I recently caught up with Vela SBS and inparticular David van Zyl (Director) and asked him his thoughts on the recentlycompleted and much acclaimed Athletes Village for the All Africa Games in Maputo. The athlete’s village was constructed in record time to house roughly6500 athletes from 48 countries. As Mozambique was not originally the intendedvenue for the 10th All Africa Games, (originally designated for Zambia) theconstruction team had literally half the amount of time to construct thenecessary structures at their disposal.
我最近采访了vela SBS的David van Zyl(主任)，问他关于最近再非洲玛托普完成的运动员村的想法。这个能容纳来自48个国家的6500名运动员的项目在建造时间上破了纪录。因为本来莫桑比克不是最初的承办国家(最初为赞比亚)，因此施工队伍只有差不多一半的时间来完成项目。
Located in Zimpeto, a suburb ofMozambique’s capital city, Maputo, the Athletes Village will provide 848apartments in a configuration of 27 four-storey buildings. Each of theapartments will consist of three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, living room,dining room, kitchen and front and rear verandas – a total living space ofalmost 100 000sqm. The scale and time frame of such a project would surelycreate anxiety amongst the most efficient of construction teams and as a resulta solution was much-needed as to how such accommodation was able to beconstructed in this short period of time. It was the limited amount of time toconstruct that gave LSF (Light Steel Frame) construction an opportunity tohighlight one of its major benefits it brings to the construction industry.
Below, I ask Dave (DvZ) his thoughts as towhy companies such as Vela SBS recognise this method of construction and why hethinks it will only grow in stature as more and more structures are designedand constructed with LSF…
AB: Why did the client on this projectdecide to utilise lightweight construction?
DvZ: There was no other viable buildingsystem that could provide the solution in the time frame required.
AB: Do you feel that light steel frame isunder utilised in the local building industry and if so why?
DvZ: It is totally underutilised in thelocal building industry. This is due to a number of factors namely lack ofskills in the building trade; resistance to different building technologies;lack of understanding of the technologies available and large-scale players inthis market who can offer the entire solution.
AB: In order to build momentum with thismethod of construction, what should the public/government come to realise aboutits benefits in comparison with conventional brick and mortar projects?
DvZ: There is a limited realisationregarding the benefits of these new building technologies. There is currently alack of delivery capacity in the market to deliver on large-scale projectswhich results in the more prominent projects going with traditional buildingtechniques.
AB: Apart from the speed of construction,what other benefits do you see with light steel frame construction?
DvZ: Speed is one of the major benefits.The other benefits include thermal performance (resulting in increased energyefficiencies), reduced waste, reduced use of materials in the building, ease offuture alterations, improved seismic performance.
AB: By using light weight frames toconstruct the “shell” of the structure, it lends itself to the application ofmany different types of building materials – name a few that you find favour inas far as a performance material is concerned?
DvZ: Improved plumbing and electricalsystems, lightweight flooring systems, spray plasters, improved servicesreticulation.
AB: In South Africa, we tend to utilisemethods and standards that have been tried and tested for many years. In thesame context as people purchasing a 2011 model car instead of a car designed,lets say in the 60’s, how do we influence and create relevant awareness in thebuilding industry that technology has changed and should be embraced to meet“and exceed” our habitat requirements?
DvZ: The building of projects such as theMaputo Athletes Village showcases what is possible, and these projects willstart gaining momentum. Awareness becomes a reality when people can actuallysee real projects being completed.
AB: Where do you find a void in the buildingindustry that is an opportunity to exploit by government or private enterprise?
DvZ: There are many voids right from theentry-level RDP, right up to the large-scale projects. The opportunities aremore in the niche building offerings.
AB: What project of similar nature willVela SBS be involved with next?
DvZ: We have numerous projects currently indelivery as well as a strong pipeline going forward.
With examples of projects such as theAthletes Village in Maputo, we are able to see that solutions to issuesrelating to shortage of housing in South Africa, not only from a social housingbacklog, but also towards large-scale structures and up-market residentialhouses as well as housing estates are achievable with well thought out designand construction. Paramount to the success of LSF in the future is the trainingof construction workers and the promotion of this method amongst our designersat all levels, from students through to established design practices.
LSF needs no introduction, as a derivativefrom conventional timber construction, the common practices still apply.Building materials with high performance characteristics are available (inSouth Africa) and have been for some time. The SANS 517 building code isalready established and bodies such as SASFA conduct courses for builders,designers and inspectors.
Future growth is now placed on ourconstruction industry to embrace this method with all the benefits it possessesand encourage further development into LSF structures in all regions of SouthAfrica…