The Kutumela-Molefi project is focused on establishing a development program for the Kutumela-Molefi primary school in Mamelodi. A condition assessment and site plan of the school was compiled by EWB in conjunction with Bigen. Following investigations conducted by the Bigen group the school was found to be in a dire state, due to a lack of infrastructure and resources. Furthermore the socio-economic problems within the local community have escalated the depletion of the school, through theft of resources and overpopulation in the school. Various sponsors and donors have in the past attempted to implement development projects, however with no plan and a lack of organisation most of these projects have been left unfinished and unsuccessful. A major challenge faced by the school is water supply. It was found that the lack of maintenance and vandalism to the system has left the school with an insufficient supply of water.
The Kutumela-Molefi project aims to establish a feasible development and support program for the schools infrastructure. The key question to be answered is how can the learning conditions of the children at the school be effectively improved? By doing so the learners will be able to keep their sole focus on their education.
The main function of the school is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for education. However if in any way these conditions are not provided, learners are then unable to maintain their focus on their education and instead are now distracted by growing concerns over the lack of provisions and infrastructure in the school. More so by law there is a legal obligation for the school to ensure the basic civil needs of the leaners and staff alike are provided for, and at the moment this isn’t the case. Hence a development program to establish the provision of the schools basic needs has to be implemented. The department of education appears to be unable to see to this due to a lack of funding and poorly executed condition assessments. Thus a call to donors and sponsors has been made to take up various projects within the development program.
Summary of Technical work
A site plan and condition assessment was conducted by EWB and the Bigen group. Kutumela-Molefi primary school is a farm school that underwent various developments to cater for the Mamelodi community. Being a farm school there was no existing site plan of the school nor a physical asset management plan. Hence a site plan of the existing classrooms, bathrooms, offices and overall layout of the school was compiled to give insight into the structure and state all physical features within the school. The site plan also included access roads and locations of the surrounding features such as settlements.
The site layout of the school was constructed by a team of land and quantity surveyors from the Bigen group along with a team of engineering students from EWB at the Univeristy of Pretoria. This was achieved by making surveying GPS equipment and surveying strategies. An initial demonstration and training course on surveying was conducted by the surveying team to educate the EWB students about surveying and how to conduct a survey. The students then assisted the surveying team over the course of the week with developing a site plan of physical elements within and around the school. A survey of the access road was also performed.
The survey involved making use of a surveying GPS system to locate and establish the dimensions of existing physical features. A further detailed survey was conducted to define the internal and external dimensions and features of the existing physical structures. Following the survey a site plan was then compiled by the Bigen group civil engineering team and EWB students by making use of the survey data collected and site planning software.
Following the construction of the site plan, a condition assessment was then carried out, to establish the physical state of various existing classrooms, bathrooms, offices and infrastructure. This condition assessment gave insight into the level of depletion in the infrastructure of the school. The condition assessment was conducted by a physical condition assessor from the Bigen group and the EWB students.
An initial demonstration and information session was held to educate the students on condition assessment. Following the information session, the students the assisted the condition assessor to conduct and compile a condition assessment.
A final report of the activities carried out was compiled and submitted to the Bigen group engineering team for further assessment.
The Kutumela-Molefi project was an educational and eye-opening experience. There were many lessons to take home along with training and skills. The surveying exercise was a very practical and enlightening experience, it provided insight into the structure and procedures of coordinating an engineering project, from establishing and executing a plan to conducting and the importance of a survey to any engineering project.
More so the experience of working with surveying equipment and software enabled us to gain exposure to some of the tools available to go about executing various tasks within an engineering project. The EWB students found the surveyors to be exceptional in their knowledge and work ethic, they were able to successfully inform and equip the students with the basic surveying skills and knowledge needed to execute the site survey.
The condition assessment was very informative and helped place perspective on the necessity of detail analysis and assessment. In any engineering project maintenance is critical to ensuring the longevity and effective operation of any infrastructure. By performing a condition assessment, various issues and problems can be identified to ensure maintenance and repairs are enforced before failure occurs.
The EWB students found the condition assessor to be very knowledgeable and experienced in the field of condition assessment. The condition assessor helped to give the students insight into the process of analysis and identifying critical issues.
Overall the students found the experience of working with the Bigen team insightful and gained much needed exposure to the engineering field.
Written by Anotidashe Michael Mukombachoto
Edited by Dhruti Dheda