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Aurecon’s key role in top steel awards for Eastgate redevelopment

Aurecon Mark Axelrod at 2016 Steel Awards

Aurecon Eastgate Redevelopment won 2016 Steel Awards

20 October 2016 - Innovative structural steel engineering was recognised at the prestigious 2016 Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) Steel Awards with the Eastgate Phase 2 Redevelopment named the Overall Winner and also the winner in the Commercial Architectural category. Structural and civil engineering services for the project were provided by global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon.

The R500 million redevelopment of Johannesburg's first 'super-regional' shopping centre involved a number of new structures to achieve a transformation of the appearance and space availability. The major change was the relocation of the lower level cinema complex onto a section of the roof level parking area, releasing the lower level space for retail. In addition, the new roof level structure includes substantial extra retail space. Other new steelwork structures include two feature entrance canopies, a feature skylight roof with ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cushions over the central court area, a large feature stairway, a signage wall and a number of infill BOND-DEK slabs.

“Due to weight limitations and the need to minimise disturbance to the shopping centre, steel was the only solution for the main structural component. It enabled a major lightweight structure to be built over an existing concrete structure with minimal foundation underpinning and strengthening,” explains Aurecon Project Director, Mark Axelrod.

Site establishment began in November 2013 and steelwork was completed in March 2016, with final project handover scheduled for December 2016. Standout features from both a design and construction point of view include the construction of the major, roof-level 5 000 m2  structure on a suspended concrete slab over two levels of retail space, while keeping the entire shopping centre operational. Another noteworthy feature of the construction process was underpinning the existing foundations by literally ‘mining’ under the lower level suspended slabs and installing small precast piles, which in itself is unusual and a seldom seen technique.

The new structures involved 1 525 tons of steel and are exceptionally complex with over 13 000 components in the cinema complex alone. Installation presented some major challenges with loading limitations on the rooftop car park slab and the on-site tower crane having a reach limited to 60% of the rooftop area. Steelwork loads were limited to 3.5 tons and had to be manhandled around the site and lifted into position using a scaffold tower and chain blocks.

Fabrication cost saving was achieved by way of innovative connection design, particularly between the numerous beams throughout the lower levels of the cinema complex and all the BOND-DEK slab support beams. The use of specially designed bolted connections rather than welding also resulted in cost saving.

“The superb outcome of the Eastgate Phase 2 Redevelopment project has achieved our expectation of an extremely complex design,” comments Spencer Leggett of client Liberty Group. “Achieving the striking aesthetic impact and creating significant extra lettable space while enabling the centre to continue operating has been a remarkable engineering feat.” 

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