Tag Archives: Concor

CONCOR BUILDS WORLD CLASS DATA CENTRE FOR ORANGE BOTSWANA

Construction of the new Data Centre for Orange Botswana is well underway, with this fast track construction project being undertaken by Concor Buildings set to deliver the Tier III Data Centre before the end of 2019.

The Orange Botswana facility, situated in the Botswana Innovation Hub and Technology Park in Gaborone, will be a central point of connectivity for national and international networking and will provide data services to customers in the region.

Brian Carter, operations director at Concor Buildings, says that with an established track record of delivering quality projects including the recently completed Energy Centre at Bank of Botswana, the company offered the requisite expertise and access to resources including skilled local personnel.

Concor has been active in Botswana for more than 50 years and constructed many buildings in Gaborone and Francistown. This includes I-Towers 1 and 2, the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales Complex, the Bank of Botswana Cash Handling Centre and the FNB Head Office as well as infrastructure for Debswana’s Jwaneng Diamond Mine.

The data centre comprises two plant yards, built on either side of the main data hall, to provide concurrently maintainable and fully redundant electrical and mechanical systems to the data centre. The main MEP plant supplying the data hall and other auxiliary facilities are due for installation.

The data centre itself comprises data space – live and future – with electrical rooms on either side facilitating the feeding of the data centre from two sources. Services within the centre include access control, an integrated fire monitoring and alarm system with fire suppression, data trays, air conditioning units, plumbing and drainage and the complete low voltage and medium voltage electrical installation.

The plant yards which feed the electrical rooms are equipped with standby diesel generators, diesel storage tanks and air-cooled outdoor condensers.

External works include the construction of a guard house, parking with carports, bulk diesel and transformer yards, paving, landscaping and perimeter fencing.

Carter says that allowance has been made for future phased expansion in data space and electrical rooms as well in vertical extension.

“While the structure is a standard concrete frame with brick fill, the external walls are cavity walls with an internal vapour barrier. This construction will significantly reduce the building’s mechanical and electrical loads making it more energy efficient and ensuring a stable environment for the data hall,” he says.

In line with Concor Buildings’ operating strategy, Major Incident Prevention (MIP) and Visible Felt Leadership (VFL) programmes are in place on the project. Ongoing safety awareness and risk assessment is further facilitated by a full-time safety officer on the project.

Areas that have received special focus include working at height and activities which need to be conducted in and around the open exterior services excavations on site. These include data sleeves, electrical sleeves, diesel sleeves, fire and plumbing installations and manholes. In addition to this, access to finishes below the 1,2 metre access floor need to take priority.

While the use of local labour was not a prerequisite on the project, some 95% of the on-site people, including employees and subcontractors, are local. Carter says ongoing skills development forms a part of Concor’s commitment to the country and the company’s sustainability model.

The Orange Botswana Data Centre is scheduled for completion in the last quarter of 2019. The centre is expected to cover 81% of the population with 2G network capability, 62% with 3G and 45% with 4G.

CONCOR ON TOP OF STYLISH NEW FWJK ILLOVO DEVELOPMENT

The elegant Illovo Central mixed-use block near Sandton being constructed by Concor Buildings has topped out at 15 floors and is due for completion in March next year.

In a format driven by developers FWJK and increasingly popular in South Africa’s urban designs, the building will be a combination of office space and residential units. With parking taking up levels 1 to 5, there will be offices on floors 6 to 8 and apartments from floors 9 to 15. The living units are a combination of sizes including 80 studio apartments, 36 one-bedroom units, 43 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom penthouse apartments.

Bulk earthworks began in May 2018, when 27,800 m3 of spoil was removed for the first three levels. According to Concor Buildings contract manager Fanie Stadler, this phase required the removal of considerable quantities of rock. In the southern corner of the property, the rock layers almost protruded at ground level.

Given the close proximity to other buildings in this well-developed suburb, Concor Buildings conducted smaller, controlled blasts to ensure the highest levels of safety. The planning and monitoring of these blasts also considered a Gautrain servitude tunnel below, and a school across the road.

“Dust control was also a key issue, which we implemented and monitored closely in line with our stringent health and safety standards,” Stadler says.

