Johannesburg - The Kaserne building in Johannesburg is set to be imploded on May 1 after city officials last year condemned the five-storey building following structural damage after a fire.
The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) Metropolitan Municipality Department of Housing announced that the planned implosion will be undertaken by the Phoenecian Group.
The demolition and bulk earthworks contractor was appointed by Johannesburg Social Housing Company, an entity of the CoJ.
Contracts manager Sne Khanyile said that Phoenecian is working under Mbongiseni General Services cc to not only implode the building, but to also prepare the site for its proposed redevelopment.
“This is quite an old building that has had some issues in the past with illegal tenants, resulting in the structure being condemned due to its structural defects,” Khanyile said.
He added that the Phoenecian Group carried out work for the CoJ before and that an implosion is a demolition technique especially well-suited for a type of pre-existing structure such as the Kaserne site.
“The implosion will make way for a new Vertical Mixed Use (VMU) housing development that will accommodate 2 000 households as part of the larger precinct development.”
Khanyile said that the VMU housing development, which includes a commercial and retail element, will create jobs during and after construction. There is also a taxi holding facility and petrol station site.
Apart from Kaserne, the CoJ has already converted five buildings, and plans to develop another five properties in the same precinct.
The city also plans to acquire another 10 properties to be made available for social housing as part of the Inner City Housing Implementation Plan.
Khanyile said that the Phoenecian Group had to carry out minimal “soft” work within the Kaserne building itself from a structural perspective, as another sub-contractor that is part of the professional team cleared out all the internals.
“We have had to pre-weaken certain structural elements such as the lift shafts and stairwells to ensure a successful implosion on the day,” said the explosives engineer of the Demolition and Earthworks Division, Kyle Perkin.
He explained that this was to ensure that these structures do not remain standing while the rest of the building collapses around it.
“We are treating the building with caution and are observing all preparatory work we are undertaking to see if there are any sorts of movement within the building, of which there has been none to date,” he said.
As the five-storey building also includes a sub-basement, non-electronic detonation will be used, with the entire implosion expected to take a mere four seconds.
An integral part of the project being co-ordinated by the CoJ is relocating the existing residents before D-Day, which is being carried out in two phases.
“There are a lot of bits and pieces to put together and it’s quite a big puzzle,” Khanyile said.
She explained that while the actual implosion of the Kaserne building might be only four seconds, it took three months of preparation to reach that point.
Perkin agreed and stressed the amount of planning that went into the Kaserne building implosion.
“There is a huge amount of planning involved as you only have a single attempt to implode the building successfully.”
Following the implosion, the Phoenecian bulk earthworks division will move in to break the rubble down further so it can be reused as a platform substrate for the next stage of the overall development of the site.
“This is an excellent example of the full turnkey service we are able to offer our clients,” Khanyile said.
He added that “health and safety standards are at the centre of our business practices”.
“We carry a 5-Star Platinum NOSA rating, a high standard that we strive to always maintain in everything we do.”