Without doubt the construction sector has witnessed enormous changes over the past 3 decades, with new attitudes towards design, the environmental impact of projects and technological advances all playing their part in an ultra-competitive environment, that has had to ride out the maelstrom of the global economic crisis.
In Zambia, construction has continued to play a leading part in the country’s economic development, with Flame Group one of the sector’s leaders.
Part of Flame Group’s success story has been down to its willingness to embrace technology, as highlighted by the company’s vision: “To continue expanding our role as a market leader in the construction industry by adopting the latest technology, high production and cost-efficient techniques and building relationships with our clients and employees based on performance, trust and confidence in our ability.”
At the helm of Flame Group, is Mohamed Salama, Chairman and CEO of a group of 6 wholly-owned subsidiaries: Flame Promotions and Procurements Ltd.; Flame Egypt Ltd.; Flame Works and Supply Ltd.; Flame Buildings and Renovations Ltd.; FlameCrete and Flame Plant Hire.
“I believe in teaching a man to fish rather than give him the fish to allow him sustain his livelihood. This partnership exposes my fellow Zambians to new processes and standards, and it empowers the team with knowledge that will serve them for the rest of their lives,” Salama states in the company’s 2014 Company Profile.
Partnership has become an important term over the years for Flame Group, a point reflected in the company’s website:
“Flame is a market leader in the construction industry and can translate its 60 years of experience in construction management across a multitude of sectors, its partnership with Lafarge and its exclusive distributorship agreements into the highest quality work for you, the client.
“Flame’s partnership with Lafarge, Caparol, Knauf and other internationally recognized building materials manufacturers transforms our capacity in order to enable us to provide our clients with cutting edge technology and professional, on time project completion and best practice.
“The collaboration benefits not only the clients, but also industry standards, by implementing state-of-the-art technology and best practice.”
The partnership with Lafarge has resulted in Flame operating the Zambian construction industry’s first ever mobile batch plant concrete solution, replacing the traditional concept of centralized batching plant and ready mix transit mixer delivery with the FlameCrete Mobile Batch Plant/Volumetric Mixer concept.
According to the company: “The partnership will kick off in June when two mobile batch plant units from Kimera of Italy will arrive in the country to begin a process which Lafarge will not only supervise but for which it will also supply all the concrete ingredients – sand, aggregate and cement.
Salama said at the time that the new partnership would provide contractors with the best concrete quality and supply from June 2014, the start of operations:
“We shall start the operation in June with the commissioning of 2 units. More units will be added on a monthly basis until full capacity to cover Lusaka and the Copperbelt is reached by December 2014.
“Currently, contractors and end-users suffer from poor time delivery, poor design mixes, poor concrete workability due to transit mixers carrying wet concrete being delayed in traffic, and they most probably do not receive the quantity of supplies paid for.
“The technology underpinning this Lafarge/FlameCrete partnership will provide the Zambian market with fresh workable concrete with the right design mix and in the correct quantities since, rather than receiving transported premixed concrete, our volumetric mixers/computer controlled mobile batch plants will carry and deliver the materials in dry form and water will be added on site for on-site mixing,” he added.
Concrete testing is of course an essential element to construction the world over, with testing mandatory in many areas of the world and construction companies compelled to provide
documentation of their testing and results at the request of governments or consultancy agencies.
“It is hoped that these safe standards will be adopted and put into Law in Zambia in order to protect the Zambian public from unsafe and dangerous structures mushrooming all over the country,” the company states.
“Priority access to Lafarge cement using various cement strengths and grades, as well as priority access to the company’s aggregates, will result in uniform consistent supply.
“The computer controlled mixing operation installed in every mobile batch plant, backed by the Lafarge concrete testing facility and technical know-how and single source of raw materials, will guarantee high quality and consistent supply all the time,” adds Mr. Salama, explaining that the mobile batch plant concept will ensure that the exact quantities ordered are delivered.
“The advantages of the mobile batch plant concept against the traditional centralized system are numerous, as illustrated by benchmarking, which identifies why Lafarge and FlameCrete opted for this new technology for the Zambian market as a solution to the current market grievances,” the company describes further.
According to the website, Flame employed approximately 480 Zambians last year, with the company’s strategic growth plans for 2015 aiming to increase that figure to 1,000.
An excellent track record on high profile projects will play an important role in securing new business. Flame boasts just that, having worked on projects such as the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, where the company installed ceilings and flooring during 2013.
The company also developed 5 showrooms and warehousing for Diamonds Of Lusaka Ltd., a shopping mall in Kitwe, for Akrasi Properties Ltd., offices for Nyimba Filling Station Ltd., a new head office for Christopher Russell Cook & Co. in Lusaka, hostels, a library, theatre and lecture rooms for the Robert Makasa University, a 5-star Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka for Hotelier Ltd., 12 villas for Mpundu Trust Ltd., a main branch in Lusaka for Finance Bank Zambia Ltd. and head offices for Pepsi/Varun Beverages.
The scope of these projects and the diversity demonstrates the development taking place within Zambia – and of course the versatility of Flame Group.
The business continues to excel and look ahead to 2016. Final word goes to the website, as it reflects upon the contribution of its leader:
“The quality of projects completed under Mr. Salama’s vision and guidance is testimony not only to his ability but also his foresight into spearheading a standard of quality in the region. Thanks to Mr. Salama’s leadership, Flame is synonymous with quality control, commitment to excellence, attention to detail and after-sales client service. His thorough understanding of working conditions in sub-Saharan Africa has lent itself to on-time, on-budget performance by enabling him to recognise understanding challenges and take a proactive approach to addressing them.
“Through his commitment to clients, Mr. Salama has earned a reputation as a reliable partner with the necessary technical arsenal, experience in fulfilling complex, crucial tasks and ability to bring together a team of motivated and highly qualified employees to ensure the delivery of projects.”