Wandile Sihlobo opens the new Chemuniqué building

Raymond Wagener, site agent for Bantry Construction, with Dr Peter Plumstead, Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, Terry Wiggill, and Gabriella Coter, the architecht from Empowered Spaces Architechts.
Raymond Wagener, site agent for Bantry Construction, with Dr Peter Plumstead, Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, Terry Wiggill, and Gabriella Coter, the architect from Empowered Spaces Architects.

Strategically positioned in the Lanseria Corporate Estate, the new Chemuniqué building embodies the passion and commitment of this company to both their clients and staff. The professional teams of architects and subcontractors worked together to produce a building representative of and inspired by Chemuniqué’s culture and ethos, and a strong relationship was formed between these teams and the Chemuniqué team throughout the building process.

“Time waits for no man and, since breaking ground on the new Chemuniqué building in January 2019, the construction journey was no different”, says Raymond Wagener, site agent for Bantry Construction.” Bantry put their A-team on the job and used the knowledge and expertise of Fernando Da Silva, the financial prowess of quantity surveyor, Colin Erikson, and a lot of hard work from the subcontractors and the team on the ground. “In what feels like the blink of an eye, the past few months have flown by and with it the end of the construction of Chemuniqué’s new home”, says Raymond.

As with any project there were challenges and difficulties along the way, but Raymond believes this is what makes the journey interesting. “These difficulties are only surmountable through the commitment and contributions of a strong team’” he says, “and every professional meeting with this team was a positive experience where all the professionals gave their input and guidance – and added just a sprinkle of pressure.” He laughs: “I think every site progress meeting ended with Terry asking me if we would finish on time, but this concern came second to the construction of a secret wine cellar. Unfortunately, I had to disappoint Terry and put the storm water tank in the cellar’s place.”

The modern yet practical office and warehouse combination for the new Chemuniqué building was designed by Gabriella Coter of Empowered Spaces Architechts. “Open-plan areas and shared office spaces allow teams to work closely together, while a number of entertainment and pause areas allow for larger client and company meetings,” she explains. “Special attention was placed on the laboratory facility, with functionality and efficiency being a key aspect from the onset of the project. With invaluable guidance and input from the entire team, we were able to achieve this goal.”

On 28 October, Chemuniqué invited friends, family, clients, and partners to join them in celebrating the opening of their new facilities. The media was invited to an exclusive pre-event where they had some one-on-one time with the team leads, followed by a tour of the new laboratory facilities.

After an introduction and official handover of the new Chemuniqué building from Bantry Construction and Empowered Spaces Architects, Terry Wiggill, managing director of Chemuniqué, started the formal proceedings by explaining the importance of the Chemuniqué WHY. Between a few personal messages of congratulations by Bill Scrimgeour, chief executive officer at Zinpro Corporation, and Steve Murphy, head of reinsurance at Santam Re., the presentations were all forward-looking.

Albert Sargsyan, business director at Dupont Industrial Biosciences, told the audience a bit more about the DuPont future, followed by Tim Horne, Zinpro’s sales manager for Europe and South Africa, who spoke about the future  of animal agriculture in general. Dr Peter Plumstead, technical director of Chemuniqué, made it personal by explaining Chemuniqué’s passion and commitment to research and development. Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), wrapped up the formal presentations with his take on the future of agriculture in South Africa, before guests were invited outside for the official opening of the facility and the cocktail celebration in the warehouse.

“Bantry feel proud to add another jewel into our construction crown portfolio and that we were able to contribute to the world-class building that the Chemuniqué team now get to call their home away from home!” says Raymond, and Gabriella agrees. “Empowered Spaces Architects are excited to add Chemuniqué’s new facility to our portfolio and feel honoured to have played a part of their future growth,” she says. “We wish them a successful future and hope to continue the relationship for years to come.”

“As the physical construction phase of this project draws to a close, I have come to realise that our contribution is not now, nor has it ever been, dependent on the infrastructure of buildings, the inner workings of air conditioners, service delivery by Eskom, or the fibre lines beneath the ground. It is the capacity of the Chemuniqué team and our ability to meet both challenges and opportunities head that facilitate our impact in the supply chain of food production. Throughout the recent challenging days of building and moving, I have become more convinced than ever before that we have a team of substance and passion that is ready to do their part in improving the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of food production in our region.”

– Terry Wiggill

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