Plumbing royalty at Castle Kyalami

Plumbing royalty at Castle Kyalami

By Dineo Phoshoko

In July 2017, a full renovation of Castle Kyalami was undertaken. Aveng Grinaker-LTA was appointed as the main contractor and GDM Plumbing & Projects was selected to undertake the wet service installation.

Castle Kyalami background

Castle Kyalami was built in 1992 by Greek millionaire and architect Demos Dinopoulos. The castle is located in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Kyalami and is set on an 8.9-hectare estate. The 5 900m2 castle has an Arthurian style and contains a spa, 24-suite luxury hotel, restaurant, and conference centre. In March 2008, the castle was purchased by the Church of Scientology.

Grundfos pump unit with 80 000ℓ reservoir.Calcamite Bio-Mite tank before being installed below ground.
Image credit: CalcamiteGeberit shut-off valve and Mepla pipe installation.Sewer septic sump pump control panel.Geberit built-in toilet cisterns installed during construction.Kwikot heat pumps installed during construction.

Project overview

GDM Plumbing & Projects started working on the project in July 2017, with completion in February 2018. The scope of the project consisted of external water, external sewerage, internal plumbing installation, and a new hot water system.

External water 

The castle had an existing water system; however, the infrastructure on that system had extensive leaks and deterioration. A decision was taken to re-route all services and create a new system externally. The water is fed from the municipal water meter via 400 metres of 80mm galvanised pipe above ground and into the existing 80 000ℓ reservoir.

The water is then pumped via the Grundfos hydro multi-B pump set in a 63mm HDPE pipe below the ground to various parts of the property. More than 600 metres of pipe were laid in the ground. Carrying out this extensive work eliminated the need to rely on existing unreliable infrastructure to supply the project with water.

External sewerage installation

Castle Kyalami is situated in a remote area and has no existing council sewer connection. The sewer waste is disposed of in two ways:

The waste from the main building is disposed of through sewer septic pumps, where all the drainage in the castle is directed into two sewer sump pits. From these pits, the waste is pumped via a Xylem Flygt sump pump up and over the hill, into the municipal sewer system in Kyalami Business Park. The waste has to travel through 500 metres of 100mm galvanised pipework above ground before reaching the municipal sewer system.

GDM Plumbing installed over 2.7km of Geberit Mepla water pipe to bring the system back to SANS standards and quality.

In areas that are low lying on the project, sewer waste is fed to the Calcamite Bio-Mite septic tanks — which is the second sewer waste disposal method. The tanks are unique in that they do not need to be serviced regularly. The Bio-Mite incorporates a biological process to clean incoming wastewater. In this process, a biomass of bacteria breaks down biodegradable waste and converts it into carbon dioxide and water.

Internal plumbing installation

The internal plumbing installation of the Castle Kyalami project comprised removing all existing plumbing services, only keeping sewer pipes that could not be moved. In the process of the installation, GDM Plumbing installed over 2.7km of Geberit Mepla water pipe to bring the system back to SANS standards and quality. A full renovation was done on the 24 hotel suites and conference centre, including a complete catering kitchen and new office building.

Typical valve arrangement consisting of shut-off valves, Y-strainer, and pressure-reducing valves.Duravit Starck washbasins and Grohe Grandera basin mixers.The 80mm galvanised water pipeline installation.Duravit Starck bidet (left) and toilet (right).Control panel for the heat pump and geyser.Duravit Starck 1 free-standing bath and Grohe Grandera floor-mounted tap.

Hot water system

Hot water is supplied to the castle via 25 Kwikot heat pumps and geysers of various sizes.

Product use

Following the client brief, products with reliable and renowned quality and customer service were selected. The products included sanitaryware from Duravit, tapware from Grohe, built-in systems from Geberit, geysers and heat pumps from Kwikot, pumps from Grundfos, and septic tanks from Calcamite.

Electricity use and sustainability

During this project, 25 heat pumps and geysers were installed. The heat pumps in particular have a significant impact on reduced energy consumption of the castle.

The heat pumps are used to remove the electrical load from the geysers, therefore using less electricity throughout the building. Heat pumps are designed to move thermal energy in the opposite direction of spontaneous heat transfer by absorbing heat from a cold space and releasing it to a warmer one. A heat pump uses a small amount of external power to accomplish the work of transferring energy from the heat source to the heat sink.

The project also has a sustainability aspect in the form of the Calcamite Bio-Mite septic tanks. The load on the municipal sewer system is removed, generating less waste from the building overall.

Duct installation.Calcamite Bio-Mite tank after being installed below ground.Typical toilet duct with vent to atmosphere.Vulcan sink unit with cobra tap.Custom fabrication of rainwater outlets on all existing downpipes.Duravit D-code urinal and Geberit Sigma flush system.

Project challenges

As with any other project, challenges are to be expected. Being an existing building, the castle presented huge challenges in terms of plumbing.

GDM spent an entire month investigating the existing infrastructure to determine the operation thereof and what needed to be replaced and repaired. Walls and ducts had to be opened and specialised camera equipment used to inspect the pipes. Through gradual investigation, they figured out what infrastructure could be used and what needed to be replaced. The investigation included rainwater downpipes, sewer pipes, and water pipes.

The new plumbing installations at Castle Kyalami will complement the 26-year-old building’s impressive architecture. Ultimately, the castle will be a combination of style, luxury, and quality plumbing installations, with the potential to last the castle’s lifespan.

The team

 Main contractor  Aveng Grinaker-LTA
 Engineers  Aurecon
 Project manager  Origin
 Plumbing contractor  GDM Plumbing & Projects

List of suppliers

 Geberit  Hot and cold-water pipework
 Geberit  HDPE drainage pipework
 Geberit  Toilet cisterns
 Geberit  Shower traps
 Duravit  Sanitaryware
 Kwikot  Heat pumps
 Kwikot  Geysers
 Grundfos  Hydro-Multi-B-E 3 CR 15-5 booster pumps
 Grundfos  CM5-6 circulation pumps
 Grohe  Tapware
 Calcamite  BM10 – BM4 septic tanks
 View Tanks  Flygt 3068 – 50Hz septic pump
 DPI South Africa  PVC drainage pipework

Click below to read the April 2018 issue of Plumbing Africa

PA April 2018


PA PlumbdrainLogo100 PlumbingOnline150 TP SA Plumbers Handbook 150

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