Image credit: Fourways Group

Image credit: Fourways Group

By Fourways Group | All image credits: Fourways Group

Mixed-use buildings have increasingly gained popularity within the South African built environment.

Mixed-use buildings combine residential accommodation, offices, retail, and other entertainment as well as recreational facilities. It is therefore crucial to take into consideration the air conditioning load required to meet the occupancy levels and daily needs.

One basic example is recreational facilities such as gyms which most often require only cooling, while apartments and offices require both heating and cooling. Building owners and consultants alike must seek the best air conditioning systems to ensure comfort while eliminating local emissions and saving energy and operational costs.

Most buildings in Cape Town CBD are as multi-layered and complex as their history. The majority of these historic buildings have been converted into mixed-use buildings with careful consideration not to decimate the entire building and also maintain their beautiful facades.

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In the bustling city’s financial district sits the Foreshore Place – a 34-storey historic landmark built in the 1970s with the majestic views of both Table Mountain and the city centre. This iconic building has marked a shift in exigencies of developers and consumers, from the previous offices and combined hotel, into a mixed-use and ultra-modern luxury development, thanks to KMH Architects.

This high-rise building features a Samsung DVM system to meet several demands, those being air quality, eco-friendliness, comfort, smart controls, and energy consumption savings, just to name a few.

A strategic partnership

Speaking to Andrew Kinnel, mechanical engineer of Spoormaker & Partners as well as Leon Crause, head of business development & sales engineer of Fourways Group, they give a brief insight into the project’s success.

Spoormaker & Partners, a renowned engineering company with numerous accolades, approached Fourways Group to collaborate on the Foreshore Place HVAC project. Fourways are HVAC experts and the accredited sole distributors of all Samsung air conditioners in South Africa.

“We were appointed as the MECs for this project and the brief was to convert the CBD’s iconic landmark into luxury accommodation, offices, and retail stores. Thus we looked at various options and recommended Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems to meet the specification requirements and budget”, says Kinnel.

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During the first phase of the project, the 6th to the 13th floor consisted of hotel space, which has now been remodelled and replaced with 11 floors of luxury apartments. As part of the second phase, the focus was on upgrading the offices and retail stores. Fourways Group tendered an option for the HVAC equipment to Spoormaker and Partners, namely the Samsung VRF (termed ‘DVM’) Heat Recovery System for phase one, the apartments.

Esteemed air conditioning contractors and a top dealer of Fourways Group: Coastal Airconditioning, were awarded the project.

The challenges

Kinnel also describes some of the challenges they met during the project. He explains, “We had to limit the amount of maximum refrigerant size, which resulted in several smaller systems rather than the initially planned larger systems. Secondly, the plant placements also posed a challenge as the office VRF plant is located on the roof of the building while the residential plant is in the middle of the building and has been ducted against the facade to maintain the building’s historical look and feel.

Fourways’ Engineering department embraced these challenges by offering custom VRF design assistance that would meet the day to day needs of users. Crause proudly mentions that Fourways offered Spoormaker the energy-efficient DVM systems with high COPs, lower input costs, electricity consumption monitoring, and which can withstand South Africa’s climate conditions as well as the constant power cuts.

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Product specification matters

The DVM systems meet all air conditioning mixed-use needs and will significantly improve the environmental sustainability of the Foreshore Place. Some of the indoor units connected to DVM outdoors include the renowned WindFree inverter 4-way cassettes and ducted inverter units which are designed to provide purified air, as well as powerful heating and cooling.

Large heating and cooling capacities; high energy efficiencies; sustainability; smart management; footprint; flexible installations; reliability and ease of maintenance are some of the reasons why Spoormarker and Coastal were delighted to choose this system.

Rory Lavis and Keith February of Coastal Airconditioning are no strangers to large-scale projects and took pride in managing this remarkable one. They flexed their know-how to give a superlative installation.

“Multiple DVM systems were installed, to the extent of 17 systems serving at least 190 indoor units across over 10 floors with multiple office levels done as well”, Lavis says about the installation. February also adds with great pride “We’re fortunate to have a good product as well as a good relationship with Fourways. A project spanning over two and a half years, we were able to stick to the project timeline even with several changes, thanks to both Fourways and Samsung.”

Multi-purpose buildings and collaborations

The new Foreshore Place set in the heart of Cape Town has been refurbished to meet the multitude of needs of all its different users not only in the new three-dimensional facilities it offers, but also in air care with one of the world’s leading air conditioning brands.

Clients have peace of mind knowing that DVM systems offer durability, a 5-year warranty, access to spare parts, after-sales support, and technical backup, all offered by Fourways Group.

Just as with the Foreshore Place’s design which brings in a new energy, inspires collaboration and increased productivity, all partners involved in this HVAC project adroitly approached the brief with energy, collaboration, and a productive partnership. Multi purpose buildings and multiple partner collaborations are here to stay, and Fourways is all for it.

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