The local economy of Orlando in Soweto is about to benefit from the opening of the Lafarge Service Centre that will provide on-the-ground expertise, advice, insight and hands-on assistance in all building and construction projects in and around the area, at no cost.
The Lafarge Service Centre opens its doors officially on June 10, bringing the community and its construction entrepreneurs all the knowledge and expertise of this leader in the global building supply sector, coupled with the unrivalled local insight and understanding that Lafarge holds.
Tshepiso Dumasi, General Manager: Cement at Lafarge South Africa says, "This is both a business decision and a decision motivated by our determination to be more involved with the communities within which we operate. Lafarge is deeply committed to the Orlando and broader Soweto community. Our Service Centre not only brings our products into Orlando, it also brings a range of services that will streamline the building process for our customers, thus ensuring speedier and more efficient construction, and contributing significantly to both expertise and infrastructure development in Orlando."
As part of the service offering and to foster enterprise development, the company will also offer Lafarge-accredited training to local entrepreneurs in the construction and brickmaking sectors.
The Service Centre is by no means a one-off initiative. More Service Centres of this nature are in the pipeline for under-served communities throughout South Africa to boost skills, expertise and contribute to infrastructure development. The Service Centre initiative will stimulate construction and infrastructure development in these communities.
The Lafarge Service Centre brings a full suite of services and advice points, all under one roof and all in the heart of communities. Services at this pilot project include planning and design advice (to optimise site-use, human requirements of a structure, and best economies of scale); product advice (to ensure optimal materials are used and a durable and cost-effective build); financial advice (to streamline the finance application process to get projects off of plan and onto site as speedily as possible); advice on finishes and interiors; access to a pool of Lafarge-approved contractors (for the peace of mind that comes with having competent, skilled and experienced people and supervisors on site); and regulation-issues support (to help people plan and build within local authority rules and regulations).
"There are communities across South Africa that have not had access to a service like this for far too long," Dumasi adds. "We look forward to opening our doors in Orlando, and deepening an already excellent relationship with the community to grow its economy, together."
Lafarge products will continue to be readily available in large retail outlets. The company reiterates that it values the business relationship that exists between itself and its critical retail stakeholders. "People can continue to buy our products from retail outlets. However, the Orlando and surrounding communities may now also source products - and all the building and construction advice it needs - direct from Lafarge at the Orlando Service Centre," he says.
Traditional hardware and building supply retailers stand to benefit from the rollout of these Service Centres. Demand for tools, materials and so on will be directed to these businesses. This is not only an expansion of the Lafarge services and expertise, it is also an opportunity for all players in the sector to benefit from the stimulation that the Centre will bring to the industry."
The Lafarge Service Centre is located on the corner of Adams and Mofokeng Streets, Orlando, Soweto.
Lafarge South Africa is a member of LafargeHolcim, the world leader in the building materials industry. The company manufactures and supplies cement, aggregates and readymixed concrete and fly ash through its various business units.