Macsteel Trading cellular beams used to refurbish a 100 Year old Power Station

Luderitz Power Station in Namibia which was built in 1911 is one of the largest buildings in Namibia. After the power station closed down, over the years exposure to the elements resulted in the steel structure weathering leaving an empty shell.

The Luderitz Waterfront Development Company bought the building and the surrounding land from the town council. They set aside N$ 59 million towards the rehabilitation and renovation of the old power station. They are also developing the surrounding area. The renovated building is planned to house a university (Polytechnic of Namibia), a number of sporting facilities, a cinema hall and an auditorium with a seating capacity for 350.

The building is a National Heritage Monument, so the structure had to be refurbished without any alteration to its existing external appearance. Plumbco (Pty) Ltd was appointed as the steelwork contractor. Their contract included the removal of all the old steelwork and, where necessary replace, it with new steelwork. New floors had to be added to accommodate the various facilities.
Cellular beams were selected for much of the work to create steel beam supports for the new floors within the old shell. With spans of up to 17 metres long, cellular beams were the obvious option for a structural solution. Close to 80 tonnes of manufactured cellular beams were supplied for the project, with cellular beam sizes ranging from 203 x 133 x 25.1 UBs (Universal Beams) through to 533 x 210 x 101 UB.

Cellular beams have in recent years been used in a number of Namibian Green and Brownfield developments including Swakopmund Indoor Pools, Rundu Fresh Produce Market, Ongwediva Fresh Produce Market and Rooikop Indoor Swimming Pools, to name a few.
Cellular beams were used as steel beam supports for the new floors within the old shell.
Cellular beams were used as steel beam supports for the new floors within the old shell.

The reasons why Cellular beams were the best option for this project are numerous and include:

  • Due to the process of moving the flanges further apart in the castellating process results in them having a lighter weight when compared with their heavier (non-castellated) universal beams
  • that would be capable of doing the same job
  • The openings in the beams allow for easy service integration such as air-conditioning ducting can easily pass through the openings in the sections.
  • Cellular beams are ideal for longer spans with reasonable loads on them.

Project Team

Developer/Owner: Luderitz Waterfront Development Company
Architect: Bob Mould Architects
Main Contractor: Nexus Contractors
Steelwork Contractor: Plumbco (Pty) Ltd
Cellular beam supplier/contractor: Macsteel Trading, Cellular Beams