Burst pipe delays opening of building centre’s new home
T HE GRAND o p e n i n g o f Africa’s biggest and best permanent building exhibition – the new 860m² Building Centre, at Northgate Estate just off the N1, has had to be postponed until early in the new year.
A burst pipe flooded the entire complex with 50mm of water last Sunday, when no one was there.
Cheryl Neave, public relations manager for the centre, said all the solid and laminated wood and much other flooring (exhibits in their own right) had to be taken out and replaced, which would take time, with pressure on them for outside work to be completed before the builders’ holidays.
“Fortunately, relatively few of the 120 or so exhibitors’ stands have suffered badly. The tragedy of the situation is that after round-the-clock efforts by the Building Centre staff and the exhibitors we had the whole place in wonderful shape for the December 6 opening, which now has to be postponed,” said Neave.
This was t o have b e e n attended by more than 200 of the 900 architects on the Western Cape Institute of Architects membership list. Many had already made plans to fly in from other cities or to drive in from outlying areas.
Jamie Heathcote- Marks, manager of the Building Centre, has from the outset said that his goal is to put this centre on par with the best in the world.
“The double-volume building in which it is sited is ideal for such an exhibition: it is fully glazed on three sides, always cool and light-filled and aesthetically avant garde. It has been gratifying to see that most of our exhibitors have stayed with us and that they have almost all modernised and upgraded their stands. In the 58-year history of the Building Centre we have never before had such an attractive and impressive a range of exhibits.”
A focal point of the new building is the Eco House on the mezzanine floor. This is built with – and displays – a wide variety of green building products and techniques.
“With the swing to green buildings now gaining rapid momentum, we expect this section to attract great interest,” said Neave, “and this has been confirmed by the visitors we have had so far.”
The full range of products displayed includes everything from roofing to flooring.
“The big advantage of the new Building Centre is that it is at last in a convenient position, already used by most suppliers to the design/building sector. It has ample free parking, is easily navigated and gives designers, developers and householders the opportunity to see, touch and thoroughly examine products rather than to simply read about them in a brochure before deciding on what to buy.
“Architects, builders and homeowners have testified that one or two visits to the centre have enabled them to break away from too- conventional, possibly outworn concepts and introduce innovative new products that add value to their projects.”
Although flooring repair work is in full swing, the centre is open to visitors. It can be reached from the M5. At the Koeberg Interchange, motorists pass the N1 to Paarl and turn first right at the traffic lights into Section Street, then first left into Northgate Estate.
For directions or information, call the Building Centre 021 510 4000 or e-mail email@example.com.