ADO Architects


Telkom Space saver project | Nationwide




Client : Telkom SA
Project name : Space Saver
Project value : R28 200 000
Professional Team : Infracom
Project Management Team : Infracom (Johan de Villiers)
Main Contractor : Various partitioning, electrical and furnishing companies
Implementation period : 1997 - 1999

Telkom's 1997 Space Saver Project aimed to maximize the economic use of available space in its head office campus and facilitate the relocation and grouping of certain business units to improve communication and productivity. The main objectives of the Space Saver Project were:
• Maximise the use of space, assuming a target density of 17,5m2/person. By reducing the density from 26,9m2 per person, the complex was able to accommodate the estimated growth in personnel, as well as leaving vacant approximately 3 000 m2 of office space for any future growth.
• Assemble business units in adjacent areas to improve efficiency.
• Improve overall communications between departments and staff.
• Minimise the need for additional leases due to expansion.
• Reduce rental costs by using existing office space more effectively.
• Create a vibrant, functional and ergonomic working environment.
• Provide a more robust office-planning environment to give greater ease and flexibility to accommodate ongoing changes in company structure.
• Reduce the relatively high cost of continuous relocation of fixed partitions and related building services.
• Establish and implement a corporate head office identity.
• Align the buildings with SABS 0400 - 1990
• Procure and plan additional office space on an interim basis where necessary.
• Move existing tenants into new accommodation with a minimum amount of interruption.


Telkom was faced with high company growth, whereby either new accommodation had to be sourced and/or existing accommodation used fore optimally. While this project was being undertaken certain urgent statutory building and related works would also be addressed. The

original scope of work incorporated only approximately 56 000m2 of space planning. At the end of the project more than 70 000 m2 of office space was planned, mainly due to company growth.

At the start of the project electrical services were provided in various ways in the buildings concerned, which restricted their optimum use. The network in these buildings did not facilitate a high-tech environment.

The airconditioning systems were running at full capacity and it became essential to upgrade the current ones to cater for higher demand and future expansion. The current security system in operation did not conform to Telkom's needs, so an upgrade was essential. The current fire detection and sprinkler system were designed around previously partitioned offices and had to be improved.

Modus Operandi

A cost feasibility study was undertaken to ascertain the difference between proceeding with the Space Saver Project or acquiring additional space, taking growth into account. The total estimated cost of the project, including the sale of unused premises, was R43 565 377. If the project were not to proceed, the cost of moving staff and equipment and renting additional space over 10 years, assuming rental escalated at 10% per annum, was R61 644 684. Thus, it was feasible from a financial point of view. Telkom felt fixed partitions created barriers between management and staff, so screened open plan offices were implemented and fixed partitioned offices kept to a minimum.

Movement of each individual had to be managed with respect to planning his final destination, making sure all his requirements are met, moving him to a temporary destination should it be necessary, making sure the client's downtime is kept to an absolute minimum, and co-ordinating the data and telephone installations. Existing corporate furniture was used, with a provision for new items to replace obsolete government furniture. New furnishings were also procured for the new appointments

The major portion of the budgeted amount for furniture went towards the cost of the screens, as a lot of existing furnishings could be used. Although the cost of replacing obsolete equipment was taken into account in the feasibility studies, such expenditure would probably have been incurred in the foreseeable future, regardless of the Space Saver Project, due to work methods, ergonomics and processes. The final design of power, telephones and data connections incorporated a network of cable trays in the ceilings. A large amount of electrical and data upgrading in the buildings accommodated the latest directions in communications. Throughout the project the current airconditioning system had to remain in service, while being upgraded to accommodate the increased loads.

A lot of equipment was not Y2K conformant and this had to be resolved. Airconditioning systems had to be installed for servers and data banks to meet the requirements of IT data networks. Vital servers that manage Telkom's national networks were incorporated in the various buildings. Effective change management had to be effected to ensure there was no downtime. While the previous security system was inadequate, the removal of the partitioning and locks made it necessary to provide an alternative form or level of protection. An optimal security system was implemented, including access control per floor. The previous fire system was ineffective and, with the removal of partitions as well, it had to be re-tailored to provide the necessary level of protection. The safety aspects were all identified and resolved. A system had to be implemented to make sure the installation could be maintained after completion of the project. The co-operation of everybody in the complex was necessary to allow the client to function effectively throughout the project with a minimum of down time.


The Space Saver Project met the requirements for a high-tech environment stipulated by the client. In addition, now is one of the safest high rises complying to SABS 0400 – 1990. A noted success was the integrated approach, which ensured minimum disruption to individual employees. The reticulation of power, telephones and data connections are more flexible in the new application and by combining this with the reticulated screens, the optimum use of the services was obtained with maximum flexibility. Any future changes in layouts can now be done at a substantially lower cost than before.

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