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MARCH 2012
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LEGACY PROJECTS

Major Projects

These are some of the major historic projects that have defined Murray & Roberts over more than a century.

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  • Murray House, Cape Town Murray House, Cape Town The "all concrete" six-storey Murray House, built in 1926, was for some time one of the tallest buildings in Cape Town. It was financed largely by John Murray, and was an advertisement for the firm for many years.
  • Caledon River Bridge Caledon River Bridge This contract was awarded to the newly established Roberts Construction Company in 1934. The contract called for the erection of five 60 ft reinforced concrete spans, 10 ft roadways, on piers up to 50 ft high, and with foundations up to 15 ft below water. The contract price was 6 196. The bridge took 14 months to complete with Douglas Roberts managing the contract from Johannesburg. This project is a reminder of the courage and determination of its founder.
  • Sanlam Head Office, Cape Town Sanlam Head Office, Cape Town In 1960, a contract to build Sanlam's head office changed Murray & Stewart's core business almost overnight. The 22-storey building was one of South Africa's first true high-rises. Murray & Stewart won the contract for the basement and then the structure. This established the company as a high-rise building firm and it subsequently won numerous similar projects in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Windhoek. Later in the 1990s, Murray & Roberts completed a major renovation of the building while the business remained fully operational.
  • Edura House Edura House The significance of this CBD office complex is that, apart from being South Africa's largest office building at the time of its construction in 1962, it was one of the earliest structures to have its core slid, using the Prometo system of sliding shutters. The company slid the core of the building to its final height of 68,6 m in 18 days. The main advantage gained was a significant reduction in construction time.
  • South African Associated Newspapers South African Associated Newspapers Completed in 1968, the headquarters for South African Associated Newspapers (SAAN) reflected the pioneering of the deep hole contracts by the Group. The excavations, referred to at the time as the Rand Daily Mail 'Big Hole', went down to nearly 30 m below street level and required specialised methods of piling and anchoring to stabilise the surrounding streets and buildings. At the time, this was one of the biggest building contracts undertaken by the company and experience gained on the project resulted in improved methods and lower costs on subsequent projects.
  • Hyde Park Corner Hyde Park Corner One of the most impressive projects completed in 1969 was the R4 million Hyde Park Corner shopping centre and offices. The roof wetting ceremony was on 9 May 1969, exactly 18 months after work had begun on the project. As one of first of the major office/shopping mall complexes to be built in Johannesburg, it was an important milestone.
  • The Carlton Centre The Carlton Centre The Carlton Centre, comprising the 50 storey office tower, 30 storey hotel, two levels of underground shopping mall and four levels of underground parking, is one of the main focal points of down-town Johannesburg. The structure occupies a five-block area. Its dominant feature is the office tower which, rising to a height of over 200 metres, represented at the time the highest and largest slide to be carried out in the southern hemisphere. When completed in 1972, it was the largest building project in the world and the tallest building in the country - a mega project by every definition.
  • Orange River Bridge Orange River Bridge Murray & Stewart (Eastern Province) completed the 462 m long bridge across the Orange River near Groblershoop for the Saldanha-Sishen line in 1975 and it was on schedule despite considerable time losses due to the 1974 floods. Five months were caught up within the 14-month second phase of the contract and the almost unprecedented effort put in by the site team won them Murray & Stewart's Anchusa award for the best site in the company.
  • SABC SABC The SABC complex at Auckland Park was completed in 1975. The 150 m high tower block has remained a Johannesburg landmark bearing testimony to the effort and expertise that went into the project. Several construction techniques used in previous projects had to be abandoned in favour of new methods, which were developed on site as construction proceeded concurrently with design. The radio studio block of this R63 million project had to be built under laboratory conditions to safeguard the exceptionally high degree of acoustic performance.
  • Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Koeberg Nuclear Power Station The construction of this nuclear power station for the Energy Supply Commission was completed by a consortium including Murray & Roberts, represented by Murray & Stewart in the Cape, and it required 300 000 m of concrete and 40 000 tonnes of steel reinforcing. At its peak the reactor complex has an output of 980 megawatts.
  • Johannesburg Civic Centre Johannesburg Civic Centre The Johannesburg Civic Centre, which stands on Civic Hill, Braamfontein, is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. In 1974 Roberts Construction moved on site to construct additional administrative buildings in a contract that ran until its completion in March 1978. The project involved extensive below surface work and the massive basement area called for deep excavations, with continual blasting necessary on an extremely rocky site. An exacting aspect of the underground work was the tremendous amount of off-shutter concrete and retaining wall work.
  • Kranskop Toll Road Kranskop Toll Road This was one of the first projects to establish the toll concept as an alternate means of road infrastructure delivery. Since then the Group has been a leading contractor and operator in projects to rehabilitate and toll national roads in South Africa.
  • Sun City Entertainment Centre Sun City Entertainment Centre The R25 million Sun City Entertainment Centre project was completed in less than eight months. Features of the complex included: a 9 915 m floor area with three restaurants, two cinemas, two theatres and 11 shops, an arena to seat up to 8 500 people and a convention centre capable of hosting 1 000 people. At its peak, the labour force comprised 1 500 workers. Murray & Roberts won the 1981 Steel Construction Award for its role as main contractor on the Entertainment Centre.
  • Bloukrans Bridge Bloukrans Bridge The Bloukrans Bridge was one of three Garden Route bridges constructed by a consortium comprising Murray & Roberts and Concor for R25 million. At the time of construction, the Bloukrans Bridge was the largest concrete arch bridge in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. The 451 m deck was completed in three years and an incredible 26 weeks ahead of the original schedule. The new bridge was opened almost exactly 100 years after the pass was completed. It received both the Fulton Award for Excellence in the use of concrete and the SAICE Eastern Cape Branch Award in 1983.
