Showcase Your Architectural Prowess In Our December DIGITAL Issue

SA Builder – Architectural Feature – December 2019

The December 2019 digital issue of SA Builder will feature Architecture and Design – of any category or type – from residential to industrial to commercial.

Be sure not to miss this opportunity to share and showcase your project/s in this important edition which will also be distributed to our online readership of over 7 000 readers.

For details contact Wendy Ansell on 082 561 2232, or wendy@sabuilder.coza

Content and material deadline is 05 November 2019.

We look forward to your images and detailed description of your project.



Shaun Forster



Rich Architects

Gareth Griffiths

CMAI Architects

Garden Cities Cape Town, Centenary 1919-2019

Garden Cities Cape Town, Centenary 1919-2019

Garden Cities was established, and built its first suburb, Pinelands, in the early 20th century under vastly different circumstances from the present and now continues to lead the way in the provision of housing in post-millennial South Africa.

The non-profit group has established 17 suburbs in and around Cape Town and is currently working on three of the biggest human settlements surrounding the city – Sunningdale on the West Coast, Pinehurst in the north, bordering Durbanville, and Greenville, in Fisantekraal, where housing is being provided across the entire economic spectrum.

The suburbs are developed in their entirety and include infrastructure such as schools, shopping centres, medical facilities, business premises and even a dog park.

Sean Stuttaford, Chairman of Garden Cities

Established by a Cape Town businessman Richard Stuttaford in 1919, Garden Cities is still under the leadership of the Stuttaford family and the current Chairman, Sean, is the great-grandson of the founder.

Jannie Isaacs, Eamonn Stuttaford (Vice-Chairman), Tony Marsh, Myrtle
February, Michael Stuttaford, Sean Stuttaford (Chairman), Pieter Bairnsfather
Cloete, Karen Milan (Group CFO), John Matthews (Group CEO), Vic Christian,
Peter Heeger, Taction Mafatle, Justin White


Against the backdrop of Table Mountain, Sunningdale, Garden Cities’ West Coast flagship suburb has grown steadily since it was established over 20 years ago. In line with Garden Cities’ planning principles, facilities are continually added to meet the needs of residents as the development expands. They include shopping centres, a major hospital, schools, sports club, urban open spaces – and even a now-famous dog park. Sunningdale, is currently one of three suburbs being developed simultaneously by Garden Cities.  The others are Pinehurst near Durbanville, and Greenville, at Fisantekraal, to the north of the city.

Garden Cities was the inspiration of British urban planner Sir Ebenezer Howard in response to the appalling conditions in which many English people lived at the start of the 20th century.

Shaheem Kader (Contracts Manager), Karen Milan (Group CFO), John Matthews (Group
CEO), Leon Fredericks (Group Manager, Property and Logistics), Renier Smith (Group Manager, Engineering and Planning) Sitting: Portia Cleinwerck (Head Accountant)

He proposed that new towns should be planned to provide pleasant living environments, public parks, adequate space for schools, playing fields, hospitals, churches, shops, and most significantly, businesses and light industry to employ residents of the towns.

His first town was Letchworth Garden City which was built near London from 1907, followed by Welwyn Garden City in 1917.


Garden Cities in South Africa started on June 19, 1919 when the government granted 365 morgen of the Uitvlugt forest reserve to the Garden Cities board of trustees, chaired by Richard Stuttaford, and made up of businessmen and senior civil servants. Set-up capital of £10 000 was donated by the chairman. The first house was built in Pinelands, in 1922.

The company grew into a sizable organisation with a number of subsidiaries, in order for it to generate sufficient funding for development, In recent years, profits have been used to build school halls and to provide science laboratories in under-resourced schools in the Western Cape. Garden Cities has a long history of providing bursaries to university students, as well as annually making large donations to various charities.

But when the time came to venture further from the shadow of the mountain, it was Garden Cities that made one of the boldest moves into uncharted territory

Garden Cities has been pushing the boundaries, both physically and metaphorically, for one hundred years. It has created serene, well-ordered communities in places where others had not thought to go.

And as the years passed, and social conditions changed, it was sometimes ahead of the times and at others it adapted quickly to accommodate the unexpected.

