Potain Helps Barrow Construction Raise Property Value

Potain Helps Barrow Construction Raise Property Value

Published: August, 2016


A large commercial property development has rapidly climbed out of the ground on the corner of Oxford and Glenhove Roads in Rosebank, Gauteng, since earthworks started on the site in July 2015.

The quick rate at which this office block is being built is a trademark of Barrow Construction’s projects; the majority of which are undertaken on behalf of its property investment and development arm, Barrow Properties.

When completed, this development will bring 22 000 square metres (m2) of additional office space to Rosebank and will comprise four basements and a six and five storey tower.

John Barrow, managing and contract director of Barrow Construction, says the success of this development can be attributed to its strategic location in the heart of this vibrant economic hub, in addition to its close proximity to the Gautrain Rosebank station.

“It has been an extremely successful development, and we have already sold many units to other previous investors who have always appreciated the site and our projects,” says Barrow.

The success of Barrow Construction’s projects can be attributed to the hands-on approach taken by the company’s management on all the company’s builds. Barrow and his team of executives immerse themselves in every aspect of the construction programme; an approach that not only ensures the delivery of a high quality end product, but also an efficient and safe construction programme.

Barrow says this preferred way of operating is in line with the company’s family-owned legacy, and the company partners with similar minded subcontractors and vendors in its critical supply chain.

Like most of Barrow Construction’s sites, this development is characterised by the Potain tower cranes being used for material handling activities.

Barrow started using Potain cranes in 2012 when the company bought a pre-owned Potain MD175B unit from SA French. This first Potain tower crane was deployed on a 12 storey commercial property development in Sandton.

“That was an extremely important project for us and the Potain crane performed very successfully, but it was SA French’s family-owned legacy under the helm of Quentin van Breda that we really appreciated. He was very involved in the deal, as well as the after sales support that ensured the minimal downtime we need on all our sites,” Barrow says.

This new development is a milestone for Barrow Construction considering that it is the first to feature a new crane from SA French. Barrow says that it was the company’s policy in the past to only buy refurbished pre-owned cranes, but SA French’s new competitive pricing convinced Barrow Construction management to purchase a new Potain MC175C instead.

The decision to buy a new crane also brings a number of benefits for the contractor. These include sound warranties and access to the latest innovations from this leading French crane original equipment manufacturer.

Among these are the crane’s “green” features, which provide significant cost reductions in energy consumption on project sites. For example, the Potain Power Control function allows the crane to be operated at only 40 kVA by decelerating the hoisting speed without affecting the speed of the slew and trolley.

Just as important are the significantly lighter overall weights of the units from the newer series of Potain tower cranes. This lowers erection costs while simplifying installation on construction sites; both significant advantages on this project that calls for a tower crane with a free standing height of 58,9 metres (m).

Due to the sheer extent of the project with its 11 400 m2 footprint, Barrow Construction needed a second tower crane with at least a 60 m radius to reach right around the site to effectively lift and place the building team’s formwork, reinforcement bar, concrete and fenestration requirements. The crane can lift 1,5 tons (t) at 60 m in a single hook and a maximum of 8 t up to 14,4 m in a double hook.

Both cranes have been strategically positioned in the courtyard of the structure, freeing up the necessary space the builders need to undertake their activities in this extremely congested site. The cranes have been anchored into the base of the structure due to the very high loads they handle.

Barrow says limited space is one of the biggest challenges the Barrow Construction team has encountered on the site. It borders two of the busiest roads in Rosebank, and is only accessible from Oxford Road.

Adding to the complexities of the build is the Gautrain servitude and very steep raking façade on the west side of the structure, leaving very little space in the laydown area of the construction site on Oxford Street.

Meanwhile, execution of the intricate façade requires careful planning. Every floor has a 1,5 m overhang with the final structure excluding the roof protruding 8,6 m out of the building.

By July, Barrow Construction had completed as much as 64% of the structure and 12% of the wet trades ahead of the completion date in July 2017. The project will peak in January next year when the site will be home to about 450 people, more than double the number already working there.

Currently, it is the pressure of having to complete the fitting out of the office space for the first tenant by the end of this year to take full occupation of the commercial space that keeps Barrow Construction very busy at present.

However, Barrow is optimistic that the tightly coordinated site with the help of like-minded subcontractors and supply chain partners, such as SA French, will see the company add yet another impressive building project to its extensive portfolio.