The BWI inspects two key BESIX construction sites in Côte d'Ivoire

Together with its Belgian affiliates, the Secretary of the European Works' Council and BESIX, the Building and Woodworkers' International (BWI) inspected two key construction sites in Côte d'Ivoire: Tower F and the Exhibition Centre. These visits took place on 2 and 3 December 2021 as part of the reference group’s monitoring of the International Framework Agreement.

Construction of the Tower F  began in autumn 2020 and is expected to be completed before the elections in late 2024. BESIX and PFO Africa, the project's developer and designer, are partnering to build the tower. At a height of 421m, it will be the tallest tower in Africa, with 75 floors of dedicated office space, located in the heart of the city.

The Exhibition Centre covers more than 55 hectares, stands 37m high and has a maximum capacity of 11,000 visitors. It will have a convention centre, a parking area and various exhibition halls. The shell was completed in five and a half months, in preparation for the installation of the steel frame and roofing/cladding before the end of August 2024.

During the period of peak activity last December, there were more than 250 workers on site, mainly local Ivorians, Belgians and some French, as well as posted workers from Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Niger, India, the Philippines and Senegal.

The reference group was pleased to be able to talk freely with the workers and with the few young women employed on site, including an architect, a site manager and a number of health and safety ambassadors. It is interesting to note that these workers are young, with workers in their 30s accounting for 29 percent of the workforce and workers in their 50s for only 5 percent.

BESIX ambassadors are present on each construction site to remind workers of health and safety rules. On-site signs display the ground rules as well as the International Framework Agreement.

For the Exhibition Centre, two subcontractors will work on the metal superstructure (spaceframe): LANIK (a Spanish company) for the assembly of the floor elements, and Sofima (a French-Moroccan company) for the roofing and cladding. This work will take place between January and August 2022.

To date, there have been no fatal accidents but there have been two accidents resulting in sick leave. The first was in September 2021, when a worker employed by BESIX was hit in the stomach by a rebar, though it didn’t pierce his skin; and the second in October 2021, when a worker employed by a subcontractor was injured when he fell from a concrete pump after a water tank fell.

The workers eat their meals and take siestas in the shade, out of the high heat and humidity.

Due to the distance between the site and workers’ homes and traffic problems, BESIX has set up a staff transport system.

A debriefing meeting was held to discuss the various points of interest and to obtain further clarifications.