The recent flooding events in Kwazulu Natal and the Eastern Cape have disrupted the lives of many in the whole of South Africa, and the damage costs are yet to be confirmed. Thousands of people have been made homeless, roads and bridges swept away and schools have been damaged. Under these conditions, the standard construction planning, procurement and delivery procedures will prove highly inadequate.

The lives, health and well-being of thousands of people are still at risk. The floods have caused great economic and social damage. The Port of Durban which is one of the largest and busiest shipping terminals on the continent has been severely affected. To rebuild quickly while ensuring design and planning integrity, a collaborative approach between government and the private sector has to be adapted.

Lessons learned by other regions:

Engage the Private Sector early on

There are three critical aspects to sound design – meeting technical design parameters and design for “buildability” and “scalability”. Involving experts in smart infrastructure at an early stage of the process, will reduce project turnaround time substantially.

Simplifying contract management

With critical infrastructure projects, tendering and contract management requires an extensive allocation time for both government and the private sector alike. On a fairly regular basis, contractors decline bids due to time constraints in completing the necessary paperwork.

Cutting down on ‘bureaucracy‘

While bureaucracy is an important part of infrastructure planning and implementation, the reality is, that during disasters it causes damning delays. As more protests are likely to erupt, government has to recognise, that fast-tracking the efficient reconstruction of critical infrastructure, encompasses minimising ‘red tape’ as much as is humanly possible.

Adequately allocate risk

Often the major risks of construction are placed on the contractors. This results in increased tender pricing to cover the risk component, and also in lower response rates when this risk passes the tolerable level for contractors.

MEB has robust solutions that are quick to deploy and scalable, with advanced remote monitoring and control capabilities, to provide water to communities in record time.