95 Years of Consulting

95 Years of Consulting

Publication: IMIESA
Issue: September 2016

Transportation, water and power are key national priorities – dovetailing with core socio-economic objectives – and areas where Knight Piésold Consulting leads in the infrastructure sphere.

Almost 10 decades have passed since Knight Piésold Consulting was founded on 21 April 1921, and the legend continues. It’s proud history of excellence began in its home base of South Africa, which has subsequently expanded over the years to cover most of the developed and developing world, through the establishment of a series of global offices.

Founder Dr Francis Edgar Kanthack retired at the age of 78, in 1950, and would have been proud and amazed at the progress achieved by the group in subsequent years. Today’s focus is on mining, power, water resources, infrastructure, and oil and gas.

“This wealth of experience has been exponentially expanded in terms of the skills base through the recruitment of engineers, engineering technicians and scientists that work as integrated project teams to plan and execute just about any engineering challenge in the infrastructure field, together with an evaluation of their actual and potential environmental impacts,” says Vishal Haripersad, managing director, Knight Piésold.

The company is the oldest consulting firm in South Africa, and one of the longest serving on the African continent, which provides a unique perspective of the evolving consulting engineering landscape.

Early clients included South African Railways, Victoria Falls Power Company, Electricity Supply Commission (Escom, now Eskom), Anglo American Corporation, Industrial Steel Corporation, various municipalities, and other industrial and mining companies.

The 1960s and 70s saw a global boom period, and Knight Piésold was at the forefront, expanding into the UK, Canada, Australia and South America. At every stage, though, Haripersad says the group has been firmly entrenched at home and the company remains 100% locally owned, and the benchmark for its global operations. Quality assurance is governed by ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 accreditation and standards.

“In a nutshell, we’ve weathered the storms of the past 95 years and are ready for the next era, based on our solid project track record and our extensive experience in public and private sector consulting. In fact, we’re ‘95 years young’; our journey has only just begun,” asserts Haripersad.

Power generation, particularly for hydroelectric schemes, was a focus from inception and remains a key specialisation. Earlier examples include the Victoria Falls scheme, originally commissioned around 1938 (at just 1 MW initially) and serving Zambia and Zimbabwe, and, more recently, Eskom’s 1332 MW Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme.

The thermal coal market is an allied focus, with Knight Piésold appointed as design consultants on aspects of Eskom’s Kusile and Medupi greenfield power station roll-outs. These projects will serve South Africa’s evolving industrialisation needs.


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