The Langeni Senior Primary School (SPS) in the Libode Education District of the Eastern Cape is an example of a school that the DBSA has successfully completed within an 11-month construction period. The school, comprising seven classrooms, a Grade R classroom, media centre, science lab, nutrition centre, administration block, ablution facilities and external structures, was handed over at the end of April 2014 and was practically completed by the beginning of March 2015. Various contractors have been able to meet to the challenge of accelerating construction activities.
The project sites are deep in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape with poor access roads. The contractor familiarised himself with the area before construction commenced.
In order to make the project a success, the contractor planned around the poor site location and devised solutions for the challenges at hand. Once appointed, the contractor completed a resource plan and used capable technical personnel within his team to do proper scheduling and planning. It is critical that contractors have skilled personnel able to do scheduling and resource planning. The contractor could quickly assemble core staff and mobilise workers without delay. This also enabled the contractor to order material on time.
The contractor had also built strong relationships with reliable buyers and material suppliers which enabled him to secure scarce material. A positive factor for the contractor was that he was able to split units of special deliveries using 4x4 trucks, cranes, etc. to assist with quick and easy access for delivering and offloading material, even if terrain was difficult as a result of rains in the Eastern Cape. Proper scheduling also assisted with proper cash flow planning and forecasting. It was important that the contractor had sufficient financial resources to do this in line with his Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grading.
To maintain a high quality of construction, the contractor also had capable site agents which made the task of construction much easier. There was mutual respect between the site agent and the workers. Senior directors of the contracting company were in contact with the site on a daily basis. They physically visited the site and coordinated work and planning items in the sites.
The value contribution by the IDD’s development facilitators also played a critical role. The contractor found it easy to work as the development facilitators had set up project steering committees including the chief, chairperson of the school governing body and local councillor as members. It was also easy to gain respect of the steering committee and the community at large when the contractor was honouring commitments made to local labour.
These lessons will be shared with other contractors who are in our projects so that they replicate the model. These lessons have also assisted the IDD team in improving the management of other sites that are currently in implementation.
Langeni SPS will soon be officially opened to 174 learners from the area.