History

History

GIBB has a rich history of 60 years. The firm is an agile African infrastructure solutions provider, geared for excellence in an ever-changing landscape. With an entrenched ability to collaborate and provide the highest standard of quality delivery, GIBB adds unique value, not only to projects, but also to the communities it serves.

The South African part of this consultancy was established by co-founders David Hill and Leo Kaplan in 1956. The consultancy was a pioneer even back then, becoming the first multi-disciplinary structural and electrical engineering consultancy in Cape Town. In 1963, civil engineer Quentin Scott joined the consultancy and its  name changed to Hill Kaplan Scott & Partners. Within three years the consultancy was registered under the name Hill Kaplan Scott (HKS).

In  1969 the consultancy changed from a partnership to a firm. This  was also the year that the Johannesburg office opened in Commissioner Street, and  the  first  of  many  projects  associated  with OR Tambo International Airport (then Jan  Smuts  Airport) was undertaken.

1971 was the time that HKS made its mark of excellence in expanding their multi-disciplinary profile into the field of designing marinas with the  Marina da Gama in Cape Town, South Africa’first residential marina. Further diversity included work in water resources and environmental engineering with the completion of the Swartkops River Basin Study.

Hill Kaplan Scott & Partners became Hill Kaplan Scott Incorporated on 1 March 1979. By 1981, the hallmark year of the firm’s 25th anniversary, the firm had ten branches, 227 staff and 8300 successfully completed projects.

In 1980 female members of the staff were brought onto the HKS Pension Scheme for the first time.

The firm’s momentum in projects remained steady and, amongst others, Mossgas, BMW Midrand, The Workshop in Durban and Francistown Hospital in Botswana were added to their already impressive records. 

1992 marked the beginning of a new era as the international perception of South Africa became more positive. HKS increased the momentum of initiating its own projects, with community involvement and environmental awareness rapidly gaining importance. In addition, marketing of services and business development became focus areas for the future growth of the profession. Landmark projects in this period included the South African Police Headquarters in Grahamstown, the Kayelitsha Town 3 Village 5 Project, the former Ciskei Urban Management programme, the upgrade of the Newlands Cricket Ground and one of the firm’s most prestigious clients, the Victoria and Albert Waterfront.      

Dramatic change was on the cards, for South Africa and for HKS. In 1994 the country experienced what was arguably the most significant event in its relatively short history - a new democracy. This brought major changes, economically, socially and politically.

In 1994, HKS merged with international company LAWGIBB Group, based in Atlanta in the United States, to form HKS LAWGIBB. This move capitalised on the strengths of both firms and allowed the firm to further expand its African footprint.

The firm changed its name to GIBB Africa in 1995 and by that time was recognised as the largest consulting engineering firm in Africa. As a commitment to meeting international standards, the firm implemented the international ISO9001 quality assurance system in 1997 and was certified in 1999, making GIBB Africa one of the first South African firms to embrace world-class quality.

GIBB Africa added to its expanding  portfolio, with projects 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 impressive landmark  projects under its belt, GIBB Africa won 16 prestigious awards between 1994 and 1999.  The new millennium commenced with  ground-breaking 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. This award winning excellence has made GIBB the preferred consultants on super-projects across various sectors.

During 2000 GIBB Africa underwent another transformation by merging with Cape Town-based Arcus Engineering, resulting in a further name change to ARCUS GIBB.

Well known businessman and dignitary, Mr Tokyo Sexwale was appointed chairman of Arcus GIBB and in 2005  GIBB appointed its first female director. These appointments preceding the firm’s 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.

In December 2005 a new CEO, Richard Vries, was appointed as the firm embarked on a restructuring process to continue to meet its transformation objectives.

2006 was a year of celebration as Arcus GIBB reached its 50th anniversary. Under the leadership of Richard Vries and Nick Ras a second shareholder buy-out took place and the firm announced its new broad-based ownership structure in August 2006, which endorsed the Construction Sector Charter. The firm became 100% employee owned and 67% black employee owned as a result of the establishment of two employee trusts in line with the Government’s Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003.

The 1332 MW Braamhoek Pumped Storage Scheme (now Ingula) saw Arcus GIBB part of a joint venture in a R25 billion project. This vast project, located close to Van Reenen, comprised an upper reservoir in the Free State and a lower reservoir in KwaZulu-Natal.

Under the leadership of Richard Vries as Group CEO in 2007, Arcus GIBB embraced the objectives and targets as set out in the seven pillars of the Construction Charter, thereby committing to meeting the transformation agenda required for the economic success of South Africa and its people.

