Vital Engineering has successfully completed the two largest gratings, handrail and stair tread supply contracts in Africa to date. The contracts were for the supply of 70km of hand railing and over 8 000 stair treads to Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power station projects, as well as 100 000m2 of grating panels per power station.
Dodds Pringle, Managing Director of Vital Engineering, says that many of the company’s products were used in these projects: from GRP or FRP fibreglass gratings and accessories, to mild or stainless steel and aluminium gratings, stair treads and expanded metals. In addition, Vital’s copyrighted sealed unit tubular stanchions were supplied. The stanchion product range comprises ball-type angle stanchions and solid forged stanchions, which were supplied with solid hand rails and bends to construct complete walkways.
Safety was a key aspect in both the Eskom power station projects, Pringle explains. Vital Engineering strove to work proactively with the principal contractor, MHPSA (Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa), to meet and surpass specified quality and safety goals.
“All the stringent safety procedures, systems and quality controls applied to the power station projects are also applied without fail to every other project which we undertake for our loyal and valued local and international client base,” Pringle adds. “This ensures that our service levels and deliverables remain consistent. Furthermore, we have always adopted pre-emptive safety and quality practices, instead of leaving this responsibility solely to the main contractor.”
Pringle cautions buyers, specifiers and clients to look closely at the products they specify. “Recent instances of sub-standard performance parameters, lower steel and manufacturing quality, and failure to carry out test procedures have led to catastrophic failures. When these occur, specifiers suffer professionally, as they bear the full brunt of the law for choosing sub-standard products.”
In terms of performance, grid flooring and hand railings are reliant on the supplier’s integrity to ensure high standards of safety are maintained. “Those responsible for procuring or specifying walk-way systems need to be mindful of these critically important factors. The long-term consequences of a fatal accident are always severe, including strained client relationships, delayed project completion and severe penalties. However, these are vastly outweighed by any loss of life which could so easily occur as a direct result of using sub-standard, cheap and ultimately unsafe products,” he concludes.