Rosebank Fire Station gets a facelift

By Dineo Phoshoko

Rosebank Fire Station has a rich heritage and a long history dating back to the 1930s. The original building is one of the oldest and most well known in the area.

Whilst having a captivating modern design, the new building is still respectful to the heritage of the protected fire station. GDM Plumbing & Projects was responsible for all plumbing-related work required for the new building. GDM began work on the project in November 2016, with completion expected at the beginning of March 2018.

System in detail

Water supply

The plumbing company installed a domestic water supply system, which is fed from the municipal water supply down to the fourth basement level. In the basement, the water is stored in two 5 000ℓ Jojo tanks. The water from the system is used to supply the building’s various sanitary fittings.

The water is then pumped up the 16 storeys of the building through a Grundfos Hydro MPC-E 3 booster pump in a main water line (80mm galvanised pipe). GDM used pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) to create distinctive pressure zones on the various floors of the building, whilst maintaining the higher pressure in the main line to reach the upper levels of the building. The water splits off the main galvanised line and is fed via the Geberit Mepla pipe system to numerous ablution blocks and kitchenettes.


For the sewer waste system, Geberit’s HDPE pipes were installed to collect all sewer waste and feed it to the external municipal sewer line.

 Stormwater drainage

GDM also worked on the stormwater drainage system for the building. For roof drainage, the Geberit Pluvia syphonic rainwater collection system was incorporated on the roof of the building. This is made up of 12 outlets on two floors that collect all water and reticulate it down to the ground floor and into the municipality stormwater system.

The system was designed for relaying critical information, such as pump malfunctions, water tank levels, council pressure fluctuations, and sump pump malfunctions.

On the terraces, a cast-in-concrete Hydrotec floor drain system was installed. More than 150 drains reticulate down the side of the building in the aluminium glass facade and are collected into a main HDPE launder pipe in the basement levels, flowing down four basement level floors and ultimately discharging into the municipality stormwater system.

Another area of the building that required a stormwater system is the car park. For this, two sump pumps were installed in catch pits in the building. This catches any subsurface and car park run-off and pumps it from the building into the municipality stormwater system.

Power supply and backup

The Grundfos booster pump uses an electrical feed to pump water from the basement to the entire building. To cater for power disruptions, the design team has made provision for the pump system to use power from the backup generator system. In the event of a municipal water cut, the two JoJo tanks store enough water to supply the building for eight hours during the water cut.

Challenges during the project

Working on a project of this magnitude, one is bound to experience numerous challenges. The biggest challenge for this project was installing the over 150 cast-in-floor drains to accommodate stormwater from the terrace areas. These needed to be perfectly aligned and spaced in confined areas. The main contractor, Aveng Grinaker-LTA, came up with a temporary steel channel system that was placed onto formwork decks prior to pouring concrete. The drains were then fixed directly to the system and the temporary steel system later removed.

Another challenge was dealing with 10 different sewer stacks that ran directly through tenant office space. This would have been an enormous acoustic challenge for tenants and employees alike, working in an office environment. For this, the contractor proposed the Geberit Silent-db20 HDPE pipe to minimise the noise levels. Geberit Silent-db20 is a drainage pipe system for buildings that require increased levels of soundproofing; its acoustic properties are achieved using a patented high-density material that has been specially developed for acoustic pipe applications. This provided a cost-effective and reliable solution for dealing with the acoustic challenges on the fire station project.

The office blocks were built on the border of the old fire station. Being a historical building, the existing plumbing required consideration. During the project, GDM had to overhaul the plumbing on the old building to fit with the new modern HDPE sewer system. This proved to be a challenge, as drainage from the old building had to be rerouted to the new building to feed into a single system. To address this challenge, the team broke into a service corridor to create a pathway where the old building’s plumbing would be integrated with plumbing from the new system.

Special features of the project

One of the features that makes this project unique is the fact that many of the products used are from Swiss manufacturer Geberit Group. This includes toilets and basins from Geberit’s latest sanitaryware line, Geberit HDPE pipe systems, Geberit Mepla pipe systems, and the Geberit Pluvia system.

Another unique aspect of the project is the implementation of a smart water metering system that relays information back to the building’s central control room. This allows the client to have uninterrupted access to all tenant water consumption data at any time. Further to water meter readings, the system was designed for relaying critical information, such as pump malfunctions, water tank levels, council pressure fluctuations, and sump pump malfunctions.

This project is the epitome of old meeting new, as the new office blocks are built next to the historical fire station. Once complete, the fire station will continue to be a fully functional landmark of the Rosebank neighbourhood. The iconic fire station will still be the same, except with a new and modern building as a backdrop.

The team

 Developer  ARC Properties & TriColour Investments
 Architect  ARC Architects
 Project manager  ECHO Project Managers
 Main contractor  Aveng Grinaker-LTA
 Wet services consultant  Green Planet Engineering Services
 Plumbing contractor  GDM Plumbing & Projects

List of suppliers

 Geberit  Toilets and basins
 Geberit  Pluvia rainwater collection system
 Geberit  DB20 silent pipe
 Geberit  HDPE pipes
 Geberit  Mepla system
 Hans Grohe  Taps
 Unilift  Sump pumps
 Walcro  Pressure-reducing valves
 Grundfos  80mm galvanised pipe
 Grundfos  Hydro MPC-E 3 booster pump
 Jojo Tanks  5 000ℓ water tanks

Click below to read the March 2018 issue of Plumbing Africa



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