Gibela New Manufacturing Facility – Dunnotar

What is the purpose of the structure/ project?

A +-50 000m² industrial facility designed for the manufacturing of 580 trains for PRASA (Passenger Rail Association of South Africa). Most of the structures need to accommodate overhead cranes ranging from 2t to 2x10t tandem cranes.

What was the brief to the architect?

Design a facility to include the entire process from the extrusion of the raw steel, assembly of the coach, electrical wiring and internal fitting, filming, static testing and through to the final dynamic testing of the completed train. Also to be included is a training facility.

 Was the project envisaged in steel from the start? If not – why was it built in steel in the end?

Mostly yes. There were several iterations of the design to value engineer the buildings. The initial gable structure were concrete, but later changed to steel to speedup construction and reduce the size of the foundations.

Give a brief description of the structural framing. What type of sections were used (e.g. hollow, cellular, I beams, etc.) and why?

The main frame of the buildings consists of both lattice columns and I-Columns at 8 meter grid spacing. The roof consists of steel trusses made up of angle sections. Purlins and girts consists of Metsec profiles. Metsec purlin and side rail systems are manufactured from higher strength steel, with minimum yield strength of 390 MPa in comparison to the common and local Z and C sections, which generally have yield strength in the order of 200 MPa. This allows for larger purlin and girt spacing and an overall lighter structure. The Gate House roof consists of curved cellular beams. This was mostly and architectural feature because it’s the main entrance to the site.

Were there any challenges in the fabrication of the project from the engineer’s design – if yes, please tell? Tell more about fabrication and erection process if it was complex, difficult, innovative etc.

Some roof spans were more than 29 meters. This meant splicing of trusses for ease of erection. The erection process were quite conventional. It was a challenge to obtain the correct curvature for the Curved Cellular Beams at entrance building.

 What is special/ unusual/ innovative/ aesthetic about the steelwork/cladding in this project?

One of the buildings has a 12.5 meter cantilever canopy, with a gutter on the edge, spanning over a 10x48m hardstand which would be used as a laydown area. The client required a clean working space below to ease the movement of vehicles.

 How did the project team work together (e.g contractor involved early, challenges/ ease of communication etc.)

The engineer communicated directly with the steel fabricator to finalise fabrication drawings. The contractor was copied in all communication and witnessed the meetings. The engineer shared the 3D Revit models and hard copies (serving as the master files) with the fabricator to ease in the translation to Tekla structural steel. The fabricator also shared his Tekla 3D model as supporting documents with his set of fabrication drawings. This all in an effort to speed up the approval process.

Tons of structural steel used 2396
Structural profiles used Curved Cellular Beams

Metsec Purlins

Hot rolled sections

Cladding profile/ type used 0.55mm Saflok 700 profile (roof)

0.55mm Trimflute profile (vertical/ side)

Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 77 352m

Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator AECOM
Client/ Developer Gibela
Architect AECOM
Structural Engineer AECOM
Engineer AECOM
Quantity Surveyor AECOM
Project Manager AECOM
Main Contractor Trencon
Steelwork Contractor 1 Churchyard and Umpleby
Steelwork Contractor 2 Churchyard and Umpleby
Steel Erector Louwill Lefa
Cladding Manufacturer Powersteel (Louwill Lefa)
Cladding Supplier Global Roof Solutions (GRS)
Cladding Contractor Global Roof Solutions (GRS)
Photographer, Photo competition AECOM

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.

Hoopstad WestFert Fertilizers

Fertilizer company Westfert required a massive warehouse to take advantage of favourable global conditions in the market. The large-scale dome in Hoopstad that was built is described as the biggest in the southern hemisphere. The main objective of the structure was to create an inland fertilizer storage facility where various basic granular fertilizers can be blended and bagged for the specific needs of farmers. The structure is 116 meters wide and 152.25 meters in length and covers approximately two hectares.

There are no supporting pillars within the structure, which creates enough space for two Airbus 380s to fit inside the building. A triangular pipe frame structure was use for the trusses. A single 194mm diameter bottom cord pipe and two 140mm diameter pipes were used as top sections. The bracing is 76mm pipe and all the sections are 3mm thick.

Creating a structure of this scale wasn’t without its challenges, says project engineer Hentie Park. One of the main challenges was to ensure that all the trusses were rolled on a 96m radius. Secondly, all the welded connections were profiled with a CNC plasma cutter to ensure exact fit. Each truss consisted of 10 sections that were joined by specialised welding on site. Articulating joints were designed where the truss connected to the concrete plinth. Two halves of the trusses were lifted by two 25ton cranes and the centres were connected with three pins – one for each cord. The latter reduced the election time and costs significantly.

 The unsupported span of this building is 116m. Global Roofing Solutions supplied approximately +-27000m2 of Klip-Tite and NuRib for the product and 127m long sheets were rolled on site and clipped into positionThe dome is the fourth largest such structure in the world and it will be able to house approximately 200 000 tons of fertilizer.  Thanks to the new dome warehouse, Westfert will now be able to buy input ingredients such as urea in bulk when exchange rates and prices are at their most favourable.