When the time came to venture further from the shadow of the mountain, it was Garden Cities that made one of the boldest moves into uncharted territory.

Garden Cities has stuck close to its roots, which today makes it one of the rare family companies that still has members of its board of directors bearing the name of the founder, three generations later.

Richard Stuttaford’s action is the stuff of legends. It launched one of the most successful mass residential community development projects in South Africa.

In its centenary year, Garden Cities has a record of having established 17 suburbs in Cape Town and has been responsible for the building of more than 20 400 homes. They cross the entire economic spectrum from starter homes, for those who have never owned a property, to houses for middle-income families in immaculately structured urban environments.

Richard Stuttaford was fired up by the prospect of applying the principles of Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities movement, in South Africa. His was a broad-ranging proposal that, following the principles of the then still fledgling UK Garden Cities, would take developments to the edge of Cape Town’s urban core, and create independent commercial and residential environments. It was Stuttaford who urged the government to change its attitude to mass housing.


The board took a strategic decision to ensure that, while Garden Cities would continue to generate revenue from its core operations, it would re-direct a portion of its income to the needs of disadvantaged communities in Cape Town

In 2005 Sean Stuttaford, while remaining a Garden Cities director, moved to Johannesburg where he saw a new integrated development called Cosmo City. It was this town that stimulated a new vision of where Garden Cities should go.

The result was Greenville Garden City, an integrated town near Durbanville. The planning phase of this development took seven years and R20 million to get off the ground. The project included extensive research as well as investment in new building technologies which became necessary to deliver a Garden Cities product at an affordable price.

The strategy of the board is that Garden Cities, being a not-for-profit company, needs to play a role in researching, testing and developing new building technologies. As a developer, Garden Cities can bring these innovations to the building and construction industry, and if viable, provide a platform to launch them.

Greenville is a huge undertaking and thought to be the only public-private partnership (PPP) in the country where low cost government housing is being delivered on private land.

It’s not likely that Garden Cities, on its own, will be able to develop or deliver on future demands. It will need partners who can assist in achieving the vision.

Sean says that it is this broad wealth of experience and skill which has been the hallmark of the type of directors Garden Cities has been privileged to attract over the past century and which has ensured its success. It is his hope that future generations will apply the same level of care when appointing people to the board.

He also pays tribute to John Matthews, who arrived at Garden Cities as a young man from university, and eventually became the obvious choice for CEO of the company – a position he holds now in a group capacity that covers both Garden Cities and its construction arm Pinelands Development Company (PDC).

We could not have done it without John,’ says Sean. ‘He implemented the vision.’

Greenville is a huge undertaking and thought to be the only public-private partnership (PPP) in the country where low cost government housing is being delivered on private land

John Matthews and Tony Marsh took over the project. One of the first needs that had to be identified was a building material and method that would both accelerate delivery and provide all the quality elements needed for the houses.

This was found in an Australian company called Benex, that provides revolutionary building material and methods that have been adopted in the construction of the houses at Greenville.

As a result of the success of the materials, Garden Cities established a South African arm of the company, 60% owned by Garden Cities and 40% owned by Benex Australia, with Tony Marsh as managing director of the South African company.

Pinehurst, Garden Cities northern flagship suburb

Throughout its history, Garden Cities has honoured its mission to promote social upliftment through the delivery of quality affordable homes in safe healthy environments. In the light of challenges facing society this century, Garden Cities has committed, as far as possible, to ensuring that its property developments are built to not only be resilient to current and future environmental risks but, more importantly, to giving their residents the opportunity to make daily changes to restore and maintain the balance between man and nature.

Garden Cities’ vision is to build homes, amenities and entire suburbs that are water sensitive, powered by clean renewable energy, and the use and disposal of materials with minimal impact on natural systems.

The Garden Cities Green Building engagement programme involves government, community and private sectors learning and working together to achieve more than any one sector could achieve on its own.

