Consulting engineering firm Aurecon’s R400-million project to construct the new Engineering III building and parkade, at the University of Pretoria’s Hatfield campus, is scheduled for completion early this month.
The project was started in September 2009 after government identified the need to train more engineers.
“This, combined with the urgent need for additional parking space for the university’s students, staff and visitors, was the driving force behind the construction of the new building and parkade,” says Aurecon structural engineering technical director Johann Weinmann.
The four-storey building consists of parking facilities for 1 000 vehicles, six large lecture halls (two 500-seater lecture halls and four 200-seater lecture halls), a 450-seater drawing hall, 17 laboratories, two sound rooms, about 41 offices and 25 postgraduate offices, as well as meeting rooms.
The parkade is located on four levels, two of which are underground storeys, while the new teaching facilities are housed in the two upper-level storeys.
Further, the new building is situated between the campus’s Aula auditorium, the Musaion building and the Engineering II building.
Weinmann says the new building’s main concourse level is linked to the Aula auditorium through link bridges.
“Although the new building is a concrete frame structure with hidden steel roof trusses above the auditoriums, steel was used in various applications around the building,” says Weinmann.
The R7-million steelwork aspect of the project was completed in May.
He adds that about 230 t of structural steel, including tubular and hot-rolled steel sections with various types of cladding, was used in the project.
Other steel components in the building are a steel and glass lift shaft, a number of canti- levering steel stairs and steel link bridges that include a minimalist glass-clad steel bridge, which connects the building to the neighbouring Musaion building.
Large metal cowls were also installed at the top of the building’s chimneys to assist ventilation through convection.
Weinmann says new Revit Structure 2011 building information modelling (BIM) software was used for the structures.
“This was the first project of this size where Aurecon used Revit.”
Designed by US-based multinational cor- poration Autodesk, the software offers the benefit of complete and accurate three- dimensional modelling, compared with manual two-dimensional electronic drawings.
The project faced some challenges in terms of the unfavourable orientation of the site, which resulted in the long eastern and western elevations receiving direct sun.
“Combined with the extensive use of windows for natural lighting, this resulted in potentially significant heat gains that would necessitate extensive air conditioning. “This was not ideal for the energy efficiency design required by the client,” says architectural firm ARC Architects owner Anton De Jongh.
ARC was responsible for the architectural aspect of the project.
However, the challenge was partially overcome through the use of steel in various forms as shading devices. These include conventional horizontal louvres, vertical shading screens consisting of woven steel mesh in steel frames, as well as green walls.
The green walls comprise steel frames that run along the full height of the walls and are filled with interchangeable planters containing vegetation.
“The steel frames were meticulously designed to support the considerable load of the soil in the planters, while minimising the amount of bracing to maintain the desired, aesthetically pleasing appearance,” Weinmann says.
ARC Architects was also responsible for the project management.
The task of quantity surveying was undertaken by quantity surveyor firm Pentad and construction consultant Davis Langdon.
Construction contracting was awarded to building contractor Stefanutti Stocks Building Gauteng, while the steelwork was contracted to engineering firm Nancy Engineering.