Green offices in Paarl get thumbs up

Building plans for Cecilia Square, the technology-intelligent and environment-friendly office building planned along the N1, adjacent to Paarl Mall, recently received the municipal stamp of approval. And with funding having been secured from Nedbank Corporate Property Finance Cape for the project, the building site could be formally handed over to the construction company, Isipani Construction (Pty) Ltd on 11 April, to start erecting what promises to be Paarl’s first 4-star green office building. Isipani now has 13 months to finish the first building, eagerly awaited by owners, tenants and interested tenants alike.


Construction of Building A of the Cecilia Square office complex – which was bought outright by BKB last year, with Grainco signing up as the main tenant shortly thereafter – will start immediately. Building B, which will be owned by the developer, Lazercor Developments, will follow as soon as two more leases are in place.


The approved building plans have now also been submitted to the Green Building Council of South Africa, as part of the developer’s aim to have the building internationally certified as a 4-star Green Star building. Cecilia Square’s green rating will be dependent on its design (which must be in line with international guidelines around the reduction of carbon footprint and minimal environmental impact), as well as an assessment of the actual completed building. High quality building materials will be utilised for their ability to insulate and complement the energy-saving design of the building. Fittings such as lights that automatically dim or brighten, depending on ambient light, or air-conditioners that automatically switch off when no motion is detected for a certain period, will further contribute towards keeping Cecilia Square’s electricity account – and carbon footprint – as low as possible. The technologically advanced design will even take into account the well-being of tenants, with advanced carbon dioxide monitoring and automatic adjustment of air quality.


In the meantime the construction company who was awarded the tender for this project, local firm Isipani Construction, will be breaking ground to ensure that they meet the required delivery milestones to enable tenants of Building A to move into their modern and spacious new offices in mid-June 2013.


“Meeting Lazercor’s strict requirements around timelines, budget and quality standards will be no mean feat, but it’s a challenge that we are happy to take on. To be involved in the construction of a green building of this calibre is very exciting,” smiled Jandré Arangies, MD of Isipani, at the on-site handover on the 11th.


Mark Teuchert, a director of Lazercor Developments, is equally satisfied with their choice of construction company.


“Isipani showed in their tender that they understood what needed to be done, and could do it within budget. I have also seen the excellent workmanship in the other large projects they have taken on. And because they are a local company, they are familiar with the terrain, which is a huge plus factor,” Teuchert explains.


Paarl Municipality has welcomed the opportunity of having such an advanced green building in their beautiful Winelands town, as well as the fact that a local construction firm has been awarded the tender.


And when it came to the funding of the Cecilia Square development, Nedbank – with its focus on green issues – was the obvious choice.


“This was a very direct way in which we could support a very worthwhile yet financially viable development.. As South Africa’s ‘Green Bank’ and first carbon neutral financial institution, Nedbank is committed to sustainability and our involvement in this – and other developments of this nature – illustrates this,” says Richard Thomas, regional executive Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, Cape.


One thing seems to be clear – location, technology and attractive design are all important in decisions around office property, but investors, businesses and consumers alike are increasingly seeing the sense of – and becoming excited by – going green.


(Photographs by Red Carpet Concepts photographer, Stefanie Windisch)

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