BP Headquarter, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Green-rated beacon of Oxford Road

Light and bright, 199 Oxford, the first completed building of five in the new Oxford Parks development, strikes a serene note. The modern building feels fresh and natural, and was designed to meet the standards of a 5 Star green-rated office.

Simon Ngubeni, Candidate Architect, Boogertman + Partners, explains the vision behind the building, “We wanted to embrace nature through the design, to incorporate the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water. We wanted to create a feeling of freshness: we used lots of green and yellow, and placed many green plants in the interior of the building.”

The noticeable glass facades of the building allow for magnificent views of tree-lined Johannesburg, while maximising natural light. In the interests of energy efficiency, automated blinds are linked to a weather station, and adjust according to the amount of light entering the building.

The aim of property developers Intaprop Investments was to create a pedestrian-focussed and mixed-use precinct, linking Illovo to Rosebank. The commercial floors of 199 Oxford are tenanted by petroleum giant BP, Thebe Investments and Intaprop Investments themselves. The ground floor will be dedicated to bespoke retail tenants.

Completion ahead of schedule
Warren Mills, Site Agent, Concor, shares the contractor’s ambition for the site:  “We’re aiming to be the preferred supplier across this precinct, and on the first building, 199 Oxford, we finished a month ahead of schedule.” Completed in a record eight months, the building is already fully operational. Concor is still on-site completing snags, while also starting on Phase Two of the project: another four buildings (including hospitality, commercial and residential) in the same precinct.

GEZE were sub-contracted to supply and install the ironmongery for the building, providing a comprehensive package that enabled the contractor to move ahead at the fast pace required. “GEZE can do an all-in-one package, and it’s the first one they’ve done for us in this way: from the Ironmongery schedule through to installing. This freed up a lot of time for the site agent. Our first experience with this approach and GEZE went well,” comments Concor’s Warren Mills.

A turnkey solution
Daniel Le Roux, Project Manager, GEZE Southern Africa elaborates, “GEZE provided a full turnkey solution on this project: from specification to supply to doors, installation and project management. It’s ideal to work this way so that we can keep control over the guarantees: The process runs more smoothly and therefore generally more quickly. And it also facilitates us keeping the products well-serviced on an ongoing basis after construction is complete.”

GEZE provided a full suite of products for the building: TSA swing door access control systems on each floor, lift lobby doors, ECturn doors specifically for the building’s paraplegic toilets, floor springs, hold-open devices and panic access control systems.

Neil Dietrechsen, Site Agent, Concor, feels the project benefitted from GEZE’s full service option, “GEZE provided supply and installation for us, all in one package. It definitely works better that way.”

Not unfamiliar to the construction industry, a few hitches arose during the project. One of them was when an external ironmongery sub-installer was brought onto site, resulting in some installation frustrations. GEZE quickly sent in their own team to rectify the situation, and learnt a valuable lesson from the experience: “Going forwards we’ll always have our own project managers on site so they can ensure that installations run smoothly,” confirms GEZE’s Daniel le Roux.

A symbiotic relationship
Mirroring the building’s environmental sentiments, a symbiotic relationship certainly took place between those working on the project.

Daniel le Roux of GEZE has praise for the way that Concor managed the project: “Concor planned everything down the last detail, they were very structured with clear timelines, so everything ran smoothly. It was very good to work with them.”

Neil Dietrechsen confirms that Concor’s first experience of working this way with GEZE went well. He notes, “We’re especially pleased that GEZE are now appointing in-house project managers to oversee installation, as this will work well going forwards.”

Likewise Simon Ngubeni of Boogertman + Partners, was satisfied with GEZE’s involvement, “We made many changes along the way and GEZE were always happy to adapt to them. They worked very well with us. “They were always ready to take a call, and they gave us exactly what we needed.”