Warehouse of durable steel

By Candace Sofianos King

Making a strong appearance in the industrial sector, the Pepkor Warehouse is a sterling steel example.

The recently completed Pepkor Warehouse in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal presents a solid case for steel. Featuring the innovative usage of steel on many levels, the warehouse is roofed and clad with a high tech, premium grade of coated steel that provides not only long life in service but also an attractive and energy efficient finish.

Serving as a distribution centre for the Pepkor Group, the warehouse offers an 82 000m² mixed-use area consisting of covered warehouse space; office space of 3 000m² and 1 800m² respectively for companies Ackermans and Speciality SA; and an additional four 500m² office nodes.

A closer look

“The brief called for about 17.35m clear height to the underside of the eaves. The materials of construction used consist of reinforced concrete and structural steel – to the structural engineer’s design with appropriate corrosion protection where necessary,” explains GD Joubert, senior associate at EDS Engineering Services.

Joubert continues, “It was envisaged from the outset that the warehouse would be constructed largely of structural steel. The main support columns of the warehouse are concrete reaching up to 12.6m and 17m from FFL. The remainder of the structure was constructed from structural steel which was strengthened locally to allow for the installation of solar panels to a roof area of about 15 000m².

“The structural system used for the building was based on a girder truss system carrying lateral trusses that makes up the main elements of the roof. Various steel profiles were used for the building, including the structural, roofing and cladding elements.”

According to Arno Hanekom, regional manager of BlueScope Southern Africa, a critical element of the roof design is the selection of steels. “The metallic coating used on our ZINCALUME steel in coating mass AZ150 comprises 55% aluminium, 43.5% zinc and 1.5% silicon. It has excellent corrosion performance, forming capabilities and is available in high strength grades.

“The continuous hot dip process used to produce the roofing and cladding substrate provides a surface coating which has a shiny appearance with a uniform small spangle. This coating reduces the solar absorptance of the surface. In short, ZINCALUME minimises the fraction of the sun’s energy absorbed by the roof and maximises the fraction reflected, giving an SRI of 63 that endures for up to four times longer – an exceptional feature for a non-painted roofing steel,” explains Hanekom.

Erected by Impact Engineering, the warehouse’s Clean COLORBOND cladding wows in Armour and Volcanic Grey – bold colours used to keyline prominent structural elements on the side of the building in a visually pleasing way.

In a flash

The remarkable aspects of this project are the speed at which the steelwork was erected as well as the completion of the overall project. A total of 2 500 tons of structural steel was raised to the sky. As far as the roof is concerned, Dave Reid, general manager at Macsteel, concurs. “Significantly, Macsteel roll- formed 660 tons in the Novotexi 440 profile on site with our mobile roll forming machines in a record time.”

According to Joubert, construction broke ground on 14 November 2016 and by the end of March 2017, the main 2 180-ton base warehouse structure was completed – an exceptional feat for this prime structure.

Meet the team

  • Developer/client: Rokwill Property Development
  • Architects: TC Design Architects
  • Structural engineers: EDS Engineering Design Services
  • Main contractor: Abbeydale Building and Civils
  • Steelwork contractor: Cadcon Steel Construction and Engineering
  • Steel Erector: Fanie Leibrandt Steel Erectors
  • Cladding and roofing manufacturer: Macsteel Service Centres
  • Cladding supplier: Macsteel Services Centres and Engineering
  • Roofing and cladding contractor: Impact Engineering