SBS TanksA recent infrastructure intervention by SBS Tanks® in picturesque Riviersonderend has drastically improved the quality of life for the Overberg town’s inhabitants.

Riviersonderend has long struggled with increased water demand due to growth and expansion related to its position on the N2. The town’s single, ageing concrete reservoir could simply no longer cope with the increased demand. The Theewaterskloof Municipality required a 2 Mℓ storage capacity expansion to effectively service this need. Its preferred solution was that of a bolted steel panel tank. Franciscus Laubscher, civil engineer, Theewaterskloof Municipality, states: “We were interested in this type of solution for two reasons: the speed of erection and the cost of the structure.”


Main contractor

Martin Barnard, sales and marketing manager, SBS® Water Systems, says, “What made this project unique from the way we generally undertake municipal business is the fact that SBS® was appointed by the Theewaterskloof Municipality as the main contractor. This implied that, other than just the usual tank manufacturing and installation, the company was also responsible for the fabrication of pipework (steel and PVC); installation of valves; building of valve chambers and manholes; tying the installation in with existing infrastructure; and dealing with services. The contract also entailed an element of integrated telemetry.”

Harold Smook, contracted project engineer, Theewaterskloof Municipality, states, “SBS® Water Systems has to be commended for the fact that it agreed to undertake the project as the main contractor. There are usually a number of unknown factors and risks associated.”

Daniel Pulker, financial manager, SBS®, reiterates: “From a contractual point of view, SBS® had to secure guarantees as well as ensure legal agreements with sub contractors to ensure compliance with the terms of reference for the  contract.”  A dedicated on-site contract manager, Denis Grace, was appointed. SBS® also prioritised the appointment of local Western Cape businesses to undertake various aspects of the contract, such as site security, civils and project documentation.


Open communication

From the awarding of the tender in May 2016, SBS® was allocated 14 weeks to complete the project, which included a weather contingency allowance.

Fabio Grendele, operations manager, SBS®, explains, “The tight deadline was of concern, considering that the Western Cape is a winter rainfall area.  We responded to the challenge by immediately establishing an open line of communication between all parties involved, including using technology by creating a WhatsApp group (a communication app).

This facilitated quick and easy responses between parties and contributed to the overall success of the project. There was also a tremendous sense of spirit and buy-in from all parties involved, which resulted in a cooperative approach to the project.”


Site excavation

Due to time constraints, on-site civil work had to run concurrently with the manufacturing of the SBS® Tank model ST 31-06 at the company’s head office in Pinetown. Technical requirements on-site required the top water levels of the old and the new tank to match. This implied on-site excavation to establish a new base level from which the new tank could be erected. Test pits prior to excavation indicated the presence of rock but, fortunately, this did not present too much of a challenge. The high standard demanded of the civil works was suitably met.


Quality standards

Appointed representatives from the client municipality’s procurement and engineering departments visited SBS® head office two weeks after the tender was awarded, for a material verification audit. Says Smook, “We were extremely impressed by the scale of the organisation and the way in which SBS® conducted business. It was evident in the level of quality control within the operation. I think if anybody on the team had any reservations up to that point, these were summarily dispelled after the visit.”

As an environmental consideration, SBS® suggested that the new reservoir be powder coated green to match the existing concrete reservoir and the surrounding landscape.


Site installation

Materials and two dedicated installation teams of six highly skilled SBS® installers were dispatched simultaneously from Durban and met on-site. The Theewaterskloof Municipality graciously assisted SBS® with the speedy offloading of materials on-site to enable construction to begin immediately.

Weather delayed the project for a few days, but the two installation teams compensated for lost time by working overtime to ensure that the deadline was met. The ST31-06 2.2 Mℓ tank was installed using only SBS® proprietary lifting equipment and some manual labour.

The project was conducted under strict health and safety (SHE) requirements as outlined by the Theewaterskloof  Municipality and the appointed SHE consultants. The marathon build was completed within a record 13 days, with seven days’ worth of rain interruptions halting work in-between. With the critical part of the build over, one team was recalled to another installation and the remaining team of three men completed the build and commissioning of the reservoir.


Secure supply

The town of Riviersonderend suffered no downtime in supply during the entire installation, except for a scheduled four-hour break in service, during which the new reservoir was tied in to the existing infrastructure.

Careful cost control during the project ensured that the municipality had surplus funds to deploy into other, non-critical project areas, such as the erection of a perimeter fence around the entire site, the rehabilitation and stabilisation of the excavated bank, by means of a geomembrane, as well as the planting of indigenous succulents that would eventually cover the bank.

Delayne Gray, managing director, SBS®, concludes: “We are extremely proud of this project.

It is a prime example of delivering on our business objectives, which are to deliver our products and services within specification, on budget and on time. I wish to extend my gratitude to all parties involved in making this project a resounding success.”


For total, affordable water storage solutions, contact SBS® Water Systems now on +27 (0)31 716 1820 or