From Gautrain to NMPP, Arup is involved in some of South Africa’s biggest infrastructure projects.

Arup is a global engineering consulting firm. Outstanding solutions, innovation and value characterise its work and the company aims to provide a consistently excellent multi-disciplinary service worldwide.

“We are aligned with the UK-based Arup Group,” explains Joe Strydom, Director. “Globally, the company has more than 11,000 staff based in 90 offices in more than 37 countries and we focus on consulting, engineering, design and project management services. “In Africa we are at around about 600 people with offices in Nigeria, Botswana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and then of course South Africa.”

Arup has been in South Africa for 55 years and its current customer base encompasses some 350 clients. “Things are good,” Strydom adds. “In South Africa we have been relatively fortunate with the construction industry showing significant growth in recent years. We still anticipate, despite the global economic downturn, to achieve between six and nine percent per annum growth up to 2012. There is good reason for that belief – there are a number of large infrastructure projects relating to housing, water supply, roads, railway, power generation, schools, clinics and hospitals on the table.”


Things, it seems, are very good and Arup is working on several high profile projects at the moment, including the Gautrain rail link. “We have been appointed as Independent Certifiers on the Gautrain project,” says Strydom. “This project involves the construction of a modern, integrated public transport system, linking ten station nodes in Johannesburg, Sandton, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport by rail and bus network.”

Gautrain is a PPP project promoted by the Gauteng Provincial Government who has awarded a concession to design, build, operate, maintain and partially finance the system to the Bombela Concession Company.

Arup is acting as Independent Certifier (IC) for the project, which is valued at more than R25 billion, and its job is to verify that the Concessionaire designs and constructs the project in accordance with specification and to certify payments against agreed milestone criteria.

Arup’s IC team, led by Ric Snowden (Arup South Africa) and Steve Fletcher (Arup UK), includes several local sub-consultants such as Davis Langdon, with significant input being obtained from rail specialists in Arup UK.

Arup’s basic responsibilities include certifying milestones, high level monitoring of construction and review of designs and issuing a certificate of final completion. The company, which has to remain independent and cannot have any conflicting

role on the project, is responsible for certifying the completion of more than 1,000 milestones stipulated in the Concession Agreement.

The project will be delivered in two phases – after 45 months the service from Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport must be running, and after 54 months the full service between Park Station in Johannesburg and Hatfield in Tshwane must be operational. “We are delighted to have secured this one,” says Strydom. “We have also been awarded work on the R12 billion New Multi-Product Pipeline (NMPP) from Durban to Johannesburg, which we are doing in a joint venture with WorleyParsons.

“We will be executing the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM),” he adds. The pipeline development is seen as key to improving security of supply to Gauteng – South Africa’s economic heartland as demand grows, and as the existing pipeline network reaches capacity. “The contract includes the development of a 550km 24 inch trunkline from Durban to Gauteng for the transportation of five different fuels,” adds Strydom. “The NMPP will include two storage terminals; one in Durban and one in Heidelberg, close to Johannesburg, as well as several pump stations, and we expect it to be operational in 2011, appeasing Johannesburg’s increased fuel demand.”


Arup is committed to to sustainable design on its projects and to industry-wide sustainability initiatives. “Sustainability is critical, absolutely fundamental,” explains Strydom. “It is one of our pillars and we try to push it on all our projects. It is a legal requirement that you have to do environmental assessments on all large projects in South Africa and it is really important from an African perspective to ensure there is a balance on your project when you look at it from an economic, social and environmental angle.

“We fully support the triple bottom line but you have to also look at the social and economic areas,” he adds. “If you look at things like access to basic services, Africa is lagging behind other developing countries, so you need that balance to ensure that people have access to decent services – water, sanitation and power, at the very least.”

Arup regularly makes investments in improving technical standards through staff training and through new design and management techniques. “Innovation, customisation, listening to our customers and making sure that they achieve their objectives – that is the Arup way,” Strydom concludes. “And we will always continue to invest in that way of team working.”


Company Name: Arup
Operations: Global design consulting firm
Branches: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Botswana, Mauritius, Nigeria and Zimbabwe
Customer Base: 350
Revenue: R119 million

Read the full Corporate Profile of ARUP in Construction Digital August 2009.

AUTHOR: Ian Armitage & Produced by Stuart Shirra
DATED: 3rd August 2009