QS, structural engineering services at the conneXXion and Constantia Emporium a testament to AECOM’s newly-launched Sustainable Legacies strategy
The conneXXion, the new corporate head office for Exxaro Resources in Centurion, was a major winner in the SAPOA Property Development Awards 2021 for Innovative Excellence, announced at the end of May. The project not only won in the categories of Corporate Office and Sustainability/Green, but also clinched the Overall project title.
Infrastructure consulting firm AECOM’s scope of work was the structural, civil, geotechnical and quantity surveying aspects of the project. The earthworks contract was completed by Stefanutti Stocks Geotechnical, while the raft and first suspended floors were cast by main contractor WBHO.
Another award-winning project that AECOM was involved with was the Constantia Emporium, which won in the Retail Development – Small Boutique Category. Here AECOM provided quantity surveying services for the project, developed by Shoprite Checkers Properties. Constantia Emporium is located in the upmarket suburb of Constantia in Cape Town, with a well-balanced tenant mix of 26 stores spread over two levels, anchored by Checkers, Clicks and Woolworths.
AECOM’s involvement with the conneXXion has already seen it win the AfriSam Innovation Award for Sustainable Construction at the Construction World Best Projects Awards 2019 and a Highly Commended Award in the Consulting Engineering Category.
The Sustainability/Green win is particularly significant, as it follows on AECOM’s recent launch of its Sustainable Legacies strategy for environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. The strategy integrates four key pillars that embed sustainable development and resilience across the company’s work, improve social outcomes for communities, achieve net-zero carbon emissions and enhance governance.
Sustainable buildings such as the conneXXion not only benefit the occupants, but also achieve a lower cost of occupancy for clients, while at the same time having a positive impact on the environment, stresses Kristina Moodley, Associate Quantity Surveyor, Cost Management, Buildings + Places at AECOM.
“The development manager on the project took a very personal approach to achieving Green Star accreditation and wanted the conneXXion to be a first of its kind. Developer Growthpoint has a strong focus on building sustainable green-rated buildings, with an emphasis on the health and well-being of its tenants,” notes Moodley.
The conneXXion is one of only a handful of buildings in South Africa to boast an As-Built 6 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), the highest level of sustainability accreditation in the country. It is also the first building in South Africa to achieve Silver Level WELL certification for Core and Shell by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).
AECOM was actively involved in assisting the green consultant with its budget calculations on the different points strategies required to result in achieving 4, 5 and 6 Star Green Star and WELL ratings respectively. “We constantly manage, monitor and align the construction costs against the budget when implementing Green Star specific initiatives,” stresses Moodley.
It was also part of the Green Star submission process, providing QS reports that evaluated and quantified the data used by the GBCSA to ultimately assess the building’s compliance against Green Star point targets.
Completed in November 2019, AECOM collaborated closely with AMA Architects to optimise the final building design. This was due to challenging dolomitic ground conditions on-site, according to Kim Timm (Pr. Eng.), Executive – Structures, Buildings and Places.
“In terms of the architecture, we had to reshape the building design to account for the ground conditions. We ended up with about 16 different variations of the initial format of the building shape compared to the underlying ground conditions. The challenge was to mitigate the risk in the most cost-effective manner possible,” elaborates Timm.