A client research survey  in 2007  showed that  a new brand identity was required for Arcus GIBB. Thus in September 2008 the new Arcus GIBB brand was launched. A further survey in 2011 revealed that most clients referred to the firm as GIBB. In October 2012 a new GIBB logo was born, and the old slogan, “We change lives”, was changed to “People Expertise Excellence", in accordance with the direction upon which the firm was  embarking.

n June 2010 APS PLANAFRICA joined GIBB’s new Urban and Rural Planning division. Former APS Director Nico Kriek, whose team was already familiar with GIBB, took the reins with GIBB’s latest discipline. The APS team had previously worked together on projects such as Port Harcourt, Gautrain, Rhodesfield Station, Wemmer Pan Precinct Plan, the Kei Rail Project, the Gauteng PRT’s and others. The amalgamation between GIBB and APS was seamless and their  combined experience also enabled the division to gain comprehensive insight into the developmental requirements of government and the private sector.

In January 2012 GIBB was awarded Level 2 BBBEE status; this rating equated to 125% BEE preference points and positioned GIBB as one of the very few consulting engineering firms with that level of rating. This attainment made a strong statement about GIBB being a leading player in the empowerment of the industry. 

In 2013 GIBB secured a 70% acquisition into leading architectural firm SVA International; this move was in keeping with firm’s strategic intent to diversify its service offerings. As a result of this partnership GIBB needed to have a brand that adequately reflected their core business, so in 2014 the  underlying message of “Engineering and Science” was changed to “Engineering and Architecture”.

 

Also in 2013 the appointment of a new Chairman was announced – Dr Don Mkhwanazi. Regarded as the father of Black Economic Empowerment, his appointment marked a critical element of GIBB’s expansion strategy. As a founding member of the Black Management Forum, Dr Mkhwanazi brought with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide GIBB in its drive to become a world-class player in the provision of engineering services on the continent.

In 2014, GIBB provided transport services to the winning No. 1 Silo development in Cape Town. As a leading consulting engineering firm, GIBB was instrumental in managing the transport services in the construction of the No.1 Silo office building at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This development was acknowledged as the overall winner at the 2014 South African Property Owners Association awards held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  GIBB also won the corporate office development category and the overall green award, scooping up a total of three top awards. The building was awarded a 6 star Green Star SA rating for design by the Green Building Council of South Africa and is South Africa’s latest green office building. This is only the second building to be awarded a 6 star rating in South Africa and the first building to achieve this rating in the Western Cape.

In August 2015 GIBB acquired respected Environmental Services outfit, Strategic Environmental Focus (SEF), resulting in South Africa’s strongest environmental offering in the engineering fraternity. The acquisition doubled the size of GIBB’s environmental team and positioned the broader group to deliver world-class environmental solutions using professional environmentalists, auditors, green design experts and specialists with sufficient capacity to develop a customised, comprehensive and complete range of solutions for clients. For GIBB, SEF’s established African footprint fits well into the firm’s expansion into Africa - SEF has completed around 7,000 projects all over South Africa; in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, DRC, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.

        

GIBB’s dams and hydropower capabilities have been exhibited in the R25 billion Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme with the design of a new 1332 MW pumped storage scheme, monitoring of access roads, dams, tunnels, caverns, mechanical and electrical works and construction supervision of all aspects of the project. GIBB was also responsible for the Ingula Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Programme. Other projects are  De Hoop Dam for the Department of Water Affairs in Limpopo, Metolong Dam in Lesotho and Thule Dam in Botswana which required project management, civil engineering, foundation engineering, dam engineering, tender documentation, procurement, cost estimation and construction supervision. 

 Projects in underground works include the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Tunnel in Gauteng with 15 km of underground works linking OR Tambo International Airport to Johannesburg, Sandton and Tshwane.

In keeping with the firm’s African expansion strategy, GIBB became an integral part of the R20 billion Port Harcourt Development in Nigeria; this project required development and implementation of the framework plan to integrate a new city into the existing city to house 4 million people. Responsibilities included the masterplan to provide engineering services into the existing city (transport, roads, water, storm water, waste water, social infrastructure, energy and environmental), detail design of 20,000 units, town planning and engineering services. The Port Harcourt Monorail Project, a mass transit system, was also part of the project. 

GIBB’s Power and Energy division is part of the South African Renewable Energy programme, valued at around R2 billion with responsibility for site assessment, preliminary design, preparation of tender documentation and bid preparation. The firm is also part of joint venture providing multi-disciplinary project management, engineering and design services to the Medupi and Kusile thermal generation stations which contain 4800 MW each.

GIBB is preparing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the proposed 300 MW Caledon Wind Farm in the Western Cape, as well as the EIA and EMP for a proposed conventional nuclear power station and associated infrastructure for Nuclear 1, Western Cape for Eskom. The Rural Electrification Schemes for Eskom in the Eastern Cape involving design, installation and commissioning of MV/LV and service connections to rural households is another project in GIBB’s portfolio.

In the area of Integrated Infrastructure services, GIBB was appointed lead consulting engineers for the Cosmo City Project in Johannesburg. This appointment entails the development of 11,000 houses in a mixed land use integrated township, targeting low and middle income families and is the first fully integrated housing development in South Africa, providing housing for the full economic spectrum group within the same human settlement. 

