!’

Malapa’s award was richly deserved. It was a fitting end to superior project management, from planning to execution, under able supervision of Spiral Engineering.

The unanimous observation was that the project had ticked all boxes on Excellence in the use of steel in four areas –architecture, engineering, fabrication and Erection. In fact, according to Judge Erling, it was the first time that a project had achieved such a feat in the thirteen years that he has been managing the Steel Awards process.

What stood out from the judges’ perspective were the following aspects: the determination of the whole team, especially the site team; the quality of the site team; the fact that when you visit the site the roof is not visible from just a few metres away;and that the construction team has left the site virtually as they found it, except for the structure.

Project Team

Developer/ Owner: The University of the Witwatersrand School of Geosciences

Architect: Krynauw Nel Associates

Structural Engineer: Peter Fellows Consulting

Quantity Surveyor: Crane QS

Project Manager: Craig Harrison PM

Main Contractor: Omni Struct Nkosi

Steelwork Contractor/s: Spiral Engineering

Detailers/ Detailing Company: KRU Detailing

Cladding: Cupric Tectonics

Painter: Mzekizeki Painters

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