Environmental factors planned for new Chem Eng facility

30 September 2002
WORK is well under way on the new chemical engineering site on Upper Campus. During the planning stages a decision was made to promote sustainability, not only as part of the building design, but also during the demolition of existing buildings.

The demolition phase of the project, which included flattening an 18m concrete water tower, produced a total of 1 500 cubic metres of building material. “We made it clear to potential contractors that their adherence to sustainability criteria would influence the adjudication process, specifically with regard to salvaging re-usable material, re-processing rubble, site management with respect to noise and dust control, pollution and the control of hazardous material,” said Project Manager Jan Bester.

Prior to demolition, the civil engineering, chemical engineering and maintenance departments removed all usable material in the old building. The remaining metals, plastics and paper were sorted on site and sent to the recycling trade. Hazardous material in a water treatment research project was carefully removed by qualified contractors and taken to registered treatment sites.

The demolition contract was restricted to specific working hours to minimise disruptions to lectures and teaching activities. High-risk operations were executed after hours to limit potential danger to vehicles and people. The site was also continuously doused with water to reduce dust. Builder's rubble went to a crushing plant near the airport, where it was crushed and made available to the building industry as fill for roads and other infrastructure.

All trees were pruned prior to demolition and only one small tree was removed. The demolition contract was executed within 19 days without any damage to property or injuries to workers, staff or students. The laying of the first foundations will start on October 2 and the basement floor construction will begin on October 30.

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