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28 September 2020

Oxford Parks is an architectural focal point along Oxford Road in Rosebank. On completion, this site will house five buildings on a master basement structure. Oxford Parks Phase 2 is a testimony to meticulous coordination on the part of Concor Buildings to ensure the concurrent construction of three different buildings would run smoothly.

This phase includes the simultaneous construction of 203 Oxford Road – Life Healthcare’s new

10 000 m2 head office, 8 Parks Boulevard – a 4 000 m2 multi-tenanted building housing inter alia Metier Private Equity and G+D Currency Technology, and 6 Parks Boulevard – 3 400 m2 offices for Arup, Sony Music  and Sony Publishing.

The buildings, together with Phase 1, 199 Oxford Road, were designed to complement each other, and their respective footprints fit together in a jigsaw puzzle configuration, proportionately occupying the site to optimise the usage of this prime pedestrian precinct with its generous public environment.

Through bold yet sensitive design of the buildings, together with the hard and soft landscaping of the outdoor piazza area, a natural environment was created ensuring a harmonious blend of business, life and leisure for the end user. Accommodating all parking in basements has shaped a precinct that is pedestrian friendly and offers a safe retail experience.

Martin Muller, Concor Buildings’ contracts manager, explains that all the buildings are constructed to be compliant with Green Star design requirements. 199 Oxford Road in Phase 1 achieved a 5-Star Green Star rating. All specifications on the project are in line with Green Star requirements and the buildings in Phase 2 are also designed to achieve 5-Star Green Star ratings.

A comprehensive Environmental Management Plan was adopted that amongst many criteria, specified the installation of waste management systems to maximise recycling from waste generated on the project. Another environmental intervention was the installation of state-of-the-art HVAC systems in all the buildings presenting energy saving, efficiency and sustainability features including air-cooled systems to eliminate water usage.

To optimise energy usage during occupation, different striking façades provide the respective buildings with both aesthetic interest and added energy benefits.

Muller emphasises Concor Buildings’ commitment to health and safety on site. “Creating a strong safety culture is always a challenge on bigger projects with a large number of subcontractors but Concor’s pledge to its Stop.Think.Act initiative has seen active involvement becoming a trend on site.”

“Visible Felt Leadership from the entire production and safety team ensures that contractors, subcontractors and tenant contractors execute work safely at all times. This is vital as on average there are 350 workers from 22 different contractors on site and this will increase as tenants start with their fit-out activities,” he says.

The COVID lockdown added a new level of challenges and anxiety to the construction industry. According to Muller, through early preparation and policy implementation, Concor Buildings ensured it was ready to start again on site once the lockdown restriction relaxation allowed construction to commence on 1 June 2020. Implemented daily scanning points, wash stations, social distancing measures, signage and continual communication led to construction activities being back on track from day one after the restrictions were removed.

Risk management became a particularly important part of this project considering that the lockdown delayed construction by more than two months. Concor Buildings has clearly demonstrated its agility value by completing the buildings in, or close to, the originally contracted completion dates.

During this period, Concor Buildings ring-fenced long-lead manufacturing items and key focus points with the client, subcontractors and suppliers. These pro-active interventions ensured all materials were delivered on time allowing subcontractors to finish off when the client required the areas for tenants to take occupation. These measures also ensured the contractor could mitigate most of the additional costs due to the COVID lockdown period, ensuring practical completion (PC) dates are achieved as per the contract.

Sony Music, Sony Publishing and Arup have taken occupation of 6 Parks Boulevard, which was completed on time. The first and second tenants in 8 Parks Boulevard took official occupation on 1 September 2020, a week earlier than the extended practical completion date of 9 September 2020. Again, testimony to Concor’s agility and commitment to meeting project targets.

The Life Healthcare tenant installation in 203 Oxford Road started ground and first floor handover on 10 August 2020 with all other floor level handovers on track with overall building practical completion on 2 November 2020. This date, which was extended due to lockdown delays, will be achieved through client and professional team assistance, identifying risks and dealing with these before they occur, dedicated resources and time management on the buildings.

Muller adds: “As is the case on all the projects we undertake, quality plays a major part in the execution of this project. Progressive snagging is implemented to ensure that works are checked and signed off as completed by each trade. This practice results in a minimised snag list of items to attend to once the buildings are complete, ensuring that the end user experience is not spoiled by contractors fixing incomplete works once tenants have taken occupation.”

This was a particularly challenging period, but through Concor Buildings’ commitment to its values, one of which is care, the contractor is still producing an upmarket and modern product while demonstrating care towards all parties on site and careful attention to the various features of this complex project.

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