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New SABS Laboratories at the Groenkloof Campus

The new SABS Laboratory Complex was inaugurated by the President of South Africa, Dr JG Zuma on 20 October 2011.

Building Capacity

The SABS is geared towards increasing the competitiveness and market agility of its customers. In order to actively respond to customer needs timeously and thoroughly, the SABS has invested in upgrading capacity, including the building of a high-tech, state-of-the-art laboratory complex located at its Groenkloof, Pretoria-based head office. The total area of the new laboratories is 13 608m2 and houses nine laboratories, each with its own operational ideology and testing regime. The building has been designed to achieve a Green Star rating from the South African Green Building Council. At the time of planning for the new laboratory complex, there was no Green Star rating tool for laboratories in South Africa. Therefore, an international rating and guidance tool was selected to establish performance criteria, whilst remaining within budget and aligning with local building technologies and techniques. Thus, the design ideology is rooted in local content while complying with international laboratory design norms and green building performance criteria.

Environmental Engineering

Innovative engineering aspects resulted due to the Green Star rating approach. The services necessary for the laboratories are extensive. Within the new lab, mechanical, electrical, fire, data and all specialised water and waste reticulation networks share the same space beneath each floor slab. To ensure access, all services are exposed, thereby reducing the maintenance factor considerably.

Perforated kinetic steel louvers have been used to shade unwanted eastern and western sunlight whilst harvesting and filtering natural daylight deep into the building. Occupants of the building have the freedom to manually adjust the louvers for optimum reflection of sunlight depending on the season, angle of the sun, and time of day. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is also optimised to reduce energy use. Office spaces are set to ventilate passively, while strict building climate is governed by the optimised air conditioning system. Courtyards play an essential role in introducing natural light and ventilation. The benefits of the courtyards also relate to productivity, circulation and integration.

As far as possible all materials were sourced from local manufacturers as close as possible to the site. For example, terrazzo tiles produced by a local manufacturer for the lobbies and main corridors contain ten percent recycled glass.

The new SABS Laboratories not only obtained the Green Star rating but it is also an example of a state-of-the-art testing facility on African soil.