We continue from where we left off with Michael Sodzi, project manager at Devtraco Plus. In this post, we will look at the role of some key personnel and practices we employ on our projects to make sure our clients have the best of what they see and don’t see.
Who is a structural engineer and what is his role in the construction process? Why is it important to have one on a construction project?
There are lots of key people on our projects like the architects, quantity surveyors, electrical engineers among others but one key actor often forgotten or hardly ever talked about is the structural engineer. The structural engineer’s input is a crucial part of the predevelopment stage.
On our projects, the structural engineers would normally come in as consultants and could either be individuals or part of a consortium. It is important to note that a structure may look great aesthetically but if a building lacks structural integrity, the project is doomed to be a massive failure. The core duty of the structural engineer is to ensure the building maintains its structural integrity over its lifetime. This duty is carried out by analyzing the different loads and the stresses it can bear and coming up with a design that ensures the building is safe to use. They create mathematical models that enable them to design structures that have integrity. They look at the wind loads in the area, the soil bearing capacity of the area (by doing soil tests) and other factors. The results will inform the design of the buildings foundation, beams, slabs and column designs. Getting accurate information and getting the right mathematical models are crucial to ensuring our buildings meet the highest standards of structural safety anywhere in the world. Sometimes load and stress management designs lead to changes to architectural designs but this is extremely rare on our projects. Structural designs for an uncomplicated 5-storey developmentwould normally take 4-5 weeks to complete.
Any other special activity or portfolio associated with a Devtraco Plus project?
Procurement is another part of our project activities that we take very seriously. For the construction work, we ensure contractors use the highest grade material when putting up the structure while the procurement for the finishing is done in-house. This helps us to assure the quality of the finishing of our properties and to cut project costs which invariably make homes of even more value to the buyer or investor.
We also have a facility management team who understand what our standards are. What is good to majority of people is ordinary to us and our team knows this! With facility management services coming from in-house, maintenance activities are carried out in a timelier manner by a very well resourced team. They also serve as in-house consultants as the project progresses and are normally quite heavily involved as the project nears completion. Typically as projects near completion, we bring in the two teams (procurement and facility management) to visit the site, to ensure among other things that maintenance staff have good knowledge of where fittings are and where slight modifications on the ground may have occurred with regards to utility, HVAC line placements, etc. It also gives them a chance to also re-asses the project as it approaches completion so that if they have any suggestions regarding modifications that will help manage the building effectively. These can be implemented to prevent a situation where our residents have to suffer inconveniences arising from modifications which could have been undertaken earlier. Little or no changes to the building and fittings also ensure the originality of our projects are maintained. Where changes are necessary, we always have adequate stock to replace fixtures, etc so that uniformity and beauty of our signature homes are maintained.
In 2015, the UN came up with 17 sustainable development goals which included making cities safe and sustainable by creating green buildings and spaces. We were aware of that and include a note on it in design briefs for our developments. We wanted to create features for easier and more efficient power management to reduce energy costs. With our latest development, The Edge, we have incorporated a design that facilitates cross ventilation.
The Edge has a void from the ground floor all the way to the top; this serves to improve ventilation and reduce cooling costs, brings in more light and reduces daylight energy consumption. We have put in less but more energy efficient lighting. We have borehole systems for our developments which means potable water distributed by Ghana Water Company Limited gets to those most in need of it in the capital city and beyond. The incorporation of solar panels is something we want to incorporate into subsequent designs.
Finally, in life, the unexpected can happen and that is why it is necessary to put in place measures to mitigate the effects when these unexpected events affect us negatively. Our projects are insured from start to finish, and beyond. We ensure contractors insure the project right from the start so that problems can be taken care of when they pop up. Post handing over, Devtraco Plus also have insurance policies taken out on all developments.
In our bid to develop our famed signature homes, Devtraco Plus is committed to employing the best human resource, industry practices and standards on all its development projects.