Light steel construction approval overview

Our architects have compiled an overview of the process undertaken to receive council approval in the use of Light Steel Construction in a residential application. It answers FAQ’s about council requirements and gives an indication of the type of documentation needed. This overview is particular to Stand 47 and the technologies used as well as the requirements from local council.
Stand: 
Area: 
Architect: 
Contractor: 
Area: 
Roof Type: 
47
Monaghan Farm
Thomashoff + Partner Architects
Style Projects
270m2 floor area, 384m2 roof covered area.
Corrugated Sheeting

Today’s progress photo 

Preparing for foundations

The main contractor is currently preparing the site to begin casting foundations for the house in the next few weeks. Foundations are a very important part of building design, and the choice of foundation depends on the soil, the site conditions and the type of structure that will be built. Foundations carry the load of the entire building and its contents and must be designed to limit excessive movement in the structure that may result in it losing its integrity. 

Due to the site conditions and the light steel frame structure we have designed for Stand 47, the foundation type we will be using is a raft foundation. It varies from the popular strip foundation (which uses unreinforced concrete ground beams and light brick walls to distribute point loads), in that a raft foundation is actually a two-way reinforced concrete slab resting on the ground. The raft distributes pressure from the weight of the structure above to the ground below, and provides a bound foundation system that reduces the risk of soil collapse and cracks. The perimeter of the raft is usually turned down to prevent storm-water from damaging the structure by causing channels below the slab. Due to the building technology we are using at Stand 47, the raft foundation offers an alternative to the usual masonry system used in residential foundations.


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Examples of different foundations. Source: www.byassplant.co.uk

Q&a for council approval coming soon

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We have received many questions from built environment professionals asking for information about the process we followed to obtain council approval from Tshwane/ Centurion and meet their requirements. 

Because of the significance of this approval as a precedent for future applications using light steel construction (LSC) for residential purposes, we have realised the importance of sharing our experience to facilitate the approval of LSC as a viable residential option. Saint-Gobain are investigating holding a workshop for the benefit of all interested parties at a later stage.


Bulk excavations & site levelling

The latest site meeting held this week marked the rapid transformation of the site, as the contractors manage bulk excavations and site levelling. 

During this phase, the immediate landscape changes dramatically everyday as soil is shifted to accommodated levels and bulk services. The future position of the house within the landscape can now be seen where the site is cut to accommodate the single level required for the design and the excess soil is used to fill parts of the landscape on site where privacy needs to be secured (see Step 1 & 2 of our 4-step process to read more about the design). At this point, it also becomes important to pay attention to refining the construction program further as materials are ordered from suppliers and sub-contractors are appointed in order to avoid delays later on.

The significance of council approval

Stand 47 received full building plans approval from The Tshwane City council.

Why is this significant? 

The Stand 47 building approval is significant as it is among some of the first residential projects approved by the Tshwane municipality incorporating both the new SANS regulations and an alternative building method. Any new building has to be built according to the National Building Regulations (NBR), which ensure that safety standards are met during construction and once the building is occupied. The NBR has been revised recently and an additional set of regulations were added that deal specifically with Energy efficiency in buildings (SANS 204:2011), Environmental Sustainability and Energy usage in buildings (SANS 10400-XA:2011). The new energy efficiency regulations complement the efficiency ethos of Stand 47, by increasing the thermal insulation of a building and therefore decreasing the requirements placed on electricity and gas to heat and cool buildings* (a quality which Saint-Gobain has developed thoroughly in their building materials).

Secondly, and possibly most significantly, Stand 47 has been approved using a light-weight steel frame building technology with drywall infill panels rather than the traditional brick and mortar solution that most councils are familiar with. Even though steel frame building techniques are an SABS approved technology with efficiency benefits that offer a reliable solution for quality housing construction in South Africa, they are still not well understood by the general public. Despite these perceptions, Stand 47 was able to obtain building plans approval from the Tshwane City council by demonstrating the effectiveness and viability of steel frame construction and drywall cladding as an alternative building method in a residential application.

With building plans approved, construction work can now accelerate from ground works to some of the more tangible signs of what will result in the Stand 47 design.

*If these standard were introduced to every new building, there would be a 3500MW electricity saving by 2020 (SABS website – https://www.sabs.co.za/Sectors-and-Services/Services/Energy/index.asp)

Site progress 

Work on site is revealing the very first physical clues of the design and building form that is to follow. As the ground is shifted and moulded it creates the foundation trenches, services and levelling from which Stand 47 will emerge…

We have broken ground!

Yes, it is official! We have broken ground!
We are so excited to see the initial phases of ground work and site levelling taking place on Stand 47 and are equally excited to share the results with you as the construction phase develops over the following months. In addition to documenting the process, we aim to feature specific content relating to construction progress, design refinement and the application of various Saint-Gobain products being utilized in Stand 47.