Sigodi Marah Martin,
"Today the engineer must take into account the needs and expectations of the community, government policy, environmental factors, future scenarios, and of course the budget."
This according to Civil Engineer, Mike Cotton, informs much of the work undertaken by engineering firm, Sigodi Marah Martin, whose multi-disciplinary approach is encompassed in the company's three divisions: Research & Development, Management Support and the Built Environment.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT FOR COMMUNITIES
The Research and Development Division provides an important source of intelligence on government policy and trends. By way of example, fascinating community studies have been undertaken by the company for research on behalf of the Water Research Commission, which looked to the role played by traditional leaders in community hygiene.
"By working with communities and establishing their needs, we are able to provide engineering solutions that are used, and valued, by the communities," says Cotton.
Another example of effective community engagement and investigation has been Sigodi Marah Martin's resolution of traffic congestion at Soweto's Avalon cemetery, on behalf of the Johannesburg Road Agency.
SOLVING TRAFFIC CONGESTION THROUGH ANALYSIS
"Every Saturday between 120 and 150 funerals take place at the cemetery leading to massive traffic congestion. Each funeral has around 20 vehicles - cars, buses and taxis - mostly trying to get in and out at the same time, through the same entrance."
"The problem is further complicated somewhat by existing drainage problems and surfaced roads that only lead to areas in the cemetery that are now full. After asking a lot of questions and listening to the answers, we came up with a very neat solution. We created a one-way system through the cemetery, so that traffic can flow properly."
MANAGEMENT & SUPPORT
Another important arm of the company is its Management Support Division, which offers strategic policy and project planning to all levels of government.
"We have particular strengths in strategic policy and communications support and second our staff to relevant government departments to support them in dealing with development issues."
Cotton cites the example of staff having been seconded to the Water Services Sector Development Division in the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, as well as to the DWAF Free State Provincial offices in Bloemfontein and to the Water Regulatory Division at DWAF Head Office in Pretoria.
Beyond the scope of the previously mentioned company divisions, there is also an Engineering and Built Environment arm of the business.
Says Cotton: "We have an impressive and experienced professional team that uses a holistic approach when providing engineering solutions.
SOFTWARE FOR TOP ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS
In fact, I have always had the privilege of working with the most amazing people in my working career and have always had the added benefit of using state-of-the-art software, such as that of AllyCAD and Civil Designer.
Cotton explains that when he was employed at Goba Moahloli Keeve Steyn, he was introduced to AllyCAD with great success and then subsequently learnt the ropes of Civil Designer when he joined Sigodi Marah Martin.
Cotton describes both programs being in a "league of their own” and applied to the broad range of projects, whether in joint ventures with large engineering companies such as Aurecon (also users of the software), or independently on roads or bulk water and sanitation projects.
"We have done a lot of bulk water and sanitation projects particularly in the Eastern Cape. Our project list shows a significant number of water-related work. There is the Mankosi Rural Water Project in the OR Tambo District Municipality, the Zizamele Sewerage Reticulation project in the Mnquma Local Municipality, previously Butterworth, Phase 1 and 2 of the Umnkhunja Water Project at the Engobo Local Municipality, and so much more.
BEE AND DRIVING GROWTH INTO AFRICA
There are just too many to mention. The work range includes feasibility studies, engineering design and construction monitoring."
Beyond the scope of South African projects, the company has also been expanding into Africa with Managing Director, Lansana Marah, has been driving growth into Sierra Leone, his country of birth.
Furthermore the company's impressive BEE scorecard highlights the fact that 90% of the company is black owned, and 60% stake holding is by women.
This all to complete an impressive picture of a community-oriented company that looks to answers from the people most affected by the outcome of the civil engineering projects on the ground.
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