M&D Construction Group focuses on niche construction markets

Following a year of restructuring, M&D Construction Group is now strategically positioned to compete in niche and Southern African Development Community construction markets with higher barriers to entry.

“Whereas many other companies our size are either general building and roads contractors or have chosen to specialise in a specific field, we generate revenue from a broad spectrum of construction projects that rely on the diverse skills and capabilities of the entire group. This is a key differentiator and essentially means that we compete directly against four larger multi-disciplinary companies,” Group Chief-Executive Officer, Rukesh Raghubir, says.

The restructured group comprises an Infrastructure Division, which is being headed by Niekie Wagener; a Pipelines Division, led by Junaid Kathrada; an Oil & Energy Division, for which the acting head is Peter Naidoo; and Special Projects, with Chris Porter at the helm in an acting capacity.

Safety Health Environment Risk & Quality operations are being managed by Lance Cox, Human Resources by Yolanda Sedibe, Finance by Gavin McAlpine, Commercial by Chris Porter and Admin by Adrienne Kloppers.

The board comprises Raghubir, Andrew Murray as Chairman and Yolanda Sedibe as Group Director.

Notably, M&D Construction Group has more than 35 years of experience as a multi-disciplinary contractor with a CIDB 9CE, CIDB 9GB and CIDB 9ME grading.

The group’s project capabilities include constructing steel, oPVC, GRP, HDPE and ductile iron pipelines for the oil, gas and water infrastructure markets. This is in addition to the construction of surface mining infrastructure; concrete structures, especially water retaining types; water and wastewater treatment plants; as well as reservoirs and pump stations.

Moreover, the company is skilled and experienced in earthworks and sliding, as well as mechanical, electrical and instrumentation, structural steel, roads and turnkey construction.

These skills and capabilities are complemented by M&D Construction Group’s ISO 45001:2018 Health and Safety; ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management; and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management systems, as well as its ISO 3834: part 2 Welding of pipes standard.

A significant focus for the group moving forward will be growing its already-strong presence in the oil and energy infrastructure markets.

“We continue to demonstrate our extensive capabilities in the oil and energy infrastructure market where we have worked with many leading companies, including Total. Certainly, we are also proud to be associated with Transnet and being an approved vendor for Sasol for which we are currently pricing some work. In this market, we also worked alongside prominent consulting engineering firms, such as Kantey & Templer Consulting Engineers, SiVEST and VGI Consulting,” Raghubir says.

Some of M&D Construction Group’s milestone projects in the oil and energy infrastructure market include successfully completing the civil works for three 6 500 m³ jet fuel storage tanks at OR Tambo International Airport and the upgrade of the fire-fighting system at the ORTAFS.

Moreover, the group upgraded the fire-protection system at Transnet’s Kroonstad and Alrode Fuel Depots; constructed a pressure-reducing station and internal gas pipeline on behalf of PFG Building Glass; and was awarded a contract to build a catch pot tank at Total South Africa’s Alrode depot.

This division also intends participating in the construction of wind and solar farms, as well as positioning itself as the construction partner of choice in EPC contracts. It will also deploy its extensive skills and experience in structural steel, mechanical, piping and plate work construction, as well as electrical and instrumentation in these markets.

Meanwhile, M&D Construction Group’s wholly owned Mozambican subsidiary will be up-and-running in three months and supports a drive to participate in the construction of infrastructure for significant liquid-natural gas (LNG) projects in the country.

For example, the group is currently bidding for work on one of the largest greenfield LNG facilities to have ever been approved. It is an extensive undertaking that entails building infrastructure to extract gas from a field offshore northern Mozambique, pumping it onshore and liquefying it, ready for further export by LNG tankers.

This is in addition to a project that will produce, liquefy and market natural gas and that will consist of the construction of onshore facilities, including two LNG trains with a total capacity of 15,2-million tonnes per year.

“We have also recruited seasoned oil and energy infrastructure specialists to operate this company. They are both former employees of one of South Africa’s largest construction companies with extensive experience working in Mozambique. M&D Construction Group is also actively pursuing and engaging individuals who have left South Africa to bolster the group’s ranks. We are in a position where we can handpick the ‘best of the best’, considering our solid track-record and history,” he says.

In addition to targeting the de-construction market, the Special Projects Division has applied for a license to operate technology that turns sludge into resources. The initiative is being complemented by a similar project that entails using sophisticated techniques to turn wastewater into resources, as well as the development of proprietary turbine, pump and energy efficiency technology.

These initiatives will bolster M&D Construction Group’s already impressive track-record delivering quality water infrastructure for public and private-sector client bodies.

For example, the group is constructing a 4km-long steel pipeline ranging in diameter from 1,5m to 2,5m diameter in Vereeniging on behalf of Rand Water. The project also entails two 1,5m diameter and two 1,4m diameter hot taps, said to be the largest in the South African market, again demonstrating the group’s appetite for technically complex projects.

Other milestone projects for this specific client body include the R250-million 06 Pipeline and associated infrastructure. These projects are complemented by, among others, M&D Construction Group’s work for Magalies Water, namely the 11km-long and 508mm diameter steel Tuschenkost Mine Pipeline and pump station.

This is in addition to the 43km-long, 1m diameter steel pipeline from Mafenya Reservoir that the group built on behalf of Maseve Investments to Evergreen.

Certainly, M&D Construction Group’s metals and mining projects remain an immense source of pride, and it will continue to grow its footprint in this demanding market.

Another such project is a R300-million contract to construct various civil structures, access roads, parking, kerbing, concrete pavements and drainage for Black Mountain Mining’s Gamsberg Concentrator Project in Aggeneys.

It also installed an 18,4km 324mm diameter steel raw-water pipeline at Northam Platinum’s Booysendal UG2 North Mine.

Moreover, M&D Construction Group successfully completed the civil works for Coal of Africa’s Mooiplaats operation in Ermelo. This project entailed earthworks and concrete works, including the construction of, among others, a water-treatment plant, silt traps, drains and tunnels.

The group was also contracted by Mintails Wergo to undertake the earthworks and civil works for a new gold and uranium processing plant, including a wastewater treatment works and thickeners, at Mogale Gold Mine.

Meanwhile, M&D Construction Group continues to refine its extensive civil construction capabilities which have also been harnessed by Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality to help deliver a new wastewater-treatment works.

The group also undertook the civil works for the Koster sewage treatment plant and outfall sewers, as well as upgraded and extended the Vaalkop water-treatment plant 3 and 4 for Magalies Water.

Other flagship civil-engineering construction projects include the construction of the very technically complex Aeroton Tower on behalf of Johannesburg Water and a 5ML reservoir and associated services for Heineken South Africa.

Notably, M&D Construction Group has gained an increased share of the declining capacity in the South African construction industry. This bears testament to the skills and capabilities of the group. Certainly, being an entrepreneurial owner-led business that can respond swiftly to provide solutions is a significant competitive edge.

“Moreover, our focus on only partnering with companies and people with who we have synergies to achieve our mission of ‘Growing a great company with great people and great partnerships’ is also working. Our motto of Khula Nathi, which means ‘Grow with us’, is applied both internally amongst our team, as well as with sub-contractors and suppliers. Importantly, we demand loyalty and a firm commitment to our own core values of ‘being safe’, ‘doing it right’, ‘finding the best way’ and ‘doing what we say’ from all our partners. In turn, they have reaped the benefits of this unwavering commitment to quality by growing with us,” Raghubir concludes.