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Vortex Design Solutions / Building Compliance  / The How-To’s of Building Compliance (Part 1)

The How-To’s of Building Compliance (Part 1)

Building compliance by definition ensures that a building is constructed in accordance with standard municipal regulations. A means to measure and control the way in which buildings are constructed and maintained from Aircon, Fire, Electrical and Structural perspective for the overall safety throughout the building; having one set of governing principles, which are updated as safety standards and technology advances. These measures are in the interest of protecting the people within the building.

Vortex Design Solutions as Interior Architects are the first set of professionals to whom a building is handed over after it has been constructed and remains a veritable empty shell. To maintain the integrity of our service we focus on building compliance for the benefit of our clients. Landlords invest a considerable amount of time and financial investment into the construction of a building, together with relevant industry professionals to build according to SANS 10400 specifications. Once we take ownership of the project and design elements to be constructed within the four walls of a building, at Vortex Design Solutions, we maintain that it is our responsibility to proceed in a similar manner utilising the same engineers to uphold the integrity of the structures and building services. This will maintain both the value and further service future tenants to the highest levels of safety and security.

The regulations apply directly to a building or space to ensure it is safe for occupancy. Services considered most relevant in relation to compliance are as follows:

HEATING, VENTILATION AND COOLING (HVAC)
Currently, regulations stipulate that space needs to be well ventilated and heated or cooled to the optimum temperature. This ensures that a space is always supplied with fresh air, to combat “sick” building syndrome, which is synonymous with mechanically ventilated spaces. While the system is designed by a Mechanical Engineer, it is the role of the designer to ensure that the correct information is supplied beforehand, so that it is designed to compensate not only the capacity and layout of the space but also allow it to be integrated into the overall design detailing.
DETECTION – SMOKE & FIRE DETECTION
Smoke detection is often thought of as an after the fact installation when in reality, it is the very first line of precaution and defence for a possible fire. The Fire Engineer designs the system which not only includes the smoke detection system, but also its interaction with the access controls systems for the space (how you get in and out of the office/building). It is this system that will override any access control systems in the event of an emergency.
FIRE PROTECTION AND RATIONALE
This service, by far is seen as possibly the most important. This is where the Fire Engineer and Designer need to work closely together. The furniture layout and fire escape routes are intertwined. The Fire Engineer, will above all, put the safety of the occupants first, even if the aesthetic design needs to be altered to suit it. Without the sign off from the fire chief, no space will be granted an occupancy certificate. Their scope of work includes the following – Escape Route plan (including relevant signage), firefighting equipment (sprinkler, fire hose reels and extinguisher) and all escape routes( including doors, break glass units, push bars, and in some cases an axe!)
ELECTRICAL
All spaces need to be proven electrically compliant with a certificate of compliance from a qualified and registered electrician. Some premises require the attention of an Electrical engineer, to ensure that the correct loading on the circuits has been done and that the lighting levels are up to a considered industry norm.
PLUMBING
New regulations call for a certificate of compliance from the registered plumbers, to ensure the plumbing and installation thereof is up to standard.
DRYWALL/PARTITIONING AND CEILINGS
New regulations call for a certificate of compliance (SABISA) from the registered builders/installers, to ensure the ceiling and walls are installed as prescribed by the National Building Regulations.
GLAZING/WINDOWS
All glass has to be to SAGGA standards, no matter how small a piece you require. The installer is required to provide you with a SAGGA certificate.
STRUCTURAL FORM 4
This certificate is issued by the structural engineer, which states that the work that has been done is structurally safe. Not all projects require this, and it is deemed necessary if an extra-ordinary load has been added to the existing structure, or we need to make a hole in a support wall or through a floor for the feeding of cables or drainage.

Once the above plans have been approved by the municipal authority/council, an inspection by the building inspector appointed by the city council will verify that all new work has been installed according to SANS 10400 regulations.

Here’s a real-life example of how building compliance and safety nearly went horribly wrong and could have lead to catastrophic, life/death results. READ MORE

The necessity for a building compliance regulation has a real-time impact for both landlords and tenants who occupy the space.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be demystifying the building compliance process to give you the full scope of what makes Vortex Design Solutions the ideal choice in ensuring that your space is designed beautifully, serves as a well-functioning space and is fully compliant with city council and safety regulations.

If you require our services to get your building or space compliant and up to code, simply click on the button below to contact us!

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