The employer’s objective was to construct a new office park for the Department of Health infrastructure development and technical support at Townhill hospital, Pietermaritzburg. The expected outcome was the completion of 3 office blocks, complete with furniture, fittings, landscaping and road works. IE a full turnkey project. 


The KwaZulu-Natal department of health head offices occupied two rented buildings of which their leases expired. In line with cost-cutting imperatives, the department of health had decided to invest in a state-owned facility rather than paying annual rent.

What was the brief to the architect?

Professional and management services for the design, development, documentation supervision and construction of a new office park for the department of health, infrastructure development and technical support at Townhill hospital, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.The department of health supplied a general draft specification and requirements at Tender stage including a layout and footprint for the development.

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

Yes, steel was envisaged from the start

“The project comprises of three buildings, to be constructed in a short time frame and to be fitted and furnished at completion. The construction of the building may compromise of any certified (S.A bureau of standards) or accredited (Agreement S.A) construction method and must comply fully with the National Building Regulation and the SANS 10400. The buildings must be low maintenance, single story structures and be aesthetically pleasing. Potentially severe weather must be considered.

Design, supply, fabricate and erect the following structural steel roof and wall framework, wall cladding, completed as installed with SANS 517:2009 and SASFA association. “ – [ Extract from Tender Document]

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

A standard FRAMECAD LSF lip channel section was used for all walls and roof structures. – 90 x 40 x 0.8mm LSF Section.

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

  • Wall Cladding – 90% of the walls where clad externally with OSB board, Tyvek vapor barrier and Shera planks.
  • Internal Cladding – Is 102mm Isover Cavity Batt insulation and 15mm Gyproc fire stop boards.
  • Entrance’s – All were clad with Flat fibre cement boards and expressed joints.
  • Roof Cladding – 100mm Factory-lite bulk insulation and SAFLOK 700 roof sheeting.

Give a brief description of the Light Steel Frame Building element of the project. (Notable features/ achievements made possible by LSFB)

  • The buildings comprised of 4 x Flanks and a center core section.
  • Flank walls varied in height from 3m to 3.6m.
  • Centre core walls varied in heights from 5m to 6.2m
  • Truss spans of approximately 11.5m between walls and 900mm overhang all around.
  • Approximately 45 Tons of LSF was used
  • A notable achievement was the speed of construction using LSF, erected LSF, cladding, roofing, ceilings and window installation was completed in 10 – 11 months for 3 office blocks.
  • 2 x 1280m² and 1 x 900m² with a total area of ± 3500m².

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

No changes from the engineer as the project scope was “design, develop and construction” of an office park.

Shospec was very involved with the design from the onset as the specialist LSF contractor and member of TOP JV.

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

  • Wall cladding is a standard Shiplap plank and flat sheets with express joints.
  • The four side entrances protrude from the building flanks and stand out from the main cladding due to the texture of the finish and colour.
  • The same applies to the two center core entrances of approximately 5.2m high. These comprised of a lightweight slab as the roof. This is to accommodate the air-conditioning plant hidden behind a parapet wall and two Louver screens and doors on the sides.
  • The speed of construction was critical for achieving the clients intended programme; originally planned at 19 months and accelerated by 4 months as per the client’s request to achieve occupation within 14 month’s

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

The clients’ brief and tender specification was for a full turnkey professional and management services for the design development, documentation supervision and construction of new office park for the department of health.

The successful bidders were TOP JV (Townhill Office Park J.V), our team consisted of;

  • Shospec (Pty) Ltd       Light Steel Frame
  • D-Construction       Wet works and other trades
  • SMS Design Architects Lead professional

All other professionals were employed as sub-consultants by the Joint Venture.

  • It was critical at tender stage to have a design philosophy for costing purposes and submitting a fixed price. Once the tender was awarded it was imperative that the contractors were involved with the projects team to ensure the building was designed and constructed within the budgets and allowables submitted at tender stage.
  • We were handed over a green lawn of around 15 000m² to develop the full turnkey office park comprising of around 3600m² of LSF Buildings.
  • Most sub-consultants had previous experiences working on similar LSF projects.
LSFB / LIGHT STEEL FRAME BUILDING WORK
Completion date of LSFB work November 2018.
Completion date of full project 08 March 2019.
Tons of LSF used 45 Tons
Span of trusses and Kg/m2 (if applicable) 11.4 meters
Profiles used Frame Cad – C Section
Type of cladding 8mm Shera Plank Teak Wood grain, And 12mm OSB Board
CLADDING
Completion date of cladding ± July 2018.
Cladding profile/ type used SAFLOK 700
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 3400m²
PROJECT TEAM COMPANY
Nominator Shospec (Pty) Ltd
Client/ Developer Dept Of Health
Architect Sms Design Architects
Structural Engineer Martin & Associates
Engineer Martin & Associates
Quantity Surveyor TMS
Project Manager D-Construction / TOP JV
Main Contractor TOP J.V
Steelwork Contractor Shospec (Pty) Ltd
Steel Erector Shospec (Pty) Ltd
Cladding Supplier Four Seasons
Cladding Contractor Four Seasons