GIBB’s involvement in Aviation and Airports services has been substantial for many years. Current projects include Gulu and Kasese Airports Developments in Uganda, with  master planning, geometric design, pavement engineering, airfield navigation systems, drainage and stormwater engineering, air traffic forecasting and land use planning. Further projects are the rehabilitation of runways and taxiways of the East London Airport, the OR Tambo International Airport Midfield Development (Package 1) as well as the Airport Perimeter Security Infrastructure Project and Sikhuphe International Airport construction for the Government of Swaziland. 

 

The Railway Engineering services division was involved in the design and construction of a new commuter rail station at Moses Mabhida Commuter Station in Durban for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) as well as the Gautrain High Speed Rail in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Ekurhuleni. Further afield, GIBB is part of the Minas da Revuboe Mine Project, a Greenfield project identified as a strategic opportunity to build a world class coal mine producing coking coal and thermal coal for the global market in Mozambique.

The Roads and Highways services division are involved  in the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (N3 section 12) and rehabilitation of N11 section 6 and 7 construction, both for SANRAL, the  Bus Rapid Transit system in Gauteng and the Mantsonyane Lesobeng Road Project for the Government of Lesotho.

 

GIBB provides Traffic and Transportation services in  projects such as the Traffic Impact Study in Cosmo City, Johannesburg and the Durban Inland Intermodal Terminal and Logistics Hub for eThekwini Municipality and Transnet. Other projects include the Bus Rapid Transit Link between Soweto and Soccer City Stadium and the Central Business District in Johannesburg and the link for the Rea Vaya BRT system comprising the upgrade of 35 km of road infrastructure to cater for dedicated heavy duty bus lanes and associated infrastructure such as bus stations. GIBB is also involved in the Cape Town Inner City Transport Plan for the central area of the inner city to inform and guide decisions related to the development of the area, both currently and in the future. GIBB is undertaking the rehabilitation of roads for Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (Package 1) as well as the North East Development Corridor Master Planning of Transportation in Kraaifontein, Cape Town.

 GIBB has also excelled in Integrated Infrastructure services with projects  for the Helderberg Coastal Sewer Project in the City of Cape Town as well as the Klapperkop Bulk Water Supply Project for the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, which involves design and construction monitoring. In  the Eden Island Project in the Seychelles GIBB is designing civil infrastructure and canal edges for the island development and the N2 Gateway project in Cape Town is yet another of GIBB’s current undertakings. 

The magnificent Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town was designed and constructed in time for the 2010 World Cup, and GIBB was responsible for the electrical engineering and the award-winning stadium’s lighting design.

GIBB was part of the Transaction Advisory team to PRASA in their  Rolling Stock and Depot Procurement, a national project for the procurement of modern EMU maintenance depots and associated infrastructure valued at R123 billion.

 After 60 years of engineering excellence, GIBB is a  frontrunner in the South African engineering landscape. GIBB is determined to become a world-class consulting engineering and architectural firm. GIBB’s outlook of sustainable management focuses on the identification of current and future issues and risks, in key areas such as resource efficiency, rigorous observance of financial indicators as well as monitoring client perception to build solid relationships.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in business, both internationally and locally. The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) promotes and implements the strategic goals to address sustainable development issues, especially from an engineering perspective. The federation provides guidelines and regulations to enable best practice engineering practices which contribute to global sustainable development.

 

As an engineering and architecture service provider, GIBB addresses global sustainable development challenges  through strategic planning and a holistic approach.

The need for measured and defined sustainability inputs is clear in local tenders and international best practice guidelines governing work in Africa and beyond. The GIBB Sustainability team was established to ensure that sustainability, on a project basis, is addressed through defined  parameters, relevant indicators and practical guidelines.

 For GIBB, giving assistance is a privilege, not an obligation. Corporate Social Investment (CSI) translates into sustainable transformation, enabling those in need to contribute to themselves, their families, their communities and ultimately, their country. GIBB is fully committed to strengthening the national business landscape, and the well-being and development of people and communities. Various industry awards for GIBB’s innovative and effective initiatives are evidence of the firm’s commitment.

 GIIBB directs its efforts predominantly towards education and community development. Projects include GIBB Job Shadow Day, Winter Warmer Campaign, St Mary’s Home of Hope, Salem Baby Care Centre East London, Childhood Cancer Foundation, Refilwe Community Project, and Makaphutu Children’s Village.  

 The linkages between the National Development Plan (NDP) and GIBB’s support of government in addressing South Africa’s key sustainable development challenges are: creating jobs and livelihoods; expanding infrastructure; transitioning to a low carbon-economy; transforming urban and rural spaces; improving education and training; providing quality health care; fighting corruption and increasing accountability.

On 1 February 2016 GIBB’s Head Office relocated from Sunninghill, Johannesburg, to a larger and more contemporary building in Woodmead, Johannesburg.  Staff had outgrown the existing building as the firm further diversified its service offerings and grew in numbers.

GIBB – an exceptional South African multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm with a proud history of 60 years in the industry.


Head Office: 54 Maxwell Drive, Woodmead 2191, Johannesburg, South AfricaTel: +27 (0)11 519 4600