Neil Lyners and Associates recently won the prestigious CESA AON Engineering Excellence Award 2017 for projects between R50 million and R250 million.

This award was won for their involvement as consulting structural and civil engineers for the L’Ormarins Hydro Power Project, located on the L’Ormarins Estate in Franschhoek. The project required the design and construction of a pipeline in an environmentally sensitive, high and inaccessible part of the mountain, to enable the generation of 2,3 MW of green electricity.

A small portion of the stream is abstracted to generate electricity. The pipeline conveys water at a maximum flow rate of 70 F/s to the first turbine station (T1) situated about 300 m below the intake point. A second pipeline conveys water from the first turbine station to a balancing dam or directly to a second turbine station (T2) situated a further 100 m lower than the first turbine station. The water is then returned to the lower part of the stream it was abstracted from. The turbine station building design was modelled on the turbine supplier requirements and the initial layout of the turbines and mechanical equipment. The experienced team reviewed the proposed layout and considerably reduced the building footprint and cost of construction. The structure was re-oriented in the design phase to ensure the below-ground channels and chambers underneath the turbines would provide the necessary shear key resistance into the embankment and ensure structural stability at the 30-degree slope of the mountainside.

The remote location of the site posed a significant challenge. More than 1 650 helicopter return flights were undertaken to construct the pipeline in the mountain and a helicopter landing area had to be constructed higher up the mountain. The team working in the mid to upper end of the pipeline was flown to the landing area daily. Similarly, all materials and equipment were delivered by helicopter. Access roads to the turbine stations had to be constructed over steep and mountainous terrain. The complex nature of the project necessitated an experienced consulting engineering team with several specialists, selection of whom is based on the successful completion of previous projects.

Over the last 20 years, Neil Lyners has grown steadily into a sizeable, dynamic and diversified practice. He said: “To be adjudged the winner of the excellence award (among many large multinational entrants) showcases the practice’s resilience, commitment, values, competency, dedication of the staff, our clients’ confidence in our offering, the competency of the Contractor and giving effect to the practice’s vision, ‘… to help people and clients turn opportunities into reality in an extraordinary and sustainable way’. “We are certainly grateful, our staff deserves the recognition, and they are reinvigorated and proud of themselves. We furthermore believe that the award symbolises the hope vested with our built environment industry to lead, confront and challenge the ominous contraction of our economy — for the benefit of all South Africans.”

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Paarl Post – August 2017