Adapted for SA Builder with kind permission from Garden Cities and author of the book “Garden Cities Cape Town, Centenary 1919-2019”, Neill Hurford

Photos: Andrew Brown

144 Oxford Poised For Completion In November

144 Oxford Poised For Completion In November


South African Builder speaks to the Senior Project Architectural Technologist of Paragon Architects, Taz-Wynne Superman, lead architect on the project.

Conceived by Growthpoint Properties in 2015, this prestigious and iconic R1.2 billion 36 700 m² premium-grade 144 Oxford Road office development in Rosebank, Johannesburg, is aimed at capitalising on the demand for office space in the popular precinct.

Growthpoint appointed Paragon Architects South Africa to bring this architectural dream to reality. Featuring two extended office towers connected by a central atrium, this striking development consists of nine occupiable floors and six basement levels for parking. Taz-Wynne and his team of seven architects worked closely with the client for some six years – finalising the design through a range of iterations, complicated along the way with changes in tenant and the ironing out of logistical challenges before construction could begin.

We are very proud as a team to have achieved all of our design objectives to the client’s satisfaction,” says Taz-Wynne. “Our ongoing interaction with all members of the Professional Team was of the highest level, with sharing of ideas and resolving challenges together enabling the project to be ready for hand-over at the end of this month [First week of November 2019].”

A primary feature of this striking building is the imposing central atrium which interconnects the two office towers. A 25 m steel girder spans the top of the atrium, creating a massive open area free of columns. The girder also supports the glass façade by means of steel beams spanning the same length of the girder, onto which the glass is clipped. As space is a crucial element of the overall aesthetic of the building unwanted columns would detract completely from the design criteria of the atrium.

Every part of the building has performance glass of different types, based on the planning of the building” explains Taz-Wynne. “On the northern side, for example, there are three types of double-glazed glass systems: 50T, which is a more clear lower performance glass which doesn’t reflect much sunlight; then a Cool-lite ST120 glass – a higher performing glass which is very reflective allowing very little heat through; followed by a Solar E plus grey, darker black-grey glass – slightly less performing which, being dark in colour, attracts more heat.”

The scope of Paragon’s design includes all common interior floor space of the building, including the atrium, bathrooms and common passageways. Each tenant is free to design their own interior space to while following a Tenant Criteria Document provided by the property owner.

As tiles play an important role in the interior design, only the best Italian tiles, being world leaders in this field, were selected for this purpose.

144 Oxford is well positioned with Gautrain nearby and directly opposite the Rosebank Shopping Mall and The Zone, enabling refreshing walking in an urban environment and enjoyment of its retail space. Dedicated traffic lights opposite the entrance to 144 Oxford encourage pedestrian access.

On construction challenges, Taz-Wynne points out that logistics played a key role as no lay down area was available on the site. This meant that all façades were pre-fabricated off-site and were then installed immediately on delivery, which was tightly planned and coordinated and thus required no storage on site.

Initially the building was designed for a 4-Star Green Star design. However as construction progressed it soon became clear that a 5-Star Green Star Design Certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) was quite feasible as the design was nine points ahead of the GBCSA requirement for a 5-Star rating. 144 Oxford currently awaits confirmation of this rating application from GBCSA. A four star design rating was achieved.

Façades, blinds, electrical systems, lights with motion detectors, recirculation of radiant heat and harvesting of rain water are all primary contributors to the 5-Star Green Star rating – as is the planting of indigenous plants in the deceptively large garden area, creating a very important aspect of the exciting vibe of the building as a whole..

The roof is a functional combination comprising a flat concrete roof housing mechanical plant – with air circulation going through a second “soft” roof above the main roof. In addition to two full backup generators have been installed to keep the entire building fully operational during power outages.

The six basement areas accommodate over 1 500 sizeable parking bays and encourage green star points through features such as bicycle storage racks, motor-cycle bays, showers and change rooms..

The entire Paragon team, contractors and the main contractor – Tiber WBHO JV – are extremely pleased with the outcome of this complex project, on time, and ready for hand-over to client in a few weeks’ time [beginning of November 2019],” concludes Taz-Wynne.


Construction of 144 Oxford was undertaken by the Tiber WBHO Joint Venture (JV).

