South Africa’s first light frame steel field hospital taking shape in Gauteng

South Africa’s first light frame steel field hospital taking shape in Gauteng

South Africa’s first hospital built using light steel frame, which will be 10 000 m2 in size and house ten intensive care wards, will be ready to receive patients by the end of September.

Light steel frame construction company Futurecon, working in partnership with construction company Concor, will complete this project by completing the building in ten weeks, fulfilling government’s urgent need for additional hospital beds, the company says.

Futurecon director and project manager Gerrit Burger says all was progressing smoothly in spite of the tight deadlines.

Concor is on track to complete the foundation and the Futurecon team is on site to erect the roof and walls, as well as finish the structures.

The light steel frame components are being manufactured a week ahead at Futurecon’s Gauteng factory and then trucked to site for assembly. The factory is working double shifts to complete this facility on deadline.

Burger says the building of these intensive care wards, which are located on the grounds of Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal to the north of Pretoria, demonstrates the unprecedented speed with which modern-day construction methods can provide rapid build solutions.

The project broke ground at the end of July and Futurecon is in discussions with property developers looking to build additional hospitals using this method of construction.

“Because of the nature of the crisis that South Africa faces at present, the key factor here is our ability to complete a large building in approximately half the time needed for similar projects.

“Our buildings are not only faster to construct but are also stronger, more thermally efficient and more cost-effective than those using traditional building methods. This makes light steel frame construction a good choice for building similar facilities, even when we are not facing a major health threat,” Burger says.

He notes that owing to the fact that Covid-19 will not remain South Africa’s chief health challenge in years to come, this hospital and others built using light steel frame construction will leave an important legacy.

“We have worked in the high-end residential space as well as built sophisticated head offices, warehouses, distribution centres and lodges for the hospitality sector. We therefore not only deliver a quality building but one that meets key green building criteria,” he states.

Light steel frame construction delivers structures that are stronger than their counterparts erected using more traditional building methods and that are also more thermally and acoustically efficient. A light steel frame wall is 15 times more thermally efficient than a brick wall, Futurecon says.

Acoustically, a light steel frame wall blocks out at least two decibels more sound than a brick wall, it adds.

Burger says these efficiencies also mean that it will cost the Department of Health far less to run the building in the future as it needs to spend much less on heating and ventilation than it would in comparable brick or concrete facilities. 

As smaller teams are needed to assemble the building on site, this construction will also be extremely cost-efficient for a project of this scale, he states.

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