SANRAL’s Baywest Offices Exceed Expectations

Baywest ExteriorAs the first 5-Star Green Star As-built certified office building in the Eastern Cape and the first office project in the Baywest Mall precinct, the Baywest office for SANRAL has set an exceptionally high standard for the projects that follow – both in the precinct itself and in the greater Port Elizabeth area.

“SANRAL wanted a building that could be operated cost-effectively, create an enabling, creative environment to motivate staff, and reflect a professional, modern, high-quality organisation at the forefront of infrastructure development in South Africa,” says Edward Brooks, founding partner at Activate. “Accordingly, the offices have high quality finishes, state of the art systems, exceptional accessibility and a definite market presence. This means that the spaces would attract substantially higher rentals should the building owner elect to fill the building with tenants.”

The project was developed and project managed by Abacus Asset Managment for SANRAL, and comprises 6,000sqm lettable area and 2000sqm basement parking area.

Gavin Blows, Managing Director of Abacus, comments on the process. “Our expectations around the design and delivery of the building were exceeded. A major highlight during the process was the way in which the Activate team received instructions and seamlessly added their unique design flare, while managing the occupants’ requirements and keeping within the project budget. Initially, we were only targeting a 4-Star rating, but with the proactive approach of the professional team, we easily achieved both 5-Star Design and As-built certifications.”

While the 5-Star Green Star rating added about 15% to the capital cost of the project, green building measures ensure that the operating costs throughout the building’s lifecycle will be substantially lower than a typical building of similar type. The sustainable focus of the design was threefold – firstly, to dramatically reduce energy use; secondly, to save and reuse potable water; and thirdly, to provide a quiet, productive work environment.

Thermal double glazed facades

Thermal double-glazed facades, a highly insulated roof and ground floor slab, and an 85kW peak roof-mounted solar PV grid-tied system, which provides 40% of the building’s total energy requirement, have reduced energy consumption by over 50%. A rainwater harvesting and reuse system with a 30,000-litre tank capacity collects rainwater for toilet and urinal flushing to reduce reliance on municipal water supply as well as the cost of this ever-dwindling resource in the future.

Energy and potable water consumption is monitored through a Building Management System (BMS), with data displayed in real time in the public atrium for all visitors and staff to see. Another important aspect of the brief was the reduction of external and internal noise. This was achieved using various sound absorbent materials and acoustic engineering strategies.

Bamboo slatted ceilings at Baywest

Commenting on the workmanship, Brooks observes, “The contractors and service providers involved in the project made a real effort and worked together to produce a very well finished building. The off-shutter concrete work to both the concrete textured west wall and the roof overhang soffits is of a very high standard. The quality of the final finishing including tiling, painted textured plaster, bamboo slatted ceilings, bamboo joinery, as well as the office furniture, will be difficult to match on any South African construction project.”

SANRAL’s Southern Region staff moved into the building in the middle of January 2017. The building has been well received in the region, and WBHO’s Contracts Manager on the project, Ryan Flannagan, noted, “The local industry sees the building as a first for Port Elizabeth. A lot of interest has been generated around the sustainability of the building, and local professionals are very impressed with the design, seeing it as a benchmark for new buildings in the area.”

More about the Baywest Project

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