Cladding profile/ type used KlipTite & NuRib
Cladding area/ coverage +-27000m2
Cladding tonnage +-160 Tons

Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator Global Roofing Solutions
Client/ Developer West Fertilizers
Structural Engineer Alliance Con Systems
Project Manager Alliance Con Systems
Main Contractor Alliance Conveying Systems
Steelwork Contractor Vic Engineering
Steel Erector Vic Engineering
Cladding Manufacturer Global Roofing Solutions
Cladding Supplier Global Roofing Solutions
Cladding Contractor Alliance Conveying Systems

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.

Bosch Warehouse

Bosch is a prominent supplier of home appliances in South Africa. The company required a new factory and warehouse facility and appointed Empowered Spaces to design a facility that would ‘wow’ their staff and guests. The brief to the architect for the new facility, which is located in Witfontein opposite the Serengeti Golf Estate, was to design a factory and warehouse that ties in with the company’s corporate standards.

The warehouse was envisaged as a steel structure clad in sheeting from the start as this is renowned as the most efficient and cost-effective way to construct a warehouse. The structural framing consists of grinder trusses and a steel column structure which is supported by precast concrete columns.

What makes the new Bosch warehouse and factory unique is the use of corrugated iron sheeting, as this isn’t often specified for large warehouse structures. 125 tons of cladding was supplied to cover the 20 574m2 of warehouse area. Global Roofing Solutions’ Klip-Tite was the chosen steel sheeting for the project.

To speed up the construction process on site, the project team was appointed far in advance. This enabled the design team to issue the contractor with appropriate information ahead of schedule, which led to quick and efficient construction on site. The result is world-class warehouse that fits with the Bosch’s corporate brand and profile.

Cladding profile/ type used Klip-Tite
Cladding area/ coverage 20574
Cladding tonnage 125 Tons

Project Team

Nominator Global Roofing Solutions
Client/ Developer Bosch
Architect Empowered Spaces
Structural Engineer Kantey & Templer Engineers
Quantity Surveyor IBP Construction
Main Contractor Bantly Construction
Steelwork Contractor Steel Band
Steel Erector Steel Band
Structural Steel Detailer KRU Detailing
Cladding Manufacturer Global Roofing Solutions
Cladding Supplier Global Roofing Solutions
Cladding Contractor Roofline

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.


BMW Paint Shop re-roof

What is the purpose of the structure/ project?

Refurbishment of current paint shop.

What was the brief to the architect?

Remove leaking paint shop roof and replace with a thermally efficient built up roof system.

Give a brief description of the cladding process (complexity, difficulty, innovation)  

Innovation, twin skin built up metal roof system with uncompressed insulation, to correctly and   accurately provide the desired R value.

Difficulty short duration on project, over Christmas period in JHB’s rainy season, no extension of times were allowed, so continuous project acceleration was required.

What is special/ unusual/ innovative/ aesthetic about the steelwork/cladding in this project?

Double skin, and larger than normal flashings. Over 75 penetrations in the roof with no back flashings.

Cladding profile/ type used Tufdek IBR Saflok 700
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 24000m²

Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator Safintra
Client/ Developer BMW
Structural Engineer Nyletti Structural

Engineers Pretoria

Main Contractor MRC Group
Cladding Manufacturer Safintra South Africa
Cladding Supplier Safintra South Africa
Cladding Contractor MRC Group
Photographer, Photo competition Sublime Film

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.


The development comprises of three separate warehouse structures for the storage and distribution of chemicals, ancillary structures for staff and maintenance, hardstands and drainage required within the Umbogwintwini Industrial Complex on a brown field site.

Warehouses B&C were constructed with concrete columns up to 2.4 m height due to the rigidity offered and for the greater resistance to folk-lift impact and to lift the steelwork out of the flooding zone of any chemical spills. The warehouses have internal racking to store mainly non-flammable liquid chemicals in containers.  Warehouse C required particular attention to be paid to the horizonal deflection of the structure due to 13m high racking being placed next to the walls and the use of Very Narrow Aisle (VNAs) forklifts for the placing and removal of the containers.  The two warehouses are connected by a steel canopy spanning over the road and loading area.

Warehouse A is designed to store the flammable bulk chemicals in the facility, the warehouse was designed using precast columns and tilt-up walls to the underside of the steel roof sheeting, the steel roof is designed as non-continuous over the whole warehouse and instead is designed per compartment within the warehouse for safety in case of fire to prevent spread of the fire or fumes, progressive collapse and to limit the damage done in case of an explosion or fire.  The connection of the steelwork to the precast concrete elements required some unusual connection solutions for the purlins which are chemically anchored to the top of the wall.  An inverted plated U-bracket with fin plates and a slotted hole was designed to fit over the wall panels after the panel had been lifted into place and required input from the steel contractor and precast contractor to find a solution that would minimise drilling at height and time on site.

Tons of structural steel used 600,780 tonnes
Structural profiles used Hot rolled sections with Cold formed Purlins and Girts

Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator ARUP (Pty) Ltd
Client/ Developer Newlyn
Architect Paton Taylor Architects
Structural Engineer Arup (Pty) Ltd
Quantity Surveyor BTKM
Project Manager Newlyn Group
Main Contractor Newlyn Group
Steelwork Contractor Impact Engineering (Pty) Ltd
Steel Erector Impact Engineering (Pty) Ltd
Cladding Manufacturer Global Roofing Solutions
Cladding Supplier Global Roofing Solutions
Cladding Contractor Impact Engineering (Pty) Ltd
Corrosion Protection
Phoenix Galvanising
Corrosion Protection
Durban Galvanising

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.