© Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal 2017

Winner: Robertson & Poole Construction, Maritime Museum Port Shepstone

The New Maritime Museum is a unique and contemporary design – the building has been constructed 100m from the ocean.

The structure is founded on piles. The first stage was bulk excavations of site followed by 4m high gabion walls built to separate the new building and the existing public parking behind. Once the walls were complete; piles were drilled and cast. The building is constructed from reinforced concrete starting from the ground beams up to roof slabs and ring beams.

A major feature of this building is that all the concrete is off shutter. No patching or coatings were allowed. This meant little tolerance for error when it came to casting concrete. There were 3 types of off shutter concrete used in the design:

  1. Specialist fare faced smooth off shutter concrete with recessed horizontal and vertical joints between form lining
  2. Specialist fare faced timber grain impressioned off shutter concrete as well as
  3. Specialist fare faced smooth off shutter concrete with smooth neat butt joints between form linings.

Further to this, the main exhibition room floor and external aprons are all polished concrete. Again, this meant no room for error or patching imperfections.

Further to this, the entrance feature was a technical design consisting of structural steel frame works. Corten cladding externally and marine ply internal. This gives the feel of authentic marine based construction.

Whilst the proximity to the Ocean played a huge part in weather delays etc., Robertson & Poole Construction could honour both the budget and completion deadlines. Due to the sensitive nature of the environment and the surrounding areas to the construction site, a great deal of time was spent on health, safety and environmental awareness, thus following sound working practice.

There was also a large element of skills development which took place on site. Many local staff were employed and trained throughout the project.

Document control was managed from head office and site office. All required information was presented at the monthly progress meetings (see attached example)

There were no incidents on this 12-month project and safety and environmental issues were taken seriously and adhered to with monthly audits and checks. Waste management control was noted in the Environmental Audit report and Health & Safety Audits. It is noted that due to municipal regulations, daily collection of waste of all kind was managed and removed daily.

The museum is a channel to encourage tourism and generate income to the region.