South African Builder also conducted a Q&A session with JV partner, Tino Pereira, Director of WBHO Building North in order to gain further insight to the construction process on the project, its logistics, challenges and solutions:

SA Builder: Tiber Construction and WBHO have built significant synergy over time to complete projects such as this. Could you describe briefly how the teams have forged such strong and effective operational relationships.

Tino: The successful partnership goes back to 2011 when we completed our first JV Project, Alexandra Forbes. The like-mindedness of senior management and the culture of excellence in delivery of the respective company’s employees have made us a formidable leading JV in the industry – this was a large contributing factor to the initial success. In creating a strong history of successfully completed mega projects, the relationship has only grown from strength to strength. A further contributing factor was the decision to fully integrate skilled staff and management resources on the JV’s, thus creating a team atmosphere rather than unhealthy competition, ensuring that we are all united under one common goal: the success of the Team. Team building sessions are held periodically to further integrate and strengthen the good team work flow ethic. Mutual respect between individuals has been encouraged and cultivated from higher management filtering down to the guys on the ground.

SA Builder: In the case of 144 Oxford, what skills and capability strengths did your company bring to the project? And outline the general modus operandi between the two companies in this JV project. 

Tino: Both companies added to the skills and resource pool, while one company may have had a team member more experienced in management aspects, the other company would complement this by providing experience in a more technical role. Past experience from other projects on the successes and failures was instilled into the team. We both believe in the integration of experienced, very skilled tradesmen with that of dynamic youngsters which has created a very well balanced team at 144 Oxford.

SA Builder: What were your primary challenges encountered during construction? In particular the steel structures and installation of the façades.

Tino: The Atrium was highlighted at the outset as probably the most challenging aspect of the project and to this end the JV encouraged the professional team to fast track the procurement and the shop detailing of the intricate design elements. After numerous design and buildability sessions, the erection of the steel girder requiring special road closures and regular interim inspections to ensure the steel work performed to design criteria. The complexity of the transfer structure on the ground floor required close coordination between the structural design team and the architect – this proved to be key to the successful buildability of this level. Other key elements requiring close buildability sessions were the sloped façade on the noses.

SA Builder: Did you experience logistical challenges of any sort?

Tino: The proximity of the project to the busy Oxford road, restricted access on Tottenham road imposed by the Melrose Residency Association (MRA) and the sensitivity of having surrounding schools in the area required close cooperation between all parties to ensure deliveries were scheduled to a strict timetable and adhered to.

SA Builder: Were you able to accommodate all the architect’s requirements? To what extent were adjustments required and in which disciplines? 

Tino: Some of the architectural challenges on this project were quite unique, as each project designed by Paragon is not like any other in the industry or even like any other they’ve designed. Most of their projects simulate futuristic shapes and concepts. Some internal design details being quite unique and out of the norm require regular workshops and buildability sessions and normally achieve the right end goal set out by Paragon.

SA Builder: Were you affected at all by late re-design requirements by the client?

Tino: The project started out as an hotel and office development at the end of 2017, but soon after taking site hand-over the hotel was removed from the scheme and replaced with offices, which required a complete redesign of the building. The professional team managed to mitigate some delays by working fervently through the builders break to enable a restart towards the end of January 2018.

All images: Paragon Architects



It’s a time of year when exactly what we should be focusing on is not immediately apparent. We’re still stuck with the same preoccupations that we carried over from 2018 – none of them in any way inspiring. This year has brought little by way of solutions.

But now we have begun to pass through a season of other essential things, like conferences and award ceremonies. Our own conference was a stimulating event and I hope we’re still somewhat revved up by the resolves we all made there in a spirit of renewal.

John Matthews, President, Master Builders South Africa

There are also some ironies like the KZN 2019 Awards for Excellence in Construction and the SAISC Steel Awards 2019 this month in counterpoint to the news that companies in the steel industry have reported 10 000 jobs lost in the past five years due to a number of negative factors that don’t seem to have any prospect of going away. Like cheap steel imports at below the cost of local production, and very low demand. This was underlined by the announcement of the voluntary liquidation of downstream steel supplier Robor. 

