What is the purpose of the structure/ project?

In order to reconfigure its processing operations for a new model, Mercedes Benz South Africa (MBSA) is looking to upgrade part of its facility based in East London. One of the upgrade works involves the construction of a new logistics building on J-Site within the East London plant. This project involves the construction of amongst other structures, the following:-

  1. a) J site Logistics building,
  2. b) Gate House to replace the existing
  3. c) Hawker Stalls to replace the existing
  4. d) Dry Link connection between the J Site building and the existing F11 Assembly building
  5. e) Truck Canopy

The client opted for a turnkey contract solution for the project and Stefanutti Stocks were appointed on February 2017.  AECOM were appointed by Stefanutti Stocks as their design consultants.

What was the brief to the architect?

The client’s aimed to construct a new Logistics Building with good accessibility for suppliers and a good connection to Assembly to feed the manufacturing process, with the building footprint maximising all available space on the site. The turnkey contractor was to propose energy saving initiatives which needed to be incorporated into the design.  The principal design philosophy is to provide a structural support arrangement which provides a robust and sustainable structural solution, ensuring the space provided is suitable for its intended use.

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

The Logistics building is approximately 21 000m2. A gridline system of 28m in the East-West direction and 15m in the North-South direction is used. The Logistics building has a structural steel roof with a slope of 2% (1.2 degree pitch).  Hot rolled IPE purlins are spaced at 3.0m and span 7.5m between the trusses. The trusses span 28m and are supported on girders spanning 15m. The trusses and girders are 2.2m deep and consist of UC’s for the top and bottom cords and double angles for diagonals. A clear height of 10m is allowed for between the floor and underside of the roof trusses. All services are therefore located within the roof cavity. To maximise the usable floor area and ensure flexibility for racking layouts, no vertical bracing was used.  This also ensured that expansion of the building could take place in all directions.  To obtain lateral stability, the concrete columns were used up to 8m above floor level and catladders with a perimeter parapet were provided for maintenance.

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

The exterior of the new building is largely an aluminium cassette facade to avoid corrosion, with corresponding insulation.  The roof is constructed with 2 layers mineral torch-on plastomeric waterproofing membrane that is each 4.5mm thick on 60mm fibre rock wool insulation board. The board is fixed to Safintra Saflok 700 0,8mm thick steel AZ 150 (inverted) sheets, which are in turn fixed to the purlins.  The non-standard 0,8mm steel Saflok sheet was rolled and load tested at the Safintra premises in Pinetown.  This was required due to both the load and spans being beyond the product catalogue guidelines, as well as the sheeting used in an inverted position to provide almost continuous support to the insulation board.  A complete mock-up of the roof system was built at Safintra’s premises for testing purposes as well as on site for the client’s approval.

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.

Little in the way of fabrication and erection challenges were encountered due to the fact that the concept design involved all parties – steelwork contractor, shop drawing detailer and the steel erection team.  Available sections, lead times, splice positions and section lengths, transport and erection were all discussed and agreed on before final design commenced.

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

The roof design loads on the Logistics Building include future PV cell installation, the self-weight of the built-up roofing system, technical services and conveyor loading.  This loading is far in excess of the average industrial building loading, resulting in a potentially heavier overall structure. Savings on the steel tonnage was however made by breaking away from the norm in utilising hot-rolled purlins, designing out the requirement for sag bars, and truss and girder connections were fashioned to eliminate the need for gusset plates.

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

All design and contracting disciplines on the project worked within an integrated 3D environment. With the ability to interrogate models virtually before breaking ground on-site led to significantly less RFI’s and reduced critical clashes on-site when compared to traditional 2D based project workflows. Consultants generally create design intent models up to about an LODev (Level of Development) 300, on the J-Site Project we were able to run clash detection bi-weekly against the design Revit models using a combination of Autodesk BIM 360 Glue and Autodesk Navisworks software. The once fabrication models were completed by the steel fabricator in Tekla software, we were able to do our final clash detection checks against with models up to LODev 500. At this year’s Daimler Supplier Awards, which recognises Daimler’s suppliers for outstanding performance, Stefanutti Stocks Pty Ltd was recognised for its excellence in the Partnership Category for the Mercedes-Benz Logistics Warehouse and Gate Complex. This is a reflection of the collaboration on the project between all parties.

Tons of structural steel used ±818 tons including Truck Canopy
Structural profiles used Hot rolled open sections, cold formed lipped channels
Cladding profile/ type used Safintra Tufdek Aluminium Cladding, Safintra Saflok 700 steel decking (0,8mm thick) inverted roof sheeting
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 23 500m²    35tons (Roof), 8 700m²    155 tons (Side)

This project overview, motivation and technical information was provided by the project nominator. If you were a part of this project and notice that information is incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.


Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator AECOM
Client/ Developer Mercedes-Benz South Africa
Architect AECOM
Structural Engineer AECOM
Engineer Not provided by nominator
Quantity Surveyor Stefanutti Stocks
Project Manager AECOM
Main Contractor Not provided by nominator
Steelwork Contractor Impact Engineering
Steel Erector Not provided by nominator
Cladding Manufacturer Safintra
Cladding Supplier Safintra
Cladding Contractor Impact Engineering
Corrosion Protection
Galvanising
Not provided by nominator
Corrosion Protection
Paintwork Contractor
Insimbi Coatings
Photographer, Photo competition Not provided by nominator
Photographer, Other submitted images Not provided by nominator

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.