The beautiful and functional Kaap Agri building in Paarl, Western Cape symbolises the professionalism and success of an organisation that has been operating for more than 100 years.

Recently Charl van Zyl, CEO of Rancor, leading light steel frame (LSF) construction company, was asked for a solution to add a mezzanine floor to the Kaap Agri’s existing building leaving its original dimensions unchanged.

The stipulations for the new structure were clear: it had to be cost-effective; it had to be strong and safe; completely sound proof; energy efficient and built in double-quick time.  “Taking all these into account, a light steel frame solution was certainly the most appropriate,” van Zyl says.

The initial design – before Rancor was called in – was based on brick and mortar with concrete beams but after the foundation footings were opened, it was immediately apparent that additional footings would add so much cost and time to the project the design was an unviable option.

Rancor was then invited by Loutjie van Deventer and Hannes De Kock from architect/engineering firm De Kock & Vernote to provide a solution in LSF that would do the job.

This was done successfully. “LSF met all the requirements and, in addition, put less stress and weight on the existing walls,” van Zyl says adding that Jaco Kotze of Stahlbau Construction, the main contractor, accepted the solution without hesitation.

Scope of Works Description

Light Steel Frame was used for the trusses, which spanned 17 meters with large openings opening on the front deck of 10 meters free span over the exterior window stagger doors.  

Marley fibre cement boards were used for flooring on the joists, with special sound mats between the joists to reduce sound transmission, which was further reduced by acoustic ceilings and the   additional height achieved through the design.

Internal board 15mm Marley Gypsum boards with full skim of 3mm and cavitybat from ISOVER, with Fibre cement boards Marley supplied with top 20mm galvanised battens and cladded with Diamond deck externally and roof.  Some sections was clad with Enviro cladding.

We were on time and in budget and the new Paarl Kaap Agri head office was occupied with great enthusiasm and satisfied customer.  

Efficiency is the name of the game

John Barnard, Southern African Light Steel Frame Building Association (SASFA) director, says it is encouraging that an increasing number of construction professionals are recognising the environmental benefits and long-term cost savings of LSFB. He says that sustainability with regard to buildings is essentially based on three criteria: social acceptability, affordability and energy efficiency and that LSFB rates highly on all of the sustainability considerations:

  • LSF buildings appear no different to ‘conventionally’ built structures, except that the quality of finishes is typically better with the former. It has found rapidly growing acceptance for ‘affordable’ as well as up-market buildings in South Africa.
  • It is a cost-effective building method, with financial savings emanating mainly from significant time savings to complete building projects, less rework, reduced logistical costs –which are of growing importance due to the escalation of fuel prices and general construction inflation – and a drastic reduction of rubble on building sites, when compared with the brick-and-mortar alternative.
  • LSF building is significantly more energy efficient than heavy construction methods – both with regard to ‘embodied energy’ of the materials and components, as well as ‘operational energy’ relating to heating and cooling of the building over its design life.

All three of Barnard’s criteria are met on the Kaap Agri project. In fact, as far as energy efficiency is concerned, the R-value (the measure of thermal insulation) of the Kaap Agri external walls is 2.78 which is more than a 1000% better insulation than if it had been built with conventional building materials and significantly more sound proof.

Barnard says that the Kaap Agri project is indicative of an area of construction where LSF is increasingly playing an important role. “It is not only perfect for renovation-type work on existing structures, but, also, LSF building is in general becoming increasingly relevant in a construction environment that is facing rising costs in materials and transport and in an end-user environment where energy costs are soaring and environmental issues are paramount,” Barnard concludes.

So successful was the solution brought by Rancor to Kaap Agri, Rancor was asked asked to assist with a solution to the Kaap Agri Simonduim project, about halfway through the Paarl Head Office construction period.  

Both projects were finished on time and within budget.

Kaap Agri

Kaap Agri began formally with the establishment of De Westelike Graanboeren Koörporatiewe Vereniging (Wesgraan) in 1912 as a cooperative. Over the years the company expanded with a branch and silo network in the Swartland and the Boland. From 1930 to 1950 various other cooperatives were established in neighboring towns and areas. They all basically delivered the same services as Wesgraan. In 1981 the first large amalgamation took place when Western Province Fruitgrowers and Wesgraan joined forces to form WP (Koörperatief) Beperk. Since then further amalgamations have taken place with Drakenstein Vrugtekwekers and Wynland Koöperasie.

In 1995 WP (Koörporatief) was converted to a public company, WPK Landbou Beperk. This was the first of the former cooperatives that converted from a cooperative to a company. In the meantime, Porterville Landboukoöperasie and Noord-Boland Koörporasie amalgamated to form Boland Agri. The current Kaap Agri had its origins when WPK and Boland Agri amalgamated in 2005.

Today the Kaap Agri area of operation includes the Swartland, Boland, Wynland, Overberg, Langkloof, Namaqualand, Orange River, Sundays River Valley, Namibia, and the areas in between, as well as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.


Charl van Zyl  (CEO and Founder of Rancor) has more than 25 years of international business experience and has been specializing for the last 10 years in the Light Steel Frame Industry. He started his own company in South Africa in 2007 beginning with delivering roof truss systems to the local market.  Within 8 months his business became the largest LGS roof truss business in the province.  After specializing in LSF roof truss systems, Charl developed his business to residential and commercial building projects with much success. Charl started Rancor after selling his previous company in 2016 and brings with him the experience of more than 500 individual projects in LSF, where he has been involved in all aspects of design, project management, pre-planning, and the construction of projects – always with a hands-on approach to projects, leading to successful completion.

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.