Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  11 May 2011

ENGINEERING: SA Five's Ascent To Leadership


Recent Western Cape Business News

WHEN SA Five Engineering started in 1991 in Cape Town as a mechanical contractor (it celebrated its 20th anniversary last month), few could have foreseen how quickly it would grow into one of South Africa’s leading Mechanical Contractors specializing in the construction and maintenance of processing plants as well as fabrication of piping work for the oil and gas industry.

The company got off to a good start in its first decade by successfully completing projects for clients such as Chevron (it has been involved in the refinery since 1991), Sans Fibres, Fluor Daniel SA, PetroSA, Naspers, African Products, ArcellorMittal, Eskom and Koeberg Nuclear Power Station with major work on their plants.

During this period, SA Five Engineering also completed work for international companies such as Sedco Forex, Pride Foramer, Pride International, Saipem, Technip and Schlumberger. The upgrade of the FPSO Glas Dowr for Bluewater Energy Services was a first for Cape Town and Southern Africa.

More recently the company has completed work for:-

Exxaro who awarded SA Five Engineering the contract to supply, install and commission a complete fume extraction plant at their Namakwa Sands site in Saldanha (contract value R52 million)

Sandvik for the mechanical erection of a 10 000 ton per hour stacker reclaimer at the Iron Ore Export Harbour in the Port of Saldanha (contract value R40 million)

ArcellorMittal for the Conarc repair and upgrade of the DRI Bin

Transnet for the dismantling of two ship to shore cranes in the Cape Town Harbour

Transnet for the access platforms at Saldanha Port

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies for the piping and equipment installation for a new sea water reverse osmosis plant.

Although our headquarters are in the Western Cape, we are not restricted to this region and have proven our ability to transfer knowledge, professionalism and efficiency across Southern Africa”, says MD Billy O’Brien.

Importantly, SA Five’s operations stretch much further than just the Western Cape. In 1996 they were responsible for the greenfields maize plant for African Products in Johannesburg (R120 million in current values), for example, and they are currently involved, through their associate company, Unitary Airconditioning Distributors, in a contract worth more than US$100 million to install air-handling units at some 81 hotels throughout Angola.

While much of their work relates to construction and project management, a major source of their income is generated by maintenance work. Here springs to mind its maintenance work at the Chevron Refinery in Milnerton, where approximately 250 000 man-hours are spent each year on general maintenance and capital works. SA Five also assists in the refinery’s shutdowns, plant extensions and repairs.

Approximately 550 000 man-hours are spent every year at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. This contract is operated by RH Mechanicals, a company within the SA Five Group, with SA Five Engineering’s assistance and support for administration, procurement and quality management.

Billy O’Brien points out that SA Five Engineering is one of the highest rated engineering company’s according to the Construction and Industrial Development Board (CIDB) where it has a rating of 8. (CIDB approval is essential for government and parastatal work.)

It is also certified in accordance with the requirements of the internationally recognized ISO 9001:2008 Code of Practice.”This guarantees to our clients a very high quality of workmanship, plus recording and traceability to facilitate future modifications, expansions and replacements”, O’ Brien says.

SA Five has over 350 staff members, all highly skilled in the mechanical and structural engineering field, with all welders coded to a minimum ASME IX qualification.

O’Brien says emphasis is also being placed in expanding the company’s in-house engineering capabilities by increasingly employing talented young engineers. “We’re in the market for clever people”, he says.

All of this leads one to believe that the company is also putting in a good financial performance, and this is so. Financial director, Stephen Kelly, says 2010 was an exceptional year, with work in excess of R200 million completed. This year got off to a relatively slow start, but the order book is picking up and the company can look forward to another good year, according to Kelly.

He points out that tender requests, local and internationally, are showing a strong increase for planned capital projects. This is a strong indication that 2012 should be another good year.

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