From one bridge to another: Our engineer’s successful journey on the Cape Town Refinery Interchange

From one bridge to another: Our engineer’s successful journey on the Cape Town Refinery Interchange

Our Project Engineer, Renae Naicker, started her journey at PERI as a student. Now she works for the Engineering Competence Centre Middle East Africa on international projects and has had the opportunity to grow within the company. A turning point in her career was the Cape Town Refinery Interchange project in South Africa, where she was given full responsibility for the complex bridge project formwork design and managed it from start to finish with her analytical skills and her passion for civil engineering. Find out how she developed efficient solutions for our client using materials available in the subsidiary and how she succeeded in having a successful project.

Renae's journey at PERI is guided by her passion for challenges, collaborations and unique projects. As each endeavor is different, she works with colleagues from branches all over the world. This collaboration makes her a true team player, having the ability to ask for assistance and support with her knowledge at the same time. While she enjoys the variety of tasks, her heart lies in larger projects, which she accompanies from start to finish. A turning point in Renae's career was therefore her pivotal involvement in the Cape Town Refinery Interchange. This project, comprising the construction of two significant bridges, marked her transition from standard to larger and more complex projects. “It was my first bridge construction that I was involved in from the initial concept stage all the way through to construction – a milestone that has had a big impact on my career as I’m now working on more projects like this,” Renae states proudly.

The two bridges were built to improve the capacity and safety of traffic operations at the Refinery Interchange in Cape Town. “The first step was to create engineering solutions for the first bridge. If these turned out to be successful, we would also be involved in the planning of the second bridge, since this depended on the success of the first one,” explains Renae. But working under pressure is what drives her forward. She genuinely enjoys doing everything she can to understand our clients’ needs and make them happy by providing the right solution. But before she got there, she had to overcome a few hurdles.

Its flexibility allows customized spacing of beams and props so that any slab thickness can be formed.
Shoring was attached to the sides so that traffic could continue to flow under the bridge structure.

Engineering solutions for mastering traffic during construction

One of the most exciting challenges was utilising the rental stock in the subsidiary which allowed the project to be implemented economically. For this task, it required Renae’s sharp mind to devise a great yet efficient solution using the available systems. We therefore offered our client rental material that was particularly economical for him to change the dynamic infrastructure landscape. One of these rentals was our MULTIFLEX Girder Slab Formwork. It has the advantage of being extremely flexible, allowing the spacing of the beams and props to be individually customised to the project. This enabled our client H&I Engineering to successfully shutter the exposed concrete bridge deck. “This flexibility is what I love about our systems. It can be combined with steel beams and other systems,” points out Renae.

While she made her engineering designs, she not only maintained close contact with her colleagues and manager, but also with one of our supervisors on site. “Whenever he needed clarification or additional information for our client, I was there to help,” she says. This was the case, for example, with the on-site conditions. Two lanes of traffic were to remain open under the bridges. In addition, there were large slopes on which no shoring could be placed. What to do now? Renae and her team decided to create a portal-like solution. “We built shoring on the sides of the lanes. This allowed traffic to pass under the construction while maintaining a secure working space above,” explains Renae.

Project Engineer at our Engineering Competence Centre Middle East Africa
Project Engineer at our Engineering Competence Centre Middle East Africa
Renae Naicker
Project Engineer | Engineering Competence Centre Middle East Africa
“Sometimes my colleagues say that I work very fast. I guess I’m just passionate about my job and driven for success.”

Hands-on experiences pave the way for creative design solutions

To better understand the site conditions, Renae visited the construction site for a few days. This hands-on experience helped her refine her designs and gave her the opportunity to discuss details directly with our client. “Apart from that, the construction site was far away from my office, so I had to regularly communicate with my colleagues or our client electronically to discuss solutions and make the project a success,” she says. During one of these discussions, for example, it was brought to her attention that the actual heights on site differed from those on the original drawings. Thanks to her proactive approach, this discrepancy was quickly confirmed by the supervisor. She amended the drawings accordingly to stay on track of the timeline and meet all the necessary specifications. “So, besides my expertise, I need to be a good communicator. When we need certain technical information, we have to explain it to our colleagues in a way that they understand what to ask our clients and vice versa,” says Renae.

What she enjoys most about her job is the static analysis. With every design she makes, she is the one who runs the calculations to confirm that the designs meet the requirements. Combined with her passion for mathematics, she is able to find great solutions for each project. “The best thing about it is that my work makes me a solution finder, as static analysis goes hand in hand with solving challenges,” says Renae. Her ability to navigate challenges, devise creative solutions, and collaborate effectively underlines her role as a driving force behind our success in delivering complex engineering projects. That’s why her expertise and dedication led to the successful realisation of the first bridge. Happy with the results, our client continued to work with us on the second bridge. “In fact, we still work together as we are doing another project, which is currently underway. For me, this is the best confirmation and appreciation I can get for my job,” says Renae.

Panel Formwork Systems, Girder Slab Formwork and many more PERI solutions were used to build this bridge.
The exposed concrete is characterised by its uniform aesthetics.