Building Southern Africa
Stefanutti Stocks are always looking for new and exciting construction projects to work on
Writer Matt Bone
Project manager Stuart Shirra
Stefanutti Stocks is one of South Africa's leading construction groups, with over 12,000 employees and the capacity to deliver a range of projects of any scale to a multitude of clients in diverse markets. All South African operations are divisions of Stefanutti Stocks (Pty) Ltd, a Level Two B-BBEE contributor. The company have a Grade 9 rating from the South African Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) provides us with unlimited tender capability.
Despite a stagnant market and an industry that has been plagued by Governmental cutbacks and project shortages, Tim Stow, General Manager of Stefanutti Stocks, is confident the company will weather this storm and continue to offer the same world class market leading quality construction.
"The industry as a whole has been affected by the Botswanan Government's reluctance to put more work into the public domain, whether in the form of short to medium projects or long term tenders. There is very little private sector work going on and even when a tender does arise, there are so many companies going for it that realistically it is very difficult to win that project." But there is a potential light at the end of the tunnel as Mr Stow goes on to explain: "Of course every industry has lean spells, but it is how you cope with the lack of work that defines you as a company. We have had to tighten our belts and this will have an effect on what project we tender for, but I believe that this spell will soon end. By June, I think we will see more tenders and more projects becoming available. This will be good news to not just us but also to the Botswanan economy as a whole."
Maintaining Supplier Relationships
Suppliers play an integral part of any business and especially in construction, where suppliers are paramount. PPC Botswana and Stefanutti Stocks have been working together now for over 10 years and formed a strong working relationship that stands fi rm in both good times and lean ones.
Solid strategic partners are required to turn PPC products into enduring landmarks. Stefanutti Stocks represents such a partnership and the relationship between the two entities is as strong as ever. Stefanutti Stocks has been involved in the construction of iconic buildings in Botswana, some of which include: Otse Police College, SADC building, Maun Hospital and Mascom's head office. Both the Maun hospital and Mascom building were finalists for the PPC Botswana number 1 Builder competition; showcasing building excellence and long term vision.
The two companies work closely together to deliver first rate end results and they are both strong advocates of innovation through partnerships. It is this level of commitment between a supplier and a construction company that helps markets that have been unsteady for the last year become stronger and more stable.
A Closer Eye on trends
Where some companies look to diversify in work shortage periods, Stefanutti Stocks have decided against doing this. Stow thinks that by staying in their current markets, they will be able to keep a closer eye on potential trends emerging and then be in an even stronger place to capitalise on them. "We will not look to diversify at the moment as I think things may well start to pick up again in the next 6-9 months and if we continue to keep chipping away at the market, we will surely strike first if something big does come along." Stefanutti Stocks are currently working on finishing a project for the Sere wind Farm in the Western Cape. A consortium between Stefanutti Stocks Power business unit and power solutions manufacturer, Powertech, are undertaking the construction of a complete substation and a 132kV power line for the Sere wind Farm in the Western Cape. The contract commenced back in June 2013. The wind farm, consisting of 50 turbines, is located approximately 300 kilometres north of Cape Town, with the nearest towns being Lutzville and Koekenaap. The 44km power line winds through very sensitive Namaqualand flower route. In order to preserve this sensitive area as well as defer the risk of heavy mixer trucks getting stuck on the sandy servitude, Stefanutti Stocks Power elected to pre-cast foundations for the guyed towers. Furthermore, the mostly sandy soil conditions enable efficient levelling and lining up of precast items. The contract completion target date is 21 may 2014.
One of Botswana's biggest industries is diamond mining and Stefanutti Stocks have been working alongside the various mining companies in recent years. The competition for lucrative diamond mining projects is very intense, with companies doing everything they can to undercut and beat the competition. Stow is acutely aware of this situation but believes that the companies tendering the project are looking for more than just the cheapest option: "I have seen several tenders won by companies who were not the cheapest, they were the ones who offered the best package all round. I think the mining companies are realising that the cheapest option is not always the best option. This gives me confidence that other industries will look to do the same thing and carefully look at all tenders before choosing."
An Important Year ahead
The next 12 months will be very important for Stefanutti Stocks as they look to help push a struggling market forwards in the hope to see new tenders and projects emerge. "We will continue to work in Botswana alongside the various industries, but there are a lot of civil companies who are tendering against us but we have seen some good projects completed in the country, and we will always consider it to be a positive market for construction industry."
Tim Stow is confident that the current market slump seen in construction in Southern Africa will soon change for the better and Stefanutti Stocks will be ready and waiting to undertake any and all projects they can. "We are always looking for new and exciting projects and tenders to work on. If you become too fussy about the projects you pick, you will end up losing business, if you take each one at face value and then make an informed decision then you will have a greater variety of work to undertake," Mr. Stow surmises.