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Ties are built on strong foundation

By Pan Zhongming | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-10-15 10:56

When Nie Tieli came to Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, for the second time in April 2003 as director-general of the Congo Co of Beijing Construction Engineering Group Co, he had an ambition to create a record in the country.

After arriving, he led his team to construct many government buildings and won the contract to build the 135-meter-high twin towers, the highest building in Brazzaville, in 2014.

The twin-tower building, known as the commercial center in Brazzaville, is the result of a government cooperation agreement signed by the Chinese and Congolese governments in 2014 when President Denis Sassou Nguesso visited Beijing.

Ties are built on strong foundation

The building is beside the Congo River, which made it difficult to lay a foundation. After studying the geological structures of the foundation bed, the company laid 431 piles with a range of 26 to 32 meters deep under the ground. Each pile is able to support 2,200 tons. Above ground, a 6-meter high basement was built.

In seven months, a solid foundation bed was constructed. In February last year, the company started to build the basement. On Aug 11 this year, the building reached its designed height.

The building was constructed while the Republic of the Congo, an oil producer in Central Africa, was suffering from an economic downturn due to the oil price drop in the international market. Some projects under construction were forced to be suspended.

While visiting the project on August 14, one day before the Republic of Congo's national day, Jean Jacques Bouya, minister of the Ministry of Land Development and Major Works, said: "If the project of the commercial center is still going on, it means other projects are also going on. The center will help foster new emerging enterprises and be a cradle for young people to start their businesses."

Fifteen floors of one of the 30-story twin towers will be used as a hotel, and the other 15 will be serviced apartments. The other tower will be used as an office building.

The building is now the highest in the capital city, according to Nie Tieli, the construction company's director-general. "Total investment for the project is $380 million, of which 15 percent is from the Congolese government and 85 percent is loans from the Export-Import Bank of China."

Simon Delair of Apave International, the French company supervising the project, says: "What impressed me is the quality of concrete used for the towers. We have labs here and held many tests. Each time, the result is like what it should get."

Now that the twin towers have reached their designed height, the project is about one-third completed, says Nie.

"We will create a record in height and quality in the construction of landmark architecture in the capital city, even though the building has nine curves of different sizes on each floor, which are difficult to build," he adds.

"We did have some difficulties as the country encountered economic problems," Nie says. "However, we must keep on because it is a cooperative project between the two governments."

Nie began working in Brazzaville 18 years ago, and in the ensuing years he led his team to be engaged in more than 20 projects in the country.

To honor his special contribution to the country, the Congolese president conferred on him the Medal of Officer on July 17 in honor of his merits to the country.

"I feel it is not only the recognition of my work here in the country, but also an honor of my team and Beijing Construction Engineering Group," he says.


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