New civic centre showcases a better way to build

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New civic centre showcases a better way to build

The Greater Giyani Municipality will soon take ownership of its new modern administration offices, with the second-and final phase of the development in the heart of the Giyani central business district now nearing completion.

By February this year, HBC Construction and its team of sub-contractors were making steady progress on the works programme, fitting out the superstructure that was built entirely with a modular pre-cast concrete building system.

Corestruc designed, manufactured and installed the 1 000 tons (t) of pre-cast concrete elements, including 190 columns and beams, as well as 2 900 m² of floor and roof slabs, that make up the new administration block.

They play a critical role in helping meet dbm Architects’ design requirements for a durable structure that will continue to add value for the Greater Giyani Municipality for many years.

All of the pre-cast concrete items are no less than 60 MPa, and were manufactured to exacting standards under tightly-controlled conditions at the company’s state-of-the-art batching plant.

The high levels of batching accuracy achieved in a factory setting are also a major contributor towards Corestruc’s impressive installation track record on sites.

Pre-cast concrete structures are swiftly assembled by small teams. This highly efficient manner of building does away with the need for the erection of scaffolding and propping, as well as the assembly of shuttering and formwork, while eliminating the need to co-ordinate ready-mix concrete deliveries.

Corestruc’s Russell Hobbs says these were all major advantages on this heavily-congested site where the company had to deploy its a 160 t unit, to provide the necessary reach to lift and place each pre-cast concrete element.

“We had just enough space to strategically position the crane half-way on the site to efficiently handle the various elements. Certainly, our system helped overcome many major logistical complexities that would have hindered conventional in-situ construction techniques,” the senior contracts manager says.

Hobbs explains that the columns were installed according to a template that is placed on top of the building’s foundations, and then aligned to achieve the required dimensional accuracy, before installing the pre-cast concrete beams and floor slabs.

By this stage of the build, a stable construction sequence had been established, and the process was repeated all the way to the fourth floor, ending with the placement of the roof slabs. The floor and roof slabs were then filled with a specially-designed non-shrinking grout to provide high weather-proofing properties.

Work on the second phase of the project commenced in the beginning of 2016.

Based on its stellar workmanship during the earlier phase of the programme, Corestruc was also invited to extend the existing council chambers in line with later amendments made to the original design.

Hobbs says the work scope entailed installing 18 additional pre-cast concrete wall panels to lengthen the existing curved wall consisting of 46 wall panels.

Each 5,4 t panel is 9,7 metres (m) high, one metre wide and 200 millimetres (mm) thick, and are joined with quality Bartec Type couplers, which have been imported from Germany.

Again, Corestruc’s teams made light work of this aspect of the programme, completing the installation of the additional panels in four shifts using a team comprising seven people, including a supervisor.

They arrived following the demolition of a section of the existing chambers and the construction of the foundation by Corestruc.

The wall panels were placed and the connections then grouted, ahead of the completion of the second stage in-situ concrete foundations.

“Once the panels were securely supported by propping that was attached to the existing structure, the 320 mm-thick hollow-core roof slabs, with spans of 11,6 m, were installed in a day. A 100 mm-thick reinforced in-situ structural topping layer was then placed over the pre-cast roof elements to complete the extension,” Hobbs says.

The occupation of the building by municipal staff will be another major milestone for Corestruc, which already boasts an impressive portfolio of successful property-related projects. These include a satellite office for the Department of Energy and a six-storey hotel, its largest building-related project to date.

More recently, the company also mobilised its teams to another building project associated with a prominent airport in South Africa – a development that again mirrors the growing popularity of Corestruc’s modular building systems in the country.

Hobbs is convinced that this buoyant outlook will continue as more developers and their professional teams explore a better way of building!

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