For over 50 years, GIBB, one of Africa’s largest consulting engineering companies, has changed the face of the continent project-by-project. GIBB is an established pinnacle of engineering excellence and an industry leader in infrastructure planning and delivery, offering a range of services over a variety of diverse markets. GIBB has established a reputation as a professional and cost-effective hub of technological intelligence driven by talented staff, who continues to be the cornerstone of its success.
The company was established by co-founders David Hill and Leo Kaplan in 1956 as Hill Kaplan & Partners. GIBB was a pioneer even back then, becoming the first multi-disciplinary structural and electrical engineering consultancy in Cape Town. A year later, civil engineer Quentin Scott joined the company that saw its name change to Hill Kaplan Scott & Partners. Within three years the company was registered under the name Hill Kaplan Scott (HKS).
For the first 35 years, HKS proved itself a leader in the industry and by the 1960s, achieved a solid reputation as a company with a proven culture of cutting-edge design and technology. It was also at this time that HKS made its mark of excellence in the pages of engineering history, with landmark projects such as the renovation of the Port Elizabeth City Hall, the building of the Sandile Dam in Port Elizabeth, the new planetarium at the South African Museum and the addition of a new sub-division to Cape Town’s iconic luxury hotel, The Mount Nelson.
In the early 1990's, HKS merged with an international company LAW GIBB Group, based in Atlanta in the United States, to form HKS LAW GIBB. This move capitalised on the strengths of both companies and allowed the company to further expand its African footprint. By 1995, the company changed its name to GIBB Africa and by that time was already recognised as the largest consulting engineering company in Africa.
As South Africa rejoined the international community in 1994, GIBB Africa followed suit with the appropriate policies that saw a new generation of South Africans enter the world of engineering. As a commitment to meeting international standards, the company implemented the international ISO9001 quality assurance system in 1999, making GIBB Africa one of the first South African companies to embrace world-class quality.
In this time, GIBB Africa added further landmark offerings to its expanding project portfolio, such as the Newlands Cricket Stadium, the V&A Waterfront and V&A Clock Tower. GIBB Africa was the preferred consultant for the V&A developers due to revolutionary engineering intelligence, forward-thinking empowerment initiatives and a proven track record.
With these and other esteemed projects under its belt, GIBB Africa won 15 prestigious awards between 1994 and 1999 for its work on landmark projects. This continued into the new millennium with work on groundbreaking projects, such as South Africa’s Gautrain, the improvement of Cape Town’s inner city transport system, feasibility studies for the Cape Gate Shopping Centre and the Silvermine River Flood Control Scheme in the Western Cape, earning the company a SAICE Engineering Technical Excellence Award.
In 1999 GIBB Africa underwent another transformation by merging with Cape Town-based Arcus Engineering, led by Abbas Jamie and Yasir Ahmed, resulting in a further name change to Arcus GIBB. .
Since its inception as Hill Kaplan & Partners, the company has evolved into a 21st century company. GIBB appointed its first female Director in 2005 preceding its alignment in 2006 with the South African government’s broad-based black economic empowerment legislation, which seeks to redress the imbalances of the past by fairly and justly equalising the ownership, management and control of South Africa’s financial and economic resources. Today, the company’s structure comprises the division of its shareholding between a Broad-Based Ownership Trust of 67% black employees and a Staff Share Trust of 33%, making it a truly 100% employee-owned South African company and reflecting its ethos of always ensuring a broader and more meaningful participation of previously disadvantaged groups in the active economy.
In September 2008, Arcus GIBB’s name shortened to GIBB as a strategic initiative to further entrench its reputation in South Africa as the hallmark of engineering excellence.
GIBB’s reputation as a hub of technological intelligence, along with its professional service and solid track record, has seen the company become increasingly involved in landmark projects internationally. The depth and breadth of experience and expertise ensures that GIBB is well positioned to provide a variety of engineering solutions to clients through service excellence.