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Structural, civil and wet services engineering for Nedbank Ridgeside Office Block, South Africa

Completed in December 2010, the Nedbank Ridgeside Office Block is approximately 6 500 square metres, consisting of a four-storey office block and a three-level super basement.

The project, which sets the standard for all future development of the Ridgeside precinct, was unusual in the degree of collaboration it required from the professional team. The strict requirements of the Green Star rating system forced the professional team to challenge tried and tested building practices to come up with innovative ways of achieving the sustainability targets.

Aurecon provided all of the wet services for the project, including rainwater drainage, achieving 100% of the available points under the “Water” credit. This was achieved through techniques such as rainwater harvesting from the entire roof area and a system to collect stormwater which channelled run-off from all hard surfaces into a water retention facility. The harvested rainwater is treated and reused for flushing toilets, irrigation and heat rejection by the cooling towers.

An added challenge arose in the fact that the site is located on deep Berea red sands which are both highly erodible and difficult to work with when wet due to the high clay content. A detailed stormwater management plan, covering the site and associated platform areas for offices and materials, was implemented to control and attenuate stormwater during the construction phase. This included bank protection, channels and temporary attenuation ponds.

Category for category, the professional team collaborated to ensure the stringent Green Star sustainability criteria were met in each of the seven categories: indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, and emissions.

The project required the combining of the full site development stormwater attenuation facility, water re-use storage requirements, a water feature and the necessary pumping equipment into a single aesthetically appealing facility that complimented the architectural design of the building. This required the use of a pond lining, gabion walls and landscaping.

In designing the services, there was extensive co-ordination required between the team members to ensure services were installed in the correct positions to service future tie-ins, to not obstruct piles and other footings and to connect to bulk municipal services being designed by others.

With this project, Aurecon’s sustainability credentials were further endorsed when Nedbank Ridgeside in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) achieved a Four Star Certified Rating, thereby becoming the second office development in South Africa to be fully certified, and the first in KZN.

This rating stands as testament to the fact that teamwork and dedication remain key success factors in the pursuit of an environmentally sustainable development.