Paarl first commercial green building

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13 Nov 2012

Cecilia Square, the prestigious new commercial office development adjacent to the Paarl Mall on the N1, is scheduled to open its doors on 1 August 2013, when anchor tenant BKB GrainCo, will move in to occupy the majority of the development’s first phase. 

Cecilia Square is a phased development consisting of two buildings linked by a raised parking deck. The first phase (Building A) is currently under construction, and has been bought by BKB, with their subsidiary, GrainCo, taking its place as main anchor tenant. Construction on the second phase (Building B), which is currently being sold off-plan in sections, is scheduled to start in February 2013.

Cecilia Square is a phased development consisting of two buildings linked by a raised parking deck. The first phase (Building A) is currently under construction, and has been bought by BKB, with their subsidiary, GrainCo, taking its place as main anchor tenant. Construction on the second phase (Building B), which is currently being sold off-plan in sections, is scheduled to start in February 2013. 

Construction has now been under way for more than 5 months and, despite battling some very cold and wet conditions on site this winter, the main contractor, Isipani Construction, is making great strides towards meeting next year’s deadline. 

After months of hard work, the design team is also celebrating the imminent submission of design documentation to the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), which aims to achieve a 4 Green Star SA – Office V1 Design Rating. The submission will be made by the project’s specialist green building consultant, PJ Carew Consulting, after the annual GBCSA conference in October 2012. 

Cecilia Square is the first Green Building to be designed and built by Lazercor Developments, a well-known private property development company in the Cape Winelands. At the project’s inception the directors felt that, in light of SAPOA and the GBCSA’s drive to greening commercial developments in South Africa, the pioneering step of designing and constructing the first Green Building in Paarl would be the right thing to do. According to Mark Teuchert (director), Lazercor’s proud tradition of retaining part ownership in their developments demands quality and a long-term approach to realising capital returns. In this case, the long term payback will be of both monetary and environmental value. 

In the planning phase of the development, Lazercor conducted a great deal of initial research into the viability of turning Cecilia Square into a Green Building, and sourced and appointed a highly qualified professional team with proven interest and experience in Green Building design. Off the bat, the specialist expertise of PJ Carew Consulting was enlisted to assist with the greening of the design.

Following the successful 5 Green Star SA Design Rating of their own offices in Century City, it was decided to appoint Aurecon for all engineering disciplines, including Civil, Structural, Electrical and Mechanical. KMH (project architects), GMQS (professional quantity surveyors) and Lazercor Developments (principal agent), complete the professional team. 

The professional team’s main challenge was to find a way to design an energy-efficient building that would meet specific design criteria on a very tight budget. This was achieved by employing best practice environmental design from first principles, including a north-south orientation and pre-determined building width to allow for optimum sunlight penetration, and to minimise the need for artificial lighting, heating and cooling. Building materials were chosen for their insulation properties, including state of the art double glazing on south-facing facades, and concrete coffered slabs that improve the building’s thermal mass. 

Energy is conserved by using optimum lighting layouts with efficient fittings, and lighting, power and HVAC consumption is monitored and reported on monthly by means of an automated Building Management System. The building also has a state of the art DALI control system, which ensures that electrical lighting is not in use during hours where adequate daylight is available, and that lights switch off automatically when no motion is detected. 

Water-saving strategies include a rainwater harvesting system that collects rainwater from hard surfaces to be re-used for irrigation and flushing, low-flow fittings and water meters that monitor and report on water consumption for all of the building’s main water uses. Cyclist facilities include lockers, showers and bicycle stands, while designated bays are provided for low-fuel vehicles (including motorcycles and mopeds). 

The main contractor, Isipani Construction, has come to the party in terms of greening their construction practices, and two of their project team members, Wynand Smit and Leendert Lorenzen are now certified Green Star Accredited Professionals. At the moment, they are surpassing their aim of an 80% reduction in waste to landfill from the building site for the duration of construction, and they have already gone a long way to ensure that as much waste as possible is re-used or recycled. 

2013 holds great promise for all involved with Cecilia Square, as the project team anticipates the GBCSA design accreditation early next year, followed by the successful completion of Phase 1. Although BKB GrainCo (who will take transfer of Building A on its completion) did not initially specify a Green Building, they now realise the benefits of going green - specifically pertaining to long term cost savings, improved quality of workplace and the resultant improved productivity of their workforce - and they are excited to move in on 1 August 2013. 

Construction on the second (sectional title) phase of the development will commence as soon as enough sales have been secured to obtain funding from Nedbank (the financier behind the development’s first phase) early in February 2013. The developers expect that, when the development is completed and externally valued, the building will be worth much more than a non-green equivalent due to the lower operation costs and improved functioning expected, and that both owners and tenants will directly benefit from this. 

This is the first Green Building that Lazercor has done, but it will definitely not be our last, says developer, Mark Teuchert. "As knowledge in the industry increases, we aim to stay at the cutting edge of developing Green Buildings, and to continue to provide this valuable service to our clients and investors and to the benefit of the environment." 

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