BMK Engineering Consultants has undergone a rebranding and a restructuring process to form the new BMK Group, with three business entities: Professional Consulting, Technology and Property Investment. IMIESA interviews Brian Martin Kannigadu, founder and CEO, BMK Group, about the company’s vision.

Founded in 2005, BMK has experienced a steep growth trajectory and is a major success story in the South African construction industry. “From inception, we’ve built our foundation on a client-centric approach, backed by exceptional technical expertise and quality of service, placing us at the forefront of the industry as infrastructure sector professionals. It’s all about ‘out-of-the-box’ execution and, as a 100% empowered BBBEE enterprise, we have a major role to play in shaping South Africa’s future infrastructure landscape. This includes helping to address past socio-economic imbalances,” says Kannigadu.

“South Africa faces major skills challenges, requiring interventions to strengthen the competencies and abilities of historically disadvantaged people and communities,” he adds.

The company’s head office is in Durban and forms the intelligence centre and base of operations for deeper market penetration in regions that include KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State.

“We provide a one-stop solution to public and blue-chip private sector clients, backed by an in-house design and construction management team that covers all professional disciplines. Our approach is multidisciplinary and our focus turnkey.”

Company composition

BMK Group’s three inter-related business entities comprise:

  • BMK Consulting Engineers
  • BMK Technologies
  • BMK Property Investments.

The teams involved all have formidable track records for sustainable infrastructure delivery within the previous BMK Engineering Consultants fold.

BMK Consulting Engineers comprises a number of divisions, namely Transportation, Water and Sanitation, Infrastructure Asset Management, Stormwater Design and Management, Civil and Structural Engineering, and Human Settlements.

BMK Technologies is a dedicated and specialist pipeline survey and cleaning operation, with a sound reputation for the delivery of professional solutions and client service excellence. BMK Technologies has the capacity to undertake detailed maintenance inspections, pre-rehabilitation assessments and emergency inspections on behalf of a wide range of clients.

BMK Property Investments is an existing property holding and development entity that actively works within both the private and parastatal sectors. “We have exciting plans in place to significantly expand our property development activities in the near future,” says Kannigadu.

Water and Sanitation

BMK experts assist both private and public sector clients on major water and sanitation engineering designs.

The group undertakes detailed feasibility studies, designed to determine appropriate water and sanitation requirements, in line with water accessibility, discharge, processing, terrain challenges and community needs. Operational and maintenance cost modelling form part of the service.

“We recommend solutions capable of meeting existing and future water and sanitation requirements and prepare detailed business plans. These are used to motivate the provision of provincial and municipal grants,” explains Kannigadu.

Project examples include the design and construction of water and sewer reticulation services for the Groutville sewer upgrade, with an estimated construction value of R130 million, on behalf of the Illembe District Municipality.

Transportation

The Transportation Division provides turnkey solutions in areas that include professional planning, design, implementation, management and maintenance of transport infrastructure, inclusive of road, rail, airport and seaport.

Consulting on new urban and rural road and highway designs, the BMK team provides recommendations on traffic requirements, plant and material availability and cost, as well as future maintenance needs. This includes design work for both asphalt and gravel roads.

An example of a recent gravel-to-asphalt road upgrade is a R265 million project for the Johannesburg Roads Agency. The description of works entailed professional design services – inclusive of stormwater – in the townships of Drieziek, Orange Farm and Diepsloot.

Infrastructure Asset Management

BMK is widely experienced in infrastructure asset management, assisting client organisations to assess, analyse and maintain their infrastructure management systems.

Examples of completed pavement management system projects include work for the Johannesburg Roads Agency, uMlalazi Municipality and uMhlatuze Municipality.

One of BMK’s largest infrastructure asset management systems projects completed to date was for eThekwini Municipality. Valued at around R65 million, this entailed an assessment of the city’s stormwater networks.

Stormwater Design and Management

The effective planning and design of flood run-off and stormwater management is another critical discipline performed by BMK Consulting Engineers. Services include GIS integration, hydrological and hydraulic modelling, floodline determination, and drainage master plans.

Civil and Structural Engineering

The group has a proven track record and boasts extensive experience in the delivery of a range of civil and structural engineering designs for residential, industrial and commercial developments. These services include:

  • foundation design
  • retaining walls
  • bridges
  • culverts
  • airports
  • stadiums.

Past projects include the R4 billion Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where BMK was involved in the design of underground services, as well as the R6 billion King Shaka International Airport bulk infrastructure, hydrology and hydraulic modelling project, forming part of the iLembe Engineering JV.

Human Settlements

When it comes to human settlement developments, BMK harnesses its full engineering suite. From proven experience, BMK believes that planning and executing housing developments under a single project management entity yields the best results. “This minimises the impact costs of repeated design changes and the implications this has for project delays,” says Kannigadu. Housing projects range from low-cost to high-end residential.

BMK also performs structural assessments of existing RDP housing. These assessments form the basis for the Department of Human Settlements to allocate budgets and undertake rectification work on such units.

The Edendale Wirewall housing project is a recent example. BMK carried out inspections, assessments and rectification studies for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements to ensure that all houses met NHBRC standards.

“Aside from engineering expertise and experience, our successes to date are based on strict adherence to programme and project management best practice. Our projects are correctly specified, budgeted and executed, and that applies whether it’s an advanced infrastructure development or a community-based project,” explains Kannigadu.

BMK Technologies

Once an asset has been constructed, the next step is to effectively manage its design life through ongoing condition monitoring. Assessing, analysing and maintaining infrastructure management systems are key services provided by BMK’s engineers. One of the core areas is in pipeline condition and hydraulic assessments, which includes cleaning services.

“It is common knowledge that South Africa is experiencing massive water losses due to ageing pipeline infrastructure. Sewer pipeline degradation is another concern, since it presents a major environmental threat. That’s why it’s essential that all hidden or buried pipeline infrastructure is maintained to the highest standards in order to avoid unnecessary and costly blockages and leaks,” explains Kannigadu.

Sophisticated robotic CCTV cameras, which integrate with municipal GIS systems, are employed by BMK Technologies to examine and assess pipelines and accurately determine the extent of any rehabilitation intervention required. The inspection methodology depends on the age of the infrastructure and the specific client requirements.