  • Mossgas Jacket: Offshore Oil Platform Mossgas Jacket: Offshore Oil Platform The R300 million Mossgas jacket made construction history as South Africa's first fixed production platform to be completed onshore. The project was officially handed over to Mossgas in 1991. This brought to an end a mega project which started with a feasibility study in January 1985. A number of Murray & Roberts companies contributed to the overall project including Genrec, Pentow Marine and Murray & Roberts Cape. It was the biggest steel structure ever built and moved in South Africa. The total weight of the structure was 14 700 tonnes.
  • Gold Reef City Gold Reef City Gold Reef City, a replica of the pioneering mining settlement that was Johannesburg at the turn of the 20th century, was completed on schedule. The project called for skills of a bygone age in brickwork, plastering, joinery and decorative cast iron.
  • SA Reserve Bank SA Reserve Bank The 148 m high SA Reserve Bank, constructed by the joint venture of Murray & Roberts Buildings (Tvl) and Stocks & Stocks was completed in 1987. Work began on the R117 million contract in January 1984. At its peak a total complement of 1 200 people worked on site. The building has many outstanding features, including timber panelling and ceilings to executive office floors which are linked by a futuristic spiral staircase.
  • Hillside and Mozal aluminium smelters Hillside and Mozal aluminium smelters The Hillside and Mozal aluminium smelters bear testimony to Murray & Roberts' ability to deliver world class high-tech industrial plants in difficult environments. Hillside in Richards Bay, then the largest single-site aluminium smelter in the world, and Mozal in Mozambique, were both installed by Engineering Management Services in partnership with Canadian company SNC-Lavalin, for their client Billiton. Both facilities produced first metal five months ahead of schedule and significantly under budget.
  • Oman Sugar Refinery Oman Sugar Refinery This was the first design and construct, lump-sum turnkey process contract secured by Murray & Roberts in the international environment.
  • Burj al Arab Burj al Arab The Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai is an iconic landmark in the United Arab Emirates. The project was undertaken in partnership with Al Habtoor for the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and designed to resemble a sailing dhow. The Group's first foray in the UAE, Burj al Arab was delivered one month ahead of schedule and in time for the new millennium. It presented a range of construction challenges, not least of which was the logistics of erecting a massive, complex steel structure requiring 9 000 tonnes of steel produced and transported from South Africa.
  • Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Gautrain Rapid Rail Link The Gautrain is a state-of-the art rapid rail link serving Gauteng's major commercial hubs. The system covers some 80 km of track, linking Pretoria, Johannesburg, Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport. The R25 billion project is one of the largest public private partnerships in the world and has been a major creator of jobs, stimulating the construction and infrastructure sectors during the current recession.
  •  Aquarius Partnership Aquarius Partnership Murray & Roberts Cementation is the exclusive contract mine operator for Aquarius Platinum SA (AQPSA) and produces some 800 000 tonnes per month of ore. Contract mining is undertaken at AQPSA's Kroondal, Marikana and Everest Mines and the contract is worth R2,7 billion annually.
  • Eskom Power Programme Eskom Power Programme Murray & Roberts has played a pivotal role in the development of South Africa's power station infrastructure, first with Eskom's thermal power station projects in 1970s and 1980s and now with its major involvement in the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations. Medupi and Kusile are amongst the largest dry-cooled thermal power stations in the world. A number of Murray & Roberts companies are involved in different elements of the projects, including the civil works at Medupi and structural steel fabrication, erection and mechanical installation works for both power stations.
  • Cape Town Stadium Cape Town Stadium The Cape Town Stadium, was handed over to the City of Cape Town ahead of schedule and in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The 68 000 seat stadium was one of five new stadiums built for the event. It is 55 m high with a fabric facade and a steel cable tensioned glazed roof.
  • Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas Project, Australia Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas Project, Australia Murray & Roberts, through its strategic shareholding in Clough is participating in the Engineering Procurement Construction Management and Gorgon Pioneer Material Offloading Facility contracts for the Gorgon LNG Project, Australia's biggest single resource project and one of the world's largest natural gas projects. The Greater Gorgon gas fields, some 130 km off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia, are the largest natural gas resource yet discovered in the region.

1902

James Stewart arrives in South Africa and together with John Murray forms Murray & Stewart

1906

John Murray buys out James Stewart and continues trading as Murray & Stewart

1934

John Murray co-founded The Roberts Construction Co.  with his friend and colleague Douglas Roberts. They were later joined by Andrew Roberts, and the three entrepreneurs played a leadership role in the formal development of the South African construction and engineering industry.

1967

Murray & Stewart merges with Roberts Construction to form Murray & Roberts under the chairmanship of Douglas Roberts

1990s

Murray & Roberts commits to its major markets in South Africa and remains a highly diversified industrial Group

2011

A three year Recovery & Growth strategy is launched and Murray & Roberts commits to the delivery of infrastructure to enable economic and social development in a sustainable way

Innovation

Innovation has always been one of the most distinguishing characteristics of Murray & Roberts. The company built the world’s first concrete mining headgear and the prestressed concrete version that is commonly used today. It replaced structural steel with concrete in the boiler house structures of thermal power stations, significantly improving their efficiency. Murray & Roberts also established the expertise, design and management capability to meet the stringent demands of the nuclear industry for safety, quality and risk management. In the past decade, Murray & Roberts has integrated design, finance and procurement in its implementation of major projects to deliver sustainable economic value to customers.