Joburg CBD gets Clinix Day Hospital and Pharmacy

By GDM Plumbing | Edited by Benjamin Brits | All photos Plumbing Africa. 

The G.M Pitje Day Hospital, previously the Clinix Health Group’s head office, is being transformed to include a pharmacy, day hospital with surgery facilities and consulting rooms — catering to the need for medica. 

The building re-development project started in May 2018 and is scheduled to be handed over at the end of May 2019.

The design specification from the client was to use five of the existing nine floors at the Hospital Group’s Head Office in the Johannesburg’s central business district, to construct a new day hospital which will have three new surgical theatres, a new radiology department, as well as two floors of doctors' consulting rooms.


The complete hot water generation system.


Each section of the hospital has a kitchenette with a hydroboil unit.Each section of the hospital has a kitchenette with a hydroboil unit.

Cold water system

The wet services design is based on a gravity fed system, starting with the storage tank on the rooftop of the building. From this tank, water is fed down to the floors below where the reticulation is fed via the water network to the relevant sanitary points on the floors.

Due to the existing building being nine stories high, the water pressure build-up from the tank down to the various floors creates adequate pressure to sufficiently feed all water points. This eliminates the need for a pressure booster pump and reduces the reliance on any mechanical failure and water interruptions.

Pipe sizing was crucial to make sure the flow to all points was sufficient, and was designed by Amaré Schütte, Mechanical Engineer of IX Engineers.

Hot water system

The hot water system installed is based on the same principle of the cold water, beginning at roof top tank and reticulating to the plant room on the first floor of the building. Cold water is fed into the 600ℓ hot water cylinder that is integrated with two alliance air heat pumps. The water is preheated in the plant room system before being fed to the various floors of the hospital. To ensure hot water on demand, 200ℓ Kwikot geysers are installed on each floor of the new hospital.

On each floor, two Grundfos hot water circulation pumps have been installed. These pumps are controlled via a control panel and ensure that pumps operate at maximum efficiency as well as notifying the maintenance team should there be any error with the pumps. The hot water circulating pumps’ main function is to circulate hot water around the respective floor, ensuring that hot water is no more than 6m from any sanitary point, giving the hospital the best user experience possible.

The 600ℓcylinder and heat pump system contains a back-up electrical hot water heating element. This will automatically activate if there is an error with the heat pumps’ heating functions. As well as an automatic changeover to the element for heating, the system will also warn the maintenance team of a failure and they can then investigate the problem. This function ensures that the hospital will always have hot water, which is crucial to their operating guidelines.

The Geberit Mepla Pipe System was chosen specifically for this project. Due to the limited ceiling void space of the existing building, the design engineers had very little space to fit each service (Gas/HVAC/Fire/Electrical) into the ceiling void. The Geberit Mepla Pipes System allows for much more flexibility to manoeuvre around other services.

The decision to use this pipe system was also based around safety. The Geberit Mepla pipe is a crimped pipe system, meaning there is no need to use an open flame to weld pipe joints. This dramatically decreased the risk of fires in the building. As the plumbing contractor, GDM was quite relieved, as the installation was in the vicinity of operational gas lines as well as the top four floors still being occupied by the hospital group executive staff.


The air heat pump installation.


Each surgery room has stainless steel wash-up facilities. 


The GDM Plumbing team had to be very cautious with the drainage installation, since the building has a post-tensioned cable design on the floor slabs. This meant that with each hole that was cored through the slab they had to first do various scans to make sure they did not core a hole through a cable, which could have a serious impact on the structural integrity of the building.

With more than 50 holes being cored on each floor, the process was time consuming, with reports and engineers’ consent being required for each penetration. The room for error on this item of works was non-existent. 

Difficulties of the project

The element of difficulty in this job was the fact that the building was live at all times, as the employees of the hospital group continued working on the floors above, so the various teams could not disrupt the operation of the building’s services during normal working hours. This meant that many tasks needed to be done after hours to ensure that the hospital staff were kept happy and had minimal disruption in their day-to-day activities.


Each floor also holds two conventional element geysers fed by the 600ℓ hot water cylinder.


Use of products

Products had to adhere to hospital regulations and the following products were chosen for very specific reasons.

Geberit HDPE sewer pipes with butt welded joints provide less chance of leaks in ceiling voids compared to traditional PVC with push-through fittings.

Geberit Mepla water pipes provide a more flexible approach in the tight ceiling voids, as well the chance of theft and fire being reduced.

Lecico rimless WC pans were selected because the rimless pan is preferred for the hospital environment due to the superior hygiene properties of the product.

Cobra medical mixers were used as they are the hospital group’s preferred brand of choice. The Cobra mixer range offers spare parts that are always available, which ensures the hospitals never have to experience downtime due to lack of parts availability.

Alliance air heat pumps were chosen as they met the requirement to heat the 600ℓ cylinder efficiently, to make sure the supply of hot water to the hospital is always sufficient.

Grundfos circulation pumps were used to ensure the hot water is always circulating throughout the pipe system with little to no dead-leg standings.


Some of the drainage pipes needed to be galvanised due to the chemical composition and high temperatures of some of the discarded liquids that can reach in excess of 120°C.


More than 50 holes per floor were needed to install the drainage ystem. More than 50 holes per floor were needed to install the drainage ystem.

Efficiency and sustainability

The wet services system is very efficient as it does not rely on any mechanical force to pressurise the system. Unfortunately booster pumps can fail mechanically, and result in downtime for the hospital, so with this being eliminated the hospital has one less maintenance worry. This also makes it a very sustainable system because all that is required is for the rooftop tank to have a water feed and the rest of the system can work. This requires no electrical and mechanical input.

Heat pumps were used to eliminate the dependence on the municipality electrical grid, Heat Pumps are one of the most efficient hot water heating systems available, using the solar heat stored in the surrounding environment. This provides approximately 75% of the heat pump’s heating energy, with only 25% of external energy required in the form of electricity to achieve a heat output of 100%.

Aside from the efficiency of these systems, benefits include continued substantial savings on electricity usage – not to mention a lessened impact on the environment at large.

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