The concrete structure has been built around a lift core for four passenger lifts and a fireman’s lift. Two tower cranes have been a feature of the skyline on this project, improving efficiencies on a site that is severely space-constrained. One tower crane with its 60 m jib has focused its lifting on horizontal decking, while the other with 55 m jib provided additional hoisting for column and the shaft core formwork and concrete.

An interesting innovation that Concor Buildings has applied in constructing inner walls has been the use of Everite Hebel autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks. This lightweight building block has a number of benefits for modern buildings, Stadler says.

“The lighter load on the concrete slabs means that these slabs can be designed slightly thinner and with less reinforcing bar,” he says. While a typical brick and mortar wall is about 350 kg/m2, an AAC block wall load is closer to 90 kg/m2.

The uniform surface of an AAC wall also allows for a thinner skim coat finish, rather than the usual 12 mm of mortar required for a normal brick wall. This has positive material and logistical implications as less water, sand and cement need to be transported to and around the site. There is also mixing of mortar on site which makes for a generally cleaner site, with less dust.

Stadler highlights that the inclusion of AAC blocks has allowed Concor Buildings to demonstrate its building expertise and precision, while also further developing the skills of its subcontractors.

“With the benefits of these lightweight blocks come the demands of accuracy and attention to detail,” he says. “Added skill is required in the block laying, as well as in the plastering.”

As part of Concor Buildings’ development programme, the company worked with the block supplier to train and mentor subcontractors in working smarter and enhancing their skill levels with new techniques. This delivered the exact tolerances demanded to closely match the building’s structure with the blockwork and the glazing.

The performance glass on the outside of the building is low-e, reflecting long-wave infrared energy to keep the inside of the building cool and reduce load on the air conditioning system. A Marmoran wall coating is applied as a protective and aesthetic layer.

As with many developments in dense suburban areas, space to work has been at a premium at Illovo Central. The site office has even had to move into the building itself.

The project’s location on Rivonia Road has demanded meticulous coordination of materials delivery by Concor Buildings, while council bylaws have meant no overtime can be worked in the suburb. The construction team has therefore had to maintain tight working efficiencies to keep the project on track.

EXXARO’S BELFAST MINE GETS CONCOR EXPERTISE

Concor Infrastructure is building dams, roads, platforms and other works at Exxaro’s new digital coal mine near Belfast in Mpumalanga province.

At work since October 2017, Concor Infrastructure is constructing four major dams, 26 concrete platforms and terraces, 37 internal roads of 16 km in length, and the upgrade of almost 13 km of provincial roads, among other aspects of the mine.

According to Concor Infrastructure contracts manager Pierre van Vuuren, dams are being lined with both a geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) and high density polyethylene (HDP) sheets, in compliance with the water use licence and related environmental regulations. Various structures around the dams are also being installed, including large silt traps, drying beds, inflow chutes to prevent scouring, and spillways and sumps.

Among the concrete platforms and terraces are two primary crusher bases being built for the run-of-mine crushing facilities. The various structures being built by Concor Infrastructure on the mine will demand almost 350 tonnes of steel reinforcing, and nearly 2,700 tonnes of bulk cement. Other inputs will be around 15,000 tonnes of 19 mm aggregate and nearly 13,000 tonnes of crusher sand.

Dams are lined in compliance with environmental regulations and best practice.

Extensive upgrading is being done on the D1770 and D1110 provincial roads – for the transport of coal to the rail siding – including eight major culverts under the roadway. For all the project’s road works, almost 9,5 km of subsoil drains is to be installed, as well as 2,7 km of stormwater culverts. G5 and G6 construction material comes from an external quarry and crushing plant located about 30 km from site towards Carolina.

Contracts manager Mabandla Dlamini highlights the substantial local impact of the project, including the accommodation of a core labour complement of about 180 personnel in the Emakhazeni municipal district. The overall workforce managed by Concor Infrastructure, with contractors, totals closer to 700 – who are all transported 30 km daily by the local taxi network.

Dlamini also points out that various subcontracts are outsourced to local small enterprises, such as drainage, stone pitching, paving, kerbing, fencing, security services and catering. Diesel is also sourced from a local fuel depot in Belfast; the project is expected to consume about 4,3 million litres of diesel in site-wide applications.

Over 150 items of plant and equipment are active on the site, says site agent Sarel van der Berg, with about 40 items such as articulated dump trucks, tippers and graders from local plant hirers.