Engineering collaboration assists local development

18th September 2020


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Mechanical engineering contractor Brimis Engineering is working together with air conditioning contractor Blue Hemisphere on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) installation at the Middelburg Provincial Hospital.

Brimis Engineering specialises in the supply, fitment and maintenance of industrial valves and other related mechanical engineering solutions.

“Often empowered companies don’t seek to collaborate with other black-owned organisations. We take the view that cooperative empowerment aligns with our business objectives: to upskill, facilitate skills transfers and assist the local economy,” says Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu.

Further, Blue Hemisphere has over 18 years of experience in the HVAC sector and work on this project means the years of expertise are exploited to get the maximum energy efficiency, cost effectiveness and environment-friendly system for the build.

“Our partnership with Brimis means we’ve been able to meet the particular demands of this singular environment,” says Blue Hemisphere executive director Alfred Nkosi.

The new hospital will be on the outskirts of the town, on a greenfield site that is readily accessible from the N4. It will offer outpatient services, general care, a maternity unit, a 600-seat auditorium, accommodation for staff and students, and a training centre as well as a trauma unit.

Operational efficiency will be enhanced by the sustainability of the design. Energy-efficient lighting has been specified, together with low-energy buildings service systems that include highly controllable multi-split variable refrigerant flow air conditioning.

Water meters will be installed to help the hospital’s facilities managers to monitor water usage, identify leaks early, and improve water management.

As part of a strategy to deliver a full range of sustainable engineering and design solutions within the build budget, and reduce embodied carbon, locally produced building materials, recycled steel, and responsibly sourced timber will be used for construction.

Additionally, the installation of the HVAC system has also developed localised skills in Mpumalanga. The collective know-how and abilities ensured that skills transfer happened within the project, something that both parties find rewarding.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 impact on employment is another challenge this project has addressed.

“Our collaboration on this project means that 31 people have been employed locally – five full time and the remainder on a contract basis,” notes Mpotu.

South African businesses looking for empowerment partners need to focus on establishing contacts with other local technically competent partners, he comments, concluding that, “by working together regionally, we will not only share in the economic potential but make a positive contribution from which all benefit”.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features


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