The Gauteng Department of Education gave out 9 Alternative Building Technology (ABT) Schools in 2018, with the aim to adjudicate the various building systems and see if there were advantages to be had using any of the systems.

Abacus Space Solutions was awarded one school, Protea Glen Secondary school no. 2; following their submission of a SANS 517:2013 based school. Local studio Architects, who have a number of Light Steel Frame projects to their name, including the well-accredited Hillbrow Outreach Program, were appointed as the Architect.

The structure and space requirements for the GDE are laid out in their previous project designs, so the brief to the Architect was to work within those parameters, but to create flow and harmonious structures conducive to learning.

Local Studio set about tailoring the generic GDE drawings to suite the site and designing a school layout and buildings that would be the best for the site. SMC Africa where tasked with the detailing and construction portion of the project. Craig Tyndall from the Structural Workshop, who is well experienced in Light Steel Frame construction was responsible for structural engineering.

Hennie Snyman of Luleka, was appointed the Civil Engineering Consultant and was responsible for slab design, and handling of, amongst other things, the dolomitic area. The site was classified as a type 3 dolomitic area, requiring ring- beams and raft foundations.

The advantages of LSF framing to be capitalized on for this project were:

  • Speed – the project started in August with the structures (3421m2) being completed by the 15th December. This was the first of the 9 schools to achieve works completion.
  • Acoustics– this is particularly important in a school and the superior acoustic properties of the walls stop sound transmission between classrooms.
  • Temperature – the rooms are temperate and noticeably cool in hot ambient temperatures.
  • The flexibility of design- Local Studio was able to capitilise on the flexibility of the building system to create lofted ceilings and acentric roof lines to create unique aesthetic structures

A variety of ABT technologies were chosen by the client, in order to evaluate them.  Abacus space solutions chose LSF  due to their experience in it, and their knowledge that the product is superior to other building methods.

A brief description of the structural framing and use of LSFB

The structure is a Framemaster 90mm by 38mm cold rolled section in 0.8mm galvanised steel. The roof structures are Structural Insulating Panels with Chromadek® finish. Walkways are mild steel C, and rectangular hollow sections.

The LSF system is in line with the requirements of SANS 517:2013. The inner skin is 15mm Gypsum, with a 110mm cavity batt, Tyvec, building wrap, 21mm shutterply runners and 12mm fibreboard external sheeting. The joints are treated with a two-part epoxy, with expansion joints where detailed. The external paint is Weatherguard PVA.

As there are a number of repeated building elements, or minor variations, there is a huge advantage in using LSF, as the rollformer needed to merely manufacturer multiple of the same buildings, thus saving on detailing time.

The large span capacity of the 125mm SIP panels, in conjunction with LSF beams, allows for elevated internal spaces that create open light classrooms.

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

The inclined wing walls on the buildings would not have been as easily achieved with conventional building methods. The design choice of the inclined Chromadek® clad Structural Insulating Panel roofs provided unique Architectural features.

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

The experience of the Architect and LSF Contractor in using LSF, as well as the quick feedback loop allowed for accurate design and detailing work to be done relatively easily. The in-house 3d detailing done by the LSF Contractor improved communications between all of the relevant professions.

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 LSFB work November 2018
Completion date of full project February 2019
Tons of LSF used 40t
Span of trusses and Kg/m2 (if applicable) 8m
Profiles used    

Framemaster 90mm

Type of cladding Fibre Board and render
Nominator SMCAfrica
Client/ Developer GDE
Architect Local Studio
Structural Engineer The Structural Workshop
Engineer Luleka Consulting Engineers
Quantity Surveyor Diva Sync
Project Manager Pro-Plan Consulting Engineers PTY Ltd
Main Contractor Abacus Space Solutions
Steelwork Contractor Emkay
Steel Erector SMCAfrica
Cladding Manufacturer Marley
Cladding Supplier Marley
Cladding Contractor SMCAfrica

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.