The purpose of the project is to construct a new Automotive Manufacturing Plant for BAIC SA Automotive Manufacturing Ltd. The project includes the following components forming part of the phase 1 of the overall development, namely:  an assembly body shop, a paint shop, a main office building, overhead bridge linking the paint shop and the assembly body shop, a dispatch centre, several guardhouses and supportive service related buildings such as: a sewerage treatment facility, an oil and chemical store, waste centre, and an energy centre. Also, site components forming part of phase 1 of the development include the entire site’s road and bulk services infrastructure, a test track and a finished vehicle parking precinct.

This submission outlines the Assembly Bodyshop facility, which accommodates the final stage of assembly for the motor vehicles to be built at the facility prior to been tested and been readied for dispatch.

Brief of the Architect 

Beijing based Professional Consultancy Group, Beijing Industrial Designing & Researching Institute Co. Ltd. (BIDR) was appointed by BAIC SA Automotive Manufacturing Ltd. as the international lead for the overall project design, documentation, and management during the construction phase of this project located within zone 1 South of the Coega IDZ.  Uhambiso Consult (Pty) Ltd. was appointed by BIDR. as their local project lead and the engineers of record to facilitate the localisation of the project, converting all designs into drawings, specifications, and documentation which is compliant with local standard, regulations and bylaws.

Uhambiso and its specialist sub-consultancy team were tasked with the following general building design specification specific to the Assembly Bodyshop:

The spatial arrangement of the building needed to meet the following requirements:

Provide a portal framed building with a clear height to the underside of rafters of 9.35m;

  • Overall Building footprint – 440mx96m – 42,240m2;
  • Grid Spacing 24mx8m;
  • Grid spacing final 3 bay to be 12m

The building was divided into four bays along the length of the building, resulting in short roof spans and three x 2m wide box gutters been installed. These large box gutters were manufactured from insulated wall panels in 3m long modules which added with the construction process since these could be handled and positioned into place by hand. The gutters were lined with a continuous EPDM waterproofing membrane system.

The client required a high degree of natural lighting, lessening the reliance on artificial lighting and thus reducing the electrical demand of the facility, where possible. Skylights were installed at most bays and the full length of the building.

Compliance with natural ventilation requirements for inhabitants as well as smoke extraction in the event of a fire, was achieved through large static opening ridge vents which run along the full length of the building on each ridge including 11x mechanical ventilation ducts installed through the sides of the building. The static ridge vents, with their unprecedented 2m wide throats, were specifically designed and supplied by Safintra, taking into account is airflow requirements, high exposure to wind, environmental conditions and the need to be water and bird proof.

Project Materials

It was always envisaged that the project would be constructed from steel. This was due to the nature of the building and facility.  (Write more about the steel protection and possible its original?)

The roof sheeting, side cladding, flashing and ridge vents, is made from shaped and roll-formed certified 0.55 ColorPlus AZ200 PVDF in the colour Sea Spray. All sheeting and flashing were supplied by Safintra and installed by Cladall Roofing, an approved installer with many years of experience.

Structural Framing

The structure was a portal framed structure with internal and side columns supporting the rafters.

The main steel members were constructed from tapered web sections, bolted together using moment connections.

The tapered members were used due to client preferences, further, due to members needing to be imported it was a requirement that they be made up in shorter sections for ease of transport through containerised transport.

Cladding Process

A cladding programme was adopted to allow several teams of 5-7 skiled workers to work independently from each other in order to accommodate a very tight overall construction programme. Factors such as the sequence of the installation of the different building components, namely: gutters, waterproofing, syphonic rainwater drainage systems, insulation and ultimately sheeting had to be carefully planned to ensure optimal timing. Further considerations included achieving protection from the natural elements at ground level to facilitate the installation of other processes such as the surface beds, and process equipment. All of the aforementioned were made challenging due to risks of trades working overhead.

Challenges in Fabrication

The steel was fabricated in China. This provided challenges, but more importantly valuable sharing of ideas and information. These included but were not limited to the following:

The fabricator preferred to use the local Chinese fabrication specification besides the original SANS specification. This was overcome by including the requirements of the SANS specification in the local Chinese specification.

Methods of fabrication differed from those in South Africa,

Communication was a challenge, but overcome through the use of good translators, and patient understanding.

The biggest challenge with the fabrication was that the structure needed to be erected within 100 working days. This was overcome, by boxing rafters, including bracing and ties and the lifting using three number 25 ton cranes simultaneously, per erection team, with 5 erection teams on site.

Special Unusual/innovative Aesthetic about steelwork

The uniqueness of the structure is captured in the optimisation of steel shapes and sections, increasing sections in areas were strength is needed and moments are expected. The result is a beautifully tapered column and beam system which is unconventional in South African terms.

How did the project team work together.

Continuous communication was held between the contractor and the professional team. This was undertaken through a well managed and documented “Request for Information” (RFI) system. Due to challenges with the language barrier between the client, lead international consultant and the local team, the use of drawings and sketches were routinely used to resolve these communication challenges. The whole process has highlighted the need for stringent checks and balances, and the need to achieve sign of along each step of the project to ensure expectations and needs are met.

Project motivation editorials are provided by the project nominator. If any technical details, company names or product names are incorrect, please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.

Completion date of steelwork April 2018
Completion date of full project April 2019
Tons of structural steel used 2800 tons
Structural profiles used Non standard Tapered web plate girders
SA content – if this is an export project Erection for the project was done locally.
Cost of steelwork ZAR 77,000,000.  
Completion date of cladding 2018
Cladding profile/ type used Saflok 410 and Widedek
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 46500sqm
Nominator Safintra roofing
Client/ Developer BAIC BIDR
Architect Studio d Arc Architects  
Structural Engineer Uhambiso Engineering
Quantity Surveyor Rousseau Probert Elliott Quantity Surveyors  
Project Manager Uhambiso Engineering Studio d Arc Architects
Main Contractor Head Office   WBHO  
Cladding Manufacturer Safintra Roofing PE
Cladding Supplier Safintra Roofing PE
Cladding Contractor Cladall

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.