There is a service delivery frenzy on the go throughout South Africa that has municipal engineers and their consultants inundated with challenges. From informal settlements to affluent suburbs the demands seem never-ending and the shortage of funding almost always absolute. While the end result of new houses and improved roads enjoys the spotlight, it is the supporting service waiting in the wings that this article is about; in particular, engineering software designed specifically for South Africa’s peculiarities.
The recently completed 18-hectare housing development in Wilgeheuwel, Roodepoort, was nail-biting stuff, according to Gavin Clunnie, former Western Metropolitan Local Council Manager Planning and Design.
"Due to the fast-track township proclamation process there was substantial pressure to ensure that the design stages kept up with the delivery programme. The development consists of four townships with residential three zoning with 800 houses in the R200 to R400 000 bracket. In order for us to complete phase 1 on time without any compromise of the launch date, we relied heavily on effective, user-friendly design software," he said.
Clunnie uses CivilDesigner 6.1, which includes the Design Centre, AllyCad Pro, Stormwater, Roads and Survey and Terrain modules. This software, developed by Knowledge Base, is supplied by Allyson Lawless.
The Wilgeheuwel development required of the engineers to allow for the management of a substantial catchment run-off area and the design and management of various roads from minor collectors to residential access routes.
"Our first design step was to draw in the cadastral data, which was underplayed with a digital terrain model of the area. This gave us the contouring and height applications. We then designed the geometric layout for the roads and stormwater services; applied the vertical and horizontal alignment criteria; analysed the roads and stormwater network according to the catchment runoff areas; compiled a full set of working and construction drawings; and compiled a bill of quantities for construction purposes. CivilDesigner and its modules was the software of choice to achieve all of the above design aspects and ensure that around R6,5-million of services were constructed on schedule.
"The back-up support we get from Allyson Lawless is personalised and professional and of a calibre lacking in any other software provider I have encountered. No problem is ever too large or too small for Allyson Lawless personnel, a real comfort in the pressurised world of municipal service delivery," he concludes.
Meanwhile, in Port Elizabeth, staff at Engineering Advice Services (EAS) are putting in long hours with the Nelson Mandela Metropole to meet service delivery demands in the area.
Explains EAS' Mark Stemmett: "This is a fantastic project that aims to install 15 000 water meters while creating labour and improving the quality of the lives of the resident in the former Ibhayi area. The specifics of the project area were input into AquaNet, a powerful programme used for the analysis and time simulation of fluid handling networks and supplied by Allyson Lawless.
"Aquanet has helped us to model the existing structures and then run a simulation to see whether the current infrastructure can handle demand sufficiently or whether upgrades are necessary, thus enabling us to effectively design the network system for the development. We have thus been able to insert minor additional pipe infrastructure that has ensured a very cost-effective solution," he added.
Stemmet said that he believes the project has resulted in the largest application of AquaNet in the country to date. He commented that by combining the software in their GIS system they have managed to achieve spectacular results.
In Bloemfontein the municipality has used the CivilDesigner package for the extension of First Avenue, west of the CBD, to overcome the unique problems associated with road construction in a built-up area. It was also applied in the widening of Parfitt Road in Moshoeshoe in Mangaung and Singonzo Street in Kagisanong. Some of the road modules can also be used to draw ground profiles for stormwater and sewerage designs.
"The interchangeability of the modules is extremely useful," said Gert van Rooyen of the Mangaung Local Municipality. His department has been using CivilDesigner since 1999. This package contains powerful terrain modelling facilities that can be used for road design and for any length or cross sections for any of the underground services that may be needed.
Van Rooyen explained that the stormwater modules are used to determine 'walk' heights and depths; the road module to draw soil profiles to determine what the gradients are; where there are depressions, or ridges to see where a road can actually be constructed. This information makes it possible to design the road in such a manner as to comply with standards and to, ultimately, ensure a smooth ride for the road user.
Van Rooyen concluded: "CivilDesigner is used effectively and successfully by this department as drawing and road design program, as our staff is increasingly involved in the design of roads. If soil profiles and cross-sections for any of the other services are required, terrain and road modules can be done easily for speedy results without detracting from the other modules."
About Allyson Lawless
Allyson Lawless has been supplying engineering software to municipalities, contractors and consulting engineering firms for the last 20 years. The company's software is well suited to South African conditions and challenges. Company Managing Director, Allyson Lawless explained: "As a civil engineer I took the plunge two decades ago to develop and support software that would assist my colleagues in the developing environment of an emerging country. We have always tried to ensure that our products save time and money for our clients, important factors when financial resources are limited."
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