• Aurecon

    Sidwadwa 66/11kV Substation

    Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project Summary


The ZAR 50 million project in Mthatha, South Africa, required Aurecon to improve the capacity of the municipality’s substation and increase the reliability of sustainable electricity supply to customers. The close proximity of the oil-filled equipment and firewalls in relation to high-voltage equipment and overhead power lines posed a high fire risk in the event of an oil spill, and electrical clearance issues. To optimize equipment arrangement and meet electrical clearance standards, Aurecon needed accurate 3D modeling tools that allowed the team to virtually adjust the substation layout, easily and efficiently.


Aurecon implemented an integrated design approach using Bentley Substation to produce accurate 3D images detailing direct distances from the substation structures to the overhead lines. The 3D model provided a realistic visualization allowing Aurecon to adjust the layout to compensate for incorrect electrical clearances, and design the oil spillage and drainage areas for a more effective containment and drainage system to minimize fire risk.


Using Bentley Substation, ProjectWise WorkSite, and Navigator Mobile, Aurecon reduced substation design time by 50 percent compared to traditional 2D design, while producing more accurate component lists, enabling the team to reach the tender phase within three months of the project start date. The reuse of existing foundations and steel supports combined with Bentley Substation’s ability to model equipment on existing foundations minimized on-site rework and demolition of steelwork and foundations, and reduced overall project costs.


The unique modeling capability to change points of view in Bentley Substation enabled Aurecon to move equipment to different positions, experiment with different supports, and analyze numerous design scenarios within a short time, minimizing risk and optimizing ROI. Importing the 3D CAD-designed platform and drainage system into Bentley’s collaborative modeling environment allowed Aurecon to produce a comprehensive model. The complete design was exported into an i-model to be used on-site in Navigator Mobile to confirm constructability and accuracy of design measurements, and track construction progress.

  • With Bentley’s integrated, intelligent 3D modeling software, Aurecon refurbished an existing substation in Mthatha, South Africa, improving layout and capacity to ensure uninterrupted supply to customers.
  • The interoperability and unique design capabilities of Bentley Substation allowed Aurecon to analyze various scenarios for the substation layout, minimizing fire risk and ensuring safe electrical clearances, while reducing design time by 50 percent compared to traditional 2D design.
  • Using Bentley Substation and Navigator Mobile enhanced collaboration and information mobility, enabling Aurecon to reduce overall project costs and use the Bentley 3D model throughout the construction phase of this ZAR 50 million project.
  • “Bentley 3D Substation is providing tools to design the future, today. This is done by showing the answers to the clients’ unasked questions.”

    Barry Grib Project Manager Aurecon