Paolo Trinchero, CEO of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction is reported as saying that the job losses have been predominantly suffered by employees of only five or six companies. That more retrenchments are planned is not really news, as the steel industry has been in decline since 2014. By now, it may have passed its tipping point, is an opinion he’s put on record. 

Another irony, related to the woes of the steel industry (not the only one to offer bad news) is that President Ramaphosa’s controversial speech of dreams that envisaged a new smart city and bullet train for South Africa at the start of the year, could be the way to go.

Quoted in the Daily Maverick, Trinchero says: ‘What the sector needs is positive sentiment and engineering projects it can get its teeth into. But how do you do this when there is no strength on the balance sheets of state-owned enterprises? You build a bullet train to Durban, Cape Town and Harare; expand the Gautrain; get trucks off the roads. Government will not need to finance this, it will have to facilitate the process, but then it can step out of the way. What we need is leadership that dreams.’ He is yet to explain this in detail.

And the outlook for yet another sector looks bleak with the announcement that the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) is preparing to enter dormancy.

According to an Engineering News report, ITC-SA General Manager Amanda Obbes says the resolution comes as a major blow, not only to the Institute as a critical and essential custodian of the sector, but to its members who deliver world-class timber constructionroofing and decking. ‘Without an entity enforcing high standards and protecting the consumer, the future of quality timber roofing and construction in South Africa is uncertain,’ she says.

So, it’s not really surprising that the FNB/BER building confidence index during the third quarter of this year stood at what was reported to be a 20-year low of 22, from 29 in the second quarter, indicating that close to 80% of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions.

That probably sums it up.


SAISC Steel Awards 2019 Showcases Its Innovative Mettle In Steel Construction

SAISC Steel Awards 2019 Showcases Its Innovative Mettle In Steel Construction

10 October 2019: Northgate Dome (Johannesburg) / Venue D’Aria, Durbanville (Cape Town) / Mount Edgecombe Country Club (KZN)

Adversity often brings opportunities with it. South Africa’s steel industry has been going through a period of severe challenges, affecting the entire supply chain and seeing the most serious contraction for many years in the sector.

Despite the prevailing ‘doom and gloom’, however, the South African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) has remained true to its role of industry champion during this challenging time, focusing on innovation, positivity and creativity – particularly with regards to this year’s Steel Awards.

This approach has borne fruit, with the SAISC 2019 Steel Awards achieving record entries and sponsorship – as well as growing the diversity of the entries received.

This year the SAISC received a record-breaking number of 94 entries for the awards as opposed to 70 in 2018 and 59 in 2017. In addition, sponsorship of the Steel Awards has grown by remarkable 40% from 10 sponsors in 2018 to 14 this year.

This is according to Paolo Trinchero, CEO of the SAISC, who explains that the marked increase in sponsorship was largely due to a restructuring of the Awards sponsorship options, which made these more affordable and accessible to potential sponsors.

Paolo Trinchero, CEO,  Southern African Institute of Steel Construction

Another important factor which definitely contributed to the increased entries and sponsorships in 2019, is the very intensive and dynamic communications campaigns undertaken to market the Awards – across all platforms from social media to online, print and broadcast media – which also significantly increased the overall visibility and traction of the Awards throughout industry,” Trinchero adds.

This year, we can really say that a wide range of stakeholders in the greater built environment – from architects and engineers to riggers, welders and even university students – actively participated in Steel Awards and have started to recognise the pivotal importance of steel. We are particularly pleased with the greater diversity of entries received this year,” he remarks.

The aim of the Awards is to highlight the use of steel in the built environment. “The annual Steel Awards are intended to create a sense of inclusivity and community and to resonate with a wider audience including a wider representation of gender, generational and ethnic groups,” explains SAISC Chairperson Nicolette Skjoldhammer.

Overall Steel Awards 2019 winner and winner of the SAFAL Steel Innovation category, the Durban Christian Centre

This aim was brilliantly realised by the entry of the overall Steel Awards 2019 winner and winner of the SAFAL Steel Innovation category, the Durban Christian Centre. This building was commissioned to replace an earlier church which had burnt down, and is in the shape of a large dome. Here, the innovation lay in the geometry of the large roof arches, inclined in different planes which provide support for the roof; as well as the very tight site access.

