Improved conditions expected for 2021

By Stefan Sander, Managing Director, Two Oceans Air Conditioning

The year that is nearing the end was characterised by stops, re-starts and operational challenges as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic swept around the world, South Africa included.

Activity in the construction industry, as in many other industries came to a halt on 27 March this year as strict lockdown measures were introduced in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus and only restarted significantly in June when the regulations were changed.

According to analytics and consulting company GlobalData there was a sharp decline in construction output in South Africa in the second quarter of 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Its forecast is that the SA construction industry will end the year with a contraction of 14.3% for the full year.

Against the backdrop of the government’s renewed commitment to drive infrastructure development as a key component to drive economic growth the outlook for 2021 is positive. In a recent report on SA Construction news, the Master Builders and Allied Trades Association Western Cape (MBAWC) said government’s prioritization of the construction industry, given the labour-intensive nature of the construction industry and its ability to reinvigorate the economy is encouraging news. The MBAWC also noted and welcomed the government’s renewed commitment to regulatory reforms and its efforts to ease and reduce the cost of doing business.

The TOAC team is very positive about a promising 2021, as we wrap up projects for 2020 at several sites. Construction in the Western Cape, where TOAC is very active, has recovered well in the last quarter of the current year and many new projects are in the pipeline. Apart from the number of projects in the works for next year, many are of substantial scale, which will secure growth for ourselves and our associates in the industry in the medium term.

Despite the many unexpected events of 2020 and the impact thereof on our industry, we were fortunate to have been engaged for emergency projects related to the management of HVAC and ventilation at medical facilities in preparation for expected higher than usual patient numbers. Our deep expertise in this field stood us in good stead and we successfully, adhering to strict health and safety protocols, completed five installations, modifications and upgrades at medical facilities during the strict lockdown period. These include projects at Sonstraal Hospital in Paarl, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Hospital, and Groote Schuur.

We are especially proud of the commitment of our teams across all divisions and their seamless adoption of new operational requirements as we remain vigilant about protecting our employees, and business associates when on-site, against the spread of COVID-19. Notable achievements for TOAC in 2020 include obtaining level 3 B-BBEE status at the beginning of the year as well as receiving a level 8ME grading from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in September, which qualifies TOAC to tender for projects with a maximum value of up to R200m.

TOAC 2020 project highlights:

Retail Audi Centre Century City Refurbishment with new chiller installation
  Somerset Mall Upgrade
Educational M&M Building US Refurbishment as part of full-scale renovation
  Learning Centre US New installation
  UCT Chiller installation
Mixed-use Sable Park New installation
  Sable Corner New installation
  The Ridge New installation
  27 Wale Street Refurbishment
  117 on Strand Upgrade
  Knowledge Park Refurbishment
  35 Lower Long Refurbishment
  Bridgewater One New installation
  Brickfields New installation
Office buildings High Street New BAC cooling tower
  84 Harrington Street Refurbishment as part of the overall renovation and one of the inner-city renewal projects in Cape Town
  20 Vineyard Road New
Industrial Duferco Steel Refurbishment
  Saldanha Steel Specialist ducting installation
Hospitality Sky Royal Hotel New
Medical Sonstraal hospital Upgrade
  Sonstraal hospital Heating & ventilation
  Mediclinic Hospital Milnerton Upgrade
  Intercare clinic Milnerton Upgrade
  Netcare Christiaan Barnard Covid-19 related specialist installation
  R300 Intermediate facility Covid-19 related specialist installation