M&D Construction Group, a leading local civil-engineering construction and building specialist, has again taken proactive steps to ensure that the highest quality standards are maintained when it builds critical infrastructure for its many public- and private-sector clients.

The company’s Pipe Laying Division recently became the first South African contractor to have its workshop certified to ISO 3834 quality standards by the South African Institute of Welding (SAIW), the International Standards Organisation’s authorised national body for company certification.

This state-of-the-art facility in Kya Sand, Gauteng, is the heart of group’s Pipe Laying Division, one of only a few contractors in this specialised field that has the internal skills and capacities to construct large steel pipelines of up to three-metres in diameter.

Rukesh Raghubir, the group’s chief-executive officer, says that this development is a pre-emptive response to the continuous drive for excellence by participants in specialist industrial sectors of the economy, as well as by various government bodies.

“It has significantly bolstered our already-robust integrated systems to ensure the highest possible standards are met, in terms of quality, in addition to health and safety, as well as the environment. It reaffirms our commitment to delivering a level of quality that matches our industrial clients’ own quest for excellence. Meanwhile, this approach also greatly assists government in safeguarding against the construction of inferior infrastructure,” Raghubir says.

Lance Cox, the group’s safety, health environment, risk and quality manager, led the team that was tasked with ensuring that the workshop complies with the rigorous requirements of ISO 3834, a more specialised and onerous standard that, therefore, immediately confirms the high quality of fabrication undertaken at the workshop.  

“It specifically guides the procedures of all operations involved in the fabrication of high-quality steel-pipe componentry, including the many critical “bends” that are used on a typical pipeline project,” Lance says.

“For example, it prescribes processes and periods for the storage of consumables and the correct calibration of testing instrumentation. This is in addition to the procedures and timelines for the maintenance of welding equipment, confirming the competency levels of our skilled welding team and the non-destructive testing processes we adopt on our sites.”

Sound record-keeping is also a critical requirement for retaining accreditation, while all documentation has to be safely stored for no less than 12 years, as opposed to only three to five years as required by other more generic standards.

Moreover, it promotes a culture of accountability by establishing a single point of contact for any queries relating to the quality of welding undertaken by M&D Construction Group’s Pipeline Division.

This formidable responsibility is being shouldered by Gerrie Le Grange, pipe quality manager.

Le Grange, together with Pieter Naudé, senior quality officer, and Gerhard Faber,  engineering manager of the factory, also played a key role in ensuring that M&D Construction Group passed the SAIW’s rigorous and extensive audit.

The Pipe Laying Division also recently took further proactive steps to ensure that it retains its leading standing in this market by becoming one of the South African Department of Labour’s (DoL) approved asbestos contractors.

As an approved DoL asbestos contractor, the Pipe Laying division ensures its clients that the highest possible health and safety, as well as environmental standards are being adhered to when removing, transporting and disposing these pipes. Bear in mind that they have been manufactured from a material that can lead to mesothelioma if handled incorrectly and irresponsibly.

Raghubir concludes that he is proud of his team’s stellar work in driving excellence, “a key pillar of M&D Construction Group’s rapid growth in the South African construction industry”.