The Durban Christian Centre is a very bold project. For the engineer to realise the form the architect envisioned must have been very complex,” Skjoldhammer continues. The nominator and structural engineer was NJV Consulting, the architect, Elphick Proome Architecture and the steelwork contractor Impact Engineering.

Overall winner, NJV-Consulting for the Durban Christian Centre

The members of the Durban Christian Centre project team epitomise all the aspects of diversity which the SAISC is striving for within the steel industry, all working in harmony to achieve an amazingly creative and innovative outcome,” she adds.

Other category winners are as follows:

  • In the Light Steel Framed Building category the winner was the Protea Glen Secondary School

    In the Mitek Industries South Africa Light Steel Framed Building category, the winner was the Protea Glen Secondary School, constructed for the Gauteng Department of Education. This was one of nine schools commissioned by the Department, the aim being to adjudicate various building systems and their advantages – and how these could create structures conducive to learning. The project capitalised on the key features of light steel frame building, namely: speed, thermal efficiency, acoustics and flexibility of design. The architect on this project was Local Studio, the structural engineer, the Structural Workshop, the engineer Luleka Consulting Engineers and the main contractor Abacus Space Solutions.

  • In the ArcelorMittal South Africa Architectural category, the winning entry was the Peech Hotel located in Melrose, Johannesburg. The architect on this project, Meshworks and structural engineers EVH Consulting, were charged with extending the existing hotel onto a newly acquired adjacent property. Steel was used throughout the project to express a layered architecture of lightness, and as a tool in the integration of built form with landscape.

    In the Industrial category, the winner’s trophy went to the Omnia Nitro Phosphate Plant

  • In the Industrial category, the winner’s trophy went to the Omnia Nitro Phosphate Plant constructed for the diversified chemicals group Omnia. The nominator, steelwork contractor and steel erector was SE Steel Fabrication Pty Ltd. With tight project deadlines and multiple challenges including working at a height of up to 46 metres, this complex plant construction was achieved safely and on time.


  • Winner in the Metal Cladding Category was a building named the 1054, designed and nominated by architects DMV Architecture

    Winner in the Global Roofing Solutions Metal Cladding Category was a building named the 1054, designed and nominated by architects DMV Architecture, with the main contracting carried out by Jeremy Delport Construction. The contrast of the building’s solid exterior with a light and airy interior succeeds in creating a welcoming and connecting space.


  • In the SAISC Steel Awards Commercial Category, the building constructed for KTM Raceworx made innovative use of a steel frame system with cellular beams to support the floors and accommodate HVAC and other services. The nominator in this instance was Macsteel while the structural engineer and main contractors were JandC Structural and Civil Design.
  • The Association of Steel Tube and Pipe Manufacturers of South Africa’s (ASTPM’s) Tubular Category was won by the structure Fourways Mall Promotions Court. As part of the upgrade of the Fourways Mall, the new roof is essentially a tubular structure, which is lightweight and aesthetically very pleasing. The nominator and steelwork contractor was CADCON Pty Ltd, and the architects were Boogertman & Partners.
  • In the Safintra South Africa Factory and Warehouse category, top honours went to Chilleweni Cold Storage Solutions. Constructed in Gosforth Park Germiston, the building’s fresh design approach has given rise to a visually appealing industrial, fit-for-purpose industrial building. The nominator was Global Roofing Solutions, the structural engineers were DG Consulting Engineers and the architect was Empowered Spaces Architects.
  • The SAISC Steel Awards Bridges Category went to the CTICC Skybridge, which connects the Cape Town International Convention Centre with the CTICC East Expansion. This bridge allows the two buildings to function effectively as an integrated unit and epitomises the CTICC’s main purpose of connecting people. The nominator was Anchor Steel Projects, while the architects of this graceful structure were Convention Architects while the steelwork contractor and steel erector was Anchor Steel Projects.

