Booysens Magistrate’s Court: long-lasting and efficient

By Warren Robertson / Photos by Uhuru Wetu Consulting

When constructing government buildings, all by-laws and standards need to be considered, particularly if that building is a court. Completed in 2018, the Booysens Magistrate’s Court needed a system that would ultimately save on running costs and stand the test of time.

Front of the buildingThe Booysens Magistrate’s Court was completed and handed over to the Department of Justice last year October at a cost of just over R240-million as part of the contract awarded to the Independent Development Trust by that department to plan, design, and construct new courts across the country.

Front view of the Booysens Magistrate’s Court. The building coverage is 5 850m².

Building began in June 2016, and the building consists of 10 courtrooms, including one civil court, two family courts, and one child, domestic violence, and peace order court; administration offices; 15 magistrate offices; and 10 holding cells with a provision for juvenile males and females and adult males and females.

The work included construction of 69 parking bays for staff, 54 parking bays for visitors, and an additional four parking bays per 100m² of office space on a 20 478m² property with a height restriction of three storeys and building coverage of 5 850m².

Uhuru Wetu Consulting were the wet engineers on the project, taking charge of a system that, in addition to outfitting all the bathrooms, taps, and other basic plumbing, also needed to offer a domestic water storage tank that could store two days of supply and a fire emergency water storage supply, all provided from the same sectional tank.

“We have two water meters, one for fire and another for domestic water, at the entrance of the court. It therefore made sense for the sectional tank of backup andInside the court fire emergency water to be stored on that side,” says Uhuru’s Samkelo Tsabedze.

The building consists of 10 courtrooms, including one civil court, two family courts, and one child, domestic violence, and peace order court.

From that tank the system uses Grundfos pumps to move water into Geberit Mapress Stainless Steel pipes, which were chosen due to the promised high level of protection against corrosion, and long-term tightness of fittings. These in turn feed into Geberit Mepla pipes, which are easy to install while also being inherently stable, flexible, and resistant to pressure and corrosion. A fire pump and a jockey pump are also in use for the emergency water needed in the case of a fire.

“We didn’t have to worry about doing a water analysis, which, together with the ease of installation, meant our plumbing system was up-and-running in the minimum time,” says Tsabedze.

“One of the principle reasons for choosing to work with Geberit was the local backup. The system is relatively easy to maintain and, with aid from Geberit themselves, keeping it up and running over the years should be a simple matter,” explains Tsabedze.

In the bathrooms, Uhuru installed Geberit cisterns for all toilets. Once again, the major concerns were reliability and the ease of future maintenance, which, according to Tsabedze, was pretty much guaranteed due to the proven history of the Geberit system, but the 4.5ℓ flush was also considered attractive.

Boiler“If the rest of the system wasn’t already Geberit, we probably would have gone with their cisterns due to the 25-year guaranteed spare parts availability,” says Tsabedze.

Uhuru Wetu Consulting were the wet engineers on the project.

The domestic water system ends in the bathrooms through the Geberit Bathroom Collection, which is described as being elegant and functional with a focus on how easy they are to clean and, once again, maintain.

The interesting part of the domestic water system is the way the water is heated. The hot water system uses two ring mains via circulation pumps from the two different hot water tanks and electrical element backups. These two hot water tanks are heated by the VRF heat recovery system, with electrical elements as a backup in the event of HVAC failure or downtime. This system ensures a significant energy saving, which in turn leads to lower running costs.

Due to the desire to save space, Uhuru went with the Geberit Pluvia roof drainage system, which requires fewer downpipes due to its high-volume capabilities, and maximises the use of space inside the building due to its ability to lay pipes horizontally without slopes.

The result is an efficient and extremely resilient system that pleased the final client and met all the SABS and Department of Works requirements.

List of professionals         

Project name 
Booysens Magistrate’s Court

Owner / User / Client
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Department of Public Works

Developer / Implementing agent    
Independent Development Trust

Architect / Designer 
Consultium Architects & Urban Designers in JV with Co-Arc International Architects

Project manager       
Triviron Project Management

Consulting engineer 
Electrical Rivoningo Consulting Engineers

Mechanical engineer
Uhuru Wetu Consulting

Wet services engineer                      
Uhuru Wetu Consulting

Civil engineer 


Main building
Clear Choice Builders


Wet services  

EIS Electrical

Product suppliers

Product          Supplier

HVAC              Mitsubishi VRF Heat Recovery

HPAC              HiRef

Fresh-air         Petra Fresh-air Rooftops

Plumbing piping        Geberit

Sanitary fittings         Geberit

Pumps                        Grundfos

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