Absa Towers West office development, South Africa

2nd September 2011 By: Lindiwe Molekoa

Name and Location
Absa Towers West office development, Gauteng, South Africa.

Project Description
The Absa Towers West development covers three city blocks and comprises two office towers, designated site A and site B, as well as a parkade – site C. The three buildings, with a total floor space of 160 000 m², span across Main, Troye, Anderson and Von Weilligh streets in Johannesburg.

The office towers are 15-storeys-high, consisting of eight floors of office space, three floors of combination space and four floors of basement parking.

The parkade building provides 18 levels of parking space, with four basements and 14 storeys above ground, which are able to accommodate over 100 cars at each level.

The parkade features lighting with motion sensors that reduce energy requirements, and includes an energy centre in the basement.

The idea for the energy centre came from the need for a reliable energy backup supply for the building. The unit self-generates 11.2 MW of electricity through a gas turbine, which does not emit smoke or exhaust gas smells. Its gas engines are quiet, but the centre also has a high level of sound attenuation. It runs from 07:00 to 20:00 on weekdays and is expected to save the company more than two-thirds of its yearly electricity costs and decrease the company’s carbon footprint by about 19 000 t/y.

Light fittings in the offices have motion sensors and daylight dimmers.

The building uses a grey-water system, which is able to recycle 43 000 ℓ/d of water – the largest in South Africa. The rainwater, which is used in the gym showers and fitness centre, is collected and reused to flush toilets and urinals.

Hot water for the showers and washbasins is heated by heat recovery at the chiller plant.

One of the most interesting features of the development is the above-ground linking bridge, spanning 17 m across Marshall street, connecting the two office components over seven levels above ground level. The bridge accommodates office space, as well as a landscaped atrium space.

Value
R1.8-billion.

Duration
The grand opening ceremony of the Absa Towers West office was held on July 18, 2011.

Client
Absa.

Key Contracts and Suppliers
Murray & Roberts (M&R) Construction (80%) and Enza Construction (20%) (construction); Mokala Collins/JM Henrey & Associates joint venture (JV) (project managers); Poloko Architectural JV, GLH Architects and Motsepe Architects (architects); SBDS Quantity Surveyors/Thabo Senyolo & Partners JV (quantity surveyors); WSP Structures in JV with Asakheni Consulting Engineers (structural and civil engineering related designs); Spoormaker & Partners/DTM Engineering JV (mechanical engineers); Taemane Consulting (electrical engineers); Johnson Controls Systems & Services South Africa (variable-speed drive (VSD) chillers and control system); Paragon Interface (interior architecture); Coprax (piping system); CDM Africa (Clean Development Mechanism and carbon trading solutions) and Diesel Electric Services (natural gas-powered generating sets); WSP Group (structural engineer, wet services consultant and sustainable design consultant); and Schindler (lifts and escalators).

Latest Developments
August 2011

On July 18, the Absa Towers West office, which houses more than 3 000 of the bank’s staff members, was officially inaugurated.

June 2010
M&R reports that the Absa Towers West project has reached the phase where sectional handovers need to be achieved, starting at the end of March 2010 through to August 2010, allowing the ‘fit-out’ project to proceed. The construction contractor is a joint venture between M&R Construction and Enza Construction.

M&R has also been contracted to do the project ‘fit-out’, which will be substantially complete by the end of 2010, with ‘certain sections’ being completed in early 2011.

Absa staff, however, will start taking up residence in the new facility by November this year.

February 2010
Johnson Controls Systems & Services South Africa will provide VSD chillers for the offices, as well as the installation of a control system that will integrate all the chillers to make it easier to control and monitor the building's cooling.

April 2009
The Absa Towers West project is not only transforming the Johannesburg inner city skyline, it is taking green building in the city centre to a new level, as the financial giant has committed to design and construct its new offices incorporating green building elements.

The building is modelled according to the Green Star SA energy modelling protocol, after which the modelled Absa Towers West will be compared with a notional building modelled according to the SANS 204 (energy efficiency in buildings standards) ‘deemed to satisfy’ criteria. Green Star rating points are awarded on the percentage improvement of the Absa building over the SANS 204 building.

On Budget and on Time?
The project has been completed.

Contact Details for Project Information
Absa Real Estate Asset Management, Quinton van Wyk, tel +27 11 671 7405 or fax +27 11 671 4764; or project manager Collin Taylor, tel +27 11 350 2031, fax +27 11 350 2471 or email Collin.taylor@absa.co.za.
Asakheni Consulting Engineers, tel +27 11 883 9450 or fax +27 11 883 9451.
DTM Engineering president Dave McCutcheon, tel +1 678 517 3730 or email dave@dtmengineering.com.
Enza Construction, tel +27 11 803 7000, fax +27 11 803 7111 or email info@enzacon.co.za.
Mokala Collins JV construction project manager/administrator Délanie Erasmus, tel +27 11 350 2073.
Motsepe Architects, tel +27 11 331 3340, fax +27 11 331 5418 or email reception@motsepearchitects.co.za.
M&R group communications executive Ed Jardim, tel +27 11 456 6200, fax +27 11 455 1322 or email eduard.jardim@murrob.com.
SBDS Quantity Surveyors, tel +27 11 884 3236, fax +27 11 884 3237 or email sbdsjnb@iafrica.com.
Spoormaker & Partners, Henk Spoormaker, tel +27 12 663 3125, fax +27 12 663 1960 or email info@spoormaker.co.za.
Taemane Consulting, tel +27 11 608 5000, fax +27 11 608 3333 or email gauteng@taemane.co.za.
Thabo Senyolo & Partners, tel +27 11 887 5183, fax +27 11 786 7945, cell +27 82 441 2734 or email info@senyolo.co.za.
WSP Energy Africa (Green by Design) director Eric Noir, tel +27 11 300 6174 or email eric.noir@wspgroup.co.za.
WSP Group South Africa, tel +27 11 361 1300 or fax +27 11 361 130.
WSP Structures directors    John Truter, tel +27 11 300 6011 or email john.truter@wspgroup.co.za; or Arno Ellmer, email arno.ellmer@wspgroup.co.za.