The SAISC is profoundly grateful to major sponsors Aveng Trident Steel, which sponsored the Durban and Cape Town events and was the national entertainment sponsor; and BSI Steel, which sponsored the Johannesburg event. In addition, the SAISC would like to thank Cadex Systems SA for sponsoring the photo competition and Macsteel for the Digital Trailblazer sponsorship responsible for the Steel Awards App. “We are also indebted to NJR Steel, Stewarts and Lloyds, Pro Roof Steel and Tube for the sponsorship support of the Steel Awards,” Trinchero continues.

Aveng Trident Steel is proud to be associated with the SAISC annual Steel Awards. We are very pleased at the quality and innovation of the entries, and trust that this is the forerunner of an improved South African steel industry and overall economy,” says Hercu Aucamp, Managing Director of Aveng Trident Steel.

Commenting on behalf of BSI Steel, Sales Executive Peter Smith says: “We are proud to be sponsoring this event, and would like to thank the SAISC and all the role players involved for the hard work and time that they have invested – not only into the Steel Awards, but into the growth and development of the steel construction sector too.”

In the light of the current economic pressures which we face in South Africa, we are hugely encouraged by industry’s response to, and involvement in, this year’s Steel Awards – the sponsorship, the number of awards and the diversity of every aspect from the entries to the judging panel and sponsors,” says Trinchero.

South Africa needs a healthy and vibrant steel construction industry, and this year’s highly successful Steel Awards event will do much to showcase not only the capabilities of steel as a material of construction – but those of all the amazing people who work throughout the entire sector to promote the future sustainability of our industry,” he concludes.

Franki Defies Challenges To Meet Landmark Project’s Tight Programme

Franki Defies Challenges To Meet Landmark Project’s Tight Programme

An optimised design to match a taxing contract programme was instrumental in Franki Africa’s ability to hand over the challenging foundations and lateral support work for the landmark 144 Oxford project on time.

Franki Africa was recently contracted to provide geotechnical services for the ground-breaking 144 Oxford project, a flagship 35 000 m² development by Growthpoint Properties. Located on Oxford Road in Rosebank, Johannesburg, the development is set for completion this month. When complete, the 35 000 m² development, will establish a new landmark office address in Rosebank with an innovative design that supports modern businesses to thrive and evolve.

Franki was responsible for the design, supply and installation of the earth retaining lateral support system and the piled foundations of this development. The project scope included a five-level basement to a maximum depth of 15 m below natural ground level with a total of 5 755 m² of lateral support, as well as 235 no. foundation piles with column loads varying between 3 800 and 15 000 kN.

Contract programme

According to Brett Markides, Senior Design Engineer at Franki Africa, from the onset, the contract programme proposed by the client proved challenging. However, the development was considered a key project for Franki, and an optimised design to match the contract programme was fundamental to winning the tender in such a competitive market.

The west elevation of the development incorporated a Gautrain servitude roughly 12 m beyond the site boundary where no structural elements of any lateral system could be installed through. The solutions to this problem were not immediately obvious as the servitude posed a restriction on the anchor lengths required for conventional lateral support. “The design team at Franki had to revert to first principles and hand calculations to conceptualise a workable solution that would account for this restriction,” explains Markides.

Changes in design were a constant challenge and design development had to conform to the engineers’ and clients’ specifications. In this regard, Franki relied heavily on its uniquely integral in-house design team to deal with the changes as and when they occurred, as well as providing cost-effective workable solutions to the professional teams.

Ultimately, an innovative design solution was proposed by Franki that would meet the engineers’ specifications, and from a commercial standpoint, the programme would be achievable,” says Markides.

Challenges in lateral support

The design of the lateral support system on the North, East and South elevations comprised soldier piles with a system of active and passive support in the form of anchors.

On the west elevation, an initial cut back and batter was proposed to reduce the retained height of the wall, effectively reducing the lateral forces and mitigating the requirement for structural elements extending into the Gautrain Servitude. The west elevation comprised soldier piles with a similar system of alternative active and passive support,” explains Markides.

Franki developed a fully working FEM model in Plaxis 2D, capable of staged construction analysis and analysed all expected forces in structural elements and factors of safety at all construction stages. Verification of stability and deflections in the temporary and permanent state were analysed and checked against the required specifications. The resulting output confirmed the expected modes of failure at the factor of safety stages, and the model was deemed appropriate for the design solution.

