Current Issue 52
Thinking global in terms of quality and local in terms of staff expertise are two elements that make CSI Group stand out from the competition in Tanzania and the surrounding region
High Standards of Workmanship
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
CSI Construction Group has had the privilege of working on a number of significant construction projects across Tanzania; applying its local knowledge and proactive approach to business to provide the highest standards of workmanship.
Since forming 28 years ago as a subsidiary of the wider Coastal Steel Industries Group, CSI Group today comprises four divisions that collaborate together where necessary to deliver holistic construction, electrical, engineering and installation solutions.
Although the youngest Company in the Group, CSI Electrical has quickly caught up with the pace of the other three divisions, demonstrating its commitment to quality and safety management systems by not only becoming the first ISO 9001 accredited Tanzanian electrical contractor, but also obtaining an OSHAS 18001 accreditation along the way. Chris Glasson, Managing Director of CSI Electrical explains: “From its commencement in 2007 with an annual turnover of US$250,000, CSI Electrical now has a direct workforce of 200 persons, an indirect workforce of 70 persons and expects to achieve an annual turnover in excess of US$10Million in 2016.”
Modelling itself on international best practices across sustainability and health & safety, CSI Group has led the market in delivering high quality and cost-competitive installations, with all divisions continuing to develop a reputation as the indigenous contractor of choice in Tanzania.
“Leveraging our team of locally qualified professionals, we are able to provide quality services to our clients that rival international standards, both of which help to give us a competitive edge,” says Zuh Versi, Project Engineer and shareholder at CSI Construction.
Knitted together by cross-shareholding of Directors across the four divisions, CSI has a diverse portfolio of construction business interests in East Africa, spanning from the aviation and mining industries, to infrastructure and fit-outs; known for representing Tanzanian dealerships for Hilti, CTM tiles, Kingspan, Schindler Lifts and SDMO Generators.
Heading into 2016, CSI Construction has a number of projects on the cards which it is expected to tender across the commercial, power and civil engineering sectors; including six substations in the areas around Dar Es Salaam, a new Toyota showroom, the development of an office block near Bahari Beach and security upgrades for an embassy.
Versi says: “Given the size of our portfolio in Tanzania, we are actively seeking to expand into the surrounding East African region; namely entering Rwanda and Uganda, and strengthening our presence in Mozambique. The main reason for this expansion is to capture different parts of the market, and seek out clients who are focused on quality construction, in addition to expanding our industry into a lucrative market.”
Similarly, from Glasson’s perspective, CSI Electrical has a secure order book for the next 18 months, with ongoing projects in not just Tanzania, but small construction opportunities in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda as well. Moreover, since moving into Mozambique in 2012, following requests from existing clients operating in these markets, CSI Group will continue to adopt this strategy to move with the customer in order to explore further opportunities for expansion.
Glasson highlights: “We are currently working on two 220kV substations in Dodoma and Iringa, Dar es Salaam Airport Terminal 3, electrical reinforcement at the six aforementioned substations, Kilimanjaro substation expansion and much more.
“CSI Electrical has two specific business development targets in 2016: to continue to maintain a steady flow of projects while expanding the value-add service delivery of the business; these objectives are reciprocated across the Group. We are extremely excited about the future development opportunities for us - given the investments in infrastructure being made by the government and the opening of Tanzania to international investors - especially across the mining, oil & gas and power sectors.”
Part of the team
Firmly rooted in East Africa, CSI’s broad local knowledge and emphasis on local partnerships has proved extremely beneficial to achieving regional success. Valuing each individual for their contribution on a project or contract, the Group has many long-term employees, the majority of which are Tanzanians.
In 2015, the Electrical division selected two individuals from a disadvantaged background to participate in a three year electrical apprenticeship scheme being run by VETA in conjunction with a German Development Organisation. “These two individuals have been provided with a full competitive salary, full support and work experience supervised by senior members of the CSI Electrical team. As a Group, we remain engaged in identifying skills shortages in the construction sector and develop strategies for bridging this gap,” Glasson notes.
Similarly, the Group believes in assisting its local subcontractors to develop and improve their industry knowledge. Versi explains: “We always support our subcontractors and suppliers and it is our core belief to embrace competition, rather than shy away from it.
“Our philosophy is to help and promote our associates as much as possible. When we find a good supplier with good standards and quality, and the drive to improve, we will promote them and in return this is reciprocated.”
With a focus to reach as many people as possible, CSI Group is also very active in the corporate social responsibility space, providing support to various institutions across healthcare, sport, youth and disability.
Going forward, CSI Group will continue to focus on continuous improvement of its management teams to maintain international standards of delivery in terms of quality, safety and environmental processes. “These factors will continue to set CSI apart from the competition,” says Versi. “Ultimately, our focus is on ensuring the highest standards of delivery in the projects we undertake.”
Once the Group has been sufficiently strengthened, the Company is looking to amalgamate the four separate subsidiaries of CSI into one entity, forming a consolidated, multi-discipline business that can prosper in the East Africa region and beyond.
Glasson concludes: “Exploring opportunities in other African markets forms a natural part of the growth of the business. Having successfully expanded the business in Tanzania and having a proven delivery model, we are confident that the Group can succeed in other African markets.”