CSV Construction, one of the Western Cape's biggest diversified civil engineering companies is celebrating 22 years of excellence this year. The three founding members took a leap into the uncertain world of private enterprise, and have since grown to be leaders of the industry. The company was launched by Alex von Klopmann, fellow engineering student at Stellenbosch University John Cullum, and Johan Scriven.
The trio - whose initials produced the name of their company, CSV - set up shop close to Ceres in a building that previously belonged to the Department of Water Affairs and was known in the town as The Whitehouse. Alex, a structural engineer, and Johan, the infrastructure specialist, both commuted from the Helderberg.
At the time, John, who was trained as a roads engineer, lived in Cape Town. In addition to holding a key position in the company today, John is well-known in development circles and has created significant opportunities that have established CSV Construction as a leader in its field.
When it started out however, the business was a small contractor with three bakkies and 15 workers. Its turnover hovered around R40 000 per month.
Today it is the biggest private specialist in civil concrete structures in the Western Cape, among the leading providers of civil infrastructure services. It is regarded as one of the top waste water treatment works contractors.
Its combined services make it one of the province's top five companies in the industry.
CSV Construction has a staff of some 600 – among them professionals including engineers and quantity surveyors.
"Our diversified interests makes us a strong player in this industry," says Alex. "We could not have achieved this without exceptional staff and a dedicated administration team, which is headed up by Loretha Erasmus."
Soon after they started, the company won a major tender in Strand – to provide infrastructure at what was then Lover's Lane (now Strand Dune Park). While the work continued in Ceres, a CSV Construction office was opened in the coastal town, in De Kock Street.
The company's specialist concrete structure division was launched in 1995 – a year that also saw the company diversifying into townhouse development in Ceres - when CSV Construction was contracted by the Winelands District Council to build Jamestown's first reservoir.
In early 2000, the concrete division was bolstered with the appointment of Alex Pospech, whose hands-on approach has created an exceptional unit geared for growth.
The business expanded on the back of numerous projects, among them a contract in Gabon in 2000/01. The bulk of its work however, has been in the Western Cape - from Saldanha to Mossel Bay.
When the industrial development got underway alongside Cape Town International Airport in the mid-1990s, CSV Construction became a key player. It was here that it became involved in its single biggest contract - the construction of an aviation centre for ExecuJet. The construction value alone ran to R108-million.
The growth of the enterprise a new centre of operations and it was in 2007 the company established its Head Office in Somerset West, off Old Main Road near Firgrove – closer to home for most of their employees. Of its five contract managers, four live in the Helderberg.
The civil engineering infrastructure division is represented by director Hannes Coetzee who returned to SA a few years ago from Singapore, where he worked as an engineer. Under his leadership, the unit has become a formidable force in its own right.
According to Alex, a cornerstone of CSV Construction is the relationship it has developed over the past 18 years with its equipment suppliers and merchant retailers. "We appreciate the support and see much business as a result, for the future," he declares.