Verification of the design followed an observational approach on site through stringent monitoring to ensure predicted vs actual deflections aligned throughout construction. Accurate and up-to-date record keeping was critical to the project’s success.

Due to the innovative design process, health and safety considerations were incorporated by employing well understood and recognised methodologies in Franki, so that neither additional risk would be placed onto the site teams nor would any unfamiliar construction methodologies be introduced. “As part of the design process, an integrated risk-management analysis was undertaken to highlight any potential concerns that might arise from a technical standpoint,” says Markides.


The geotechnical information indicated competent rock granite between 5 m and 15 m below bulk excavation level. Auger cast in-situ piles socketed into competent rock were chosen as the most economical piling solution, and Franki optimised the pile layout to accommodate higher loads on fewer piles.

This was made possible with specialised cleaning tools to effectively clean the pile bases through mechanical action as opposed to cleaning the bases by hand,” concludes Markides.

Shock As South Africa’s Professional Body For Engineered Timber Construction Prepares For Dormancy

Shock As South Africa’s Professional Body For Engineered Timber Construction Prepares For Dormancy

The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), South Africa’s professional body for the engineered timber construction industry, established more than 45 years ago to help formalise and advance the timber roof construction industry and protect its consumers, has announced its Resolution Of Dormancy as of 1 November 2019.

This resolution was formally agreed upon at a recent board meeting held in Isando, Gauteng, and comes on the back of protracted talks with various stakeholders regarding sustainable funding avenues to support the work of the ITC-SA into the future.

“In the past, a compulsory membership system was in place, whereby all licensed fabricators were required to hold membership with the ITC-SA to ensure the continued self-regulation of the engineered timber construction industry in South Africa,” says Amanda Obbes, ITC-SA General Manager. “However, over the past two years, this membership has become voluntary; coupled with a struggling economy, this has set member support in this critical field into decline. Without the full support of all stakeholders, the Institute cannot adequately serve its membership as it has done in the past, through technical standards, auditing and inspection procedures and processes developed over the past 46 years,” she explains.

“This resolution comes as a major blow, not only to the Institute as a critical and essential custodian of the engineered timber construction sector, but to its many members who actively pursue excellence in the built environment through world-class timber construction, roofing and decking,” says Obbes, concluding, “Engineered timber construction remains a viable and intelligent choice in roofing and construction; however without an entity enforcing high standards and protecting the consumer, the future of quality timber roofing and construction in South Africa is uncertain.”

As part of its dormancy strategy, the ITC-SA’s website and social media channels will be closed on 31 October 2019. However, events and training scheduled for the balance of the year, as outlined below, will continue as planned.

  • Workshop: Understanding Timber Roof Inspections | Cape Town | 22-24 October 2019

  • Workshop: Building Regulations & Standards of Timber Roof Trusses | Gansbaai, Cape Town | 7 November 2019

  • Estimator Designer Course | Ends 15 November 2019

The ITC-SA trademark and all intellectual property will be preserved by the Institute’s auditors and therefore the logo must be removed from all members’ documentation by 1 November 2019 and may not be duplicated or used in any way or form. For more information, email, or visit

The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) was established 45 years ago as a professional body to self-regulate the engineered timber roof structure industry and to provide design, manufacturing, erection, inspection and certification for compliance with inter alia SANS 10400, SANS 10243 and SANS 10082, where engineering rational designs are applicable.

ITC-SA’s vision has always been to create and maintain the highest standards in the engineered timber construction industry by monitoring its membership, continuously improving standards, promoting and marketing engineered timber structures, and overseeing the training and development of its members – a vision which it has implemented with unswerving focus, dedication and professionalism to the benefit of its members, the timbers industry and the construction sector as a whole.

The Institute is a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) accredited professional body with a professional membership and therefore must comply with the requirements as set out in the National Qualifications Framework Act (NQF Act 67 of 2008 – as amended). The ITC-SA is also a Category B Recognised Voluntary Association in terms of the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (Act 46 of 2000).