Oshakati is the capital city of Namibia’s Oshana region and is home to about 37 000 inhabitants. In 2008, Lithon Project Consultants (LPC) was appointed by the Town Council to work on the development of a new Oshakati Open Market to replace the existing market. According to Namibia’s NBC News, the project formed part of the council’s plan to “boost the town’s economy and promote entrepreneurs by giving them a conducive environment for trading.”
With over half of employed Namibians working in the informal sector, these small businesses play a critical role in the country’s economy. And Lithon was delighted to be part of a community-focused project that would give the city’s traders a central and modern space in which to thrive.
The plan for the new market included offices, retail stores, trading stalls, cold storage, ablution facilities, a loading zone, parking areas, and a 40m high observation tower. As a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm, LPC was tasked with providing all civil, structural, electrical, and mechanical engineering services for this exciting project. Here’s a closer look at what that entailed:
Civil and structural: LPC’s civil and structural engineering teams were involved in designing and supervising site preparation and building work. This included creating access roads and stormwater infrastructure for the new market, and constructing several buildings, including the observation tower.
Electrical: The electrical engineering team was involved in designing and supervising all electrical works for the project – including electrical reticulation, earthing and lighting, and telecom and data.
Mechanical: The mechanical engineering team was responsible for the design and construction supervision of external and internal domestic water reticulation, fire protection reticulation, and air conditioning and ventilation.
One of the market’s most striking features is its 12-storey observation tower, which enables visitors to enjoy an aerial view of the market and surrounding areas. Round in design and with a relatively limited diameter, the tower posed an interesting challenge for the LPC mechanical engineering team when it came to the elevator shaft. Nonetheless, the team was quickly able to design and successfully implement a state-of-the-art lift installation.
Named after well-known Namibian businessman Dr Frans Aupa Indongo, the new Oshakati Open Market was inaugurated by President Hage Geingob in March 2016. And it’s since had a positive impact on the community in more ways than one. For vendors, it provides modern and spacious open market stalls and demarcated trading areas, giving them an optimal environment in which to operate. For many traders, sales at the market are their main source of income – and therefore critical to their survival. And for the community, the market’s central location means they can easily and conveniently buy the essential goods they need without having to travel long distances.
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