This building, commissioned for use by the National Department of Health as their Emergency Medical Services Headquarters, houses a call centre and manages the dispatch of emergency paramedic response units within the Port Elizabeth area.

The architect’s brief was to design a building that would aid in consolidating the EMS Headquarters into one centralised location and distribution point, as well as to bring an identity and civic presence to the EMS, reflecting the role that they play in society.

The design, both structurally and aesthetically, makes use of a selected pallet of materials which contribute towards a clean, yet interesting architectural experience. In addition to the main building, the site incorporates covered parking areas for ambulances, parking for staff, a carwash, a helipad, and a helicopter hangar – constructed almost entirely out of steel.

The main building is predominantly a concrete frame structure which makes use of some steel elements, bringing a lightness to the interior spaces. The main structural steel element is the roof structure, constructed from circular hollow steel sections and on display in the main entrance foyer, while steel columns are used to support the peripheral internal walkways. These are complemented internally by steel finishes, such as balustrading and cladding to the reception area.

The structural framing

Steel elements were used extensively for the façade features such as the shading louvre elements, decorative pergola elements, balustrades, and walkways – which are used both for maintenance and shading to floors below. In strategic places the roof eave rafters were also detailed as steel elements which are left exposed to tie in with the external aesthetic of the building, creating large, thin floating planes.

The carport structures and helicopter hangar are constructed almost entirely of steel and clad to match the roofing of the main building. The hangar is a standard steel portal frame structure with purlins and cladding rails.

Cladding

The sheeting selected for the project was the Zip-Tek 420 profile. This was not the original selection as it was initially intended to be a conventional Klip-Lok concealed fix system. This, however, would have resulted in jagged edges and valleys which would likely have caused problems in the future with water ingress and would have detracted from the elegant appeal of the curved building.

The Zip-Tek 420 sheet can be tapered, which allowed for a seamless, elegant roof over the curved building, eliminating the risk of water leaks. With this specific profile being very wide and deep, with excellent water carrying capacity, the decision was made to use it for the entire project.

The tapering of the roof sheeting is a detailed process, which consists of each sheet being drawn and cut individually. Each side of the sheet – both male and female ribs – had to also be rolled individually and not in one single process, as would have been the case with conventional sheeting. In order to make sure that this was a success, and to avoid complications on site, a point cloud survey was done after the roof trusses were installed, providing the sheeting supplier with the exact site geometry to work off. This aided in minimizing risk typically associated with both the manufacturing process of the purpose made sheets, and with the on-site installation.

The tapering of the roof sheeting is a detailed process, which consists of each sheet being drawn and cut individually. Each side of the sheet – both male and female ribs – had to also be rolled individually and not in one single process, as would have been the case with conventional sheeting. In order to make sure that this was a success, and to avoid complications on site, a point cloud survey was done after the roof trusses were installed, providing the sheeting supplier with the exact site geometry to work off. This aided in minimizing risk typically associated with both the manufacturing process of the purpose made sheets, and with the on-site installation.

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

Curved roof – This unconventional design adds a monumentality to the building and without the innovative use of steel would not have been successfully achieved. Constant co-ordination within the project team and a forthcoming attitude from the contractor certainly aided in the successful implementation of this design element.

How does this project demonstrate the benefit of steel as a material

Decorative steel – Steel is conventionally thought of as a structural material. In this case, its structural benefits were taken advantage of in order to design lightweight walkways and shading devices that added value to the aesthetic design of the building. Had these elements been designed using an alternative material, such as timber, the lightweight nature and economic efficiency would have been impossible to match.

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.

PROJECT OVERVIEW 
Physical address of the project    

 

Street Address  

Town  

Province 

Spondo Street   

 

New Brighton 

Port Elizabeth 

Eastern Cape 

Google Maps link https://maps.app.goo.gl/zHs49Zu4iwM8ZESX6  
Project Team RoleCompany
NominatorGlobal Roofing Solutions – A division of Consolidated Steel Industries (Pty) Ltd
Client/ DeveloperDepartment of Roads and Public Works
ArchitectImbono FJA Architects
Structural Engineer MottMacdonald
Engineer  
Quantity SurveyorSVP Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers
Project ManagerSVP Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers
Main ContractorTranstruct
Steelwork Contractor (Facades and Balustrades)Rizel Engineering Services
Steelwork Contractor (Shading Louvres)Wild Dog Engineering
Steel Erector 
Cladding ManufacturerGlobal Roofing Solutions – A division of Consolidated Steel Industries (Pty) Ltd
Cladding SupplierGlobal Roofing Solutions – A division of Consolidated Steel Industries (Pty) Ltd
Cladding ContractorRV Smith PE

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.

CLADDING (If applicable) 
Completion date of cladding  
Cladding profile/ type used GRS Zip-Tek 420 Cladding 
Cladding area coverage  360m2 
Cladding tonnage