Prague 2016 | Residential

House Declercq

South AfricaSouth AfricaCompany Name: Shospec (Pty) Ltd

Project description

Set in an agricultural estate, surrounded by sugarcane and grazing cattle, this house is a perfect example of what lightweight building methods are designed for. Early involvement of the contractor with the design team enabled the contractor to push the limits of this light steel frame home and cottage. The general design is very modern with raked walls and ceilings and the wall heights range from 2.8m to 6.0m high. The home reveals clean sharp lines and large glazed openings to capture the stunning views from the 65m length main dwelling out into the wide open spans of the KwaZulu Natal countryside. The extensive use of biophilic design principles included an indoor outdoor Koi pond, with a glass divider partly submerged into the pond to separate the indoor and outdoor areas. To complete the home, the garden is filled with indigenous plants and rock walls built from the rock found whilst leveling the site.


Shospec (Pty) Ltd

Pietermaritzburg based industry leaders Shospec have for the past 20 years been successfully providing the industrial and building industries of Kwa-Zulu Natal with quality, high-end Shop-Fitting services, Light Steel Frame structures and successful Turnkey project services. Headed up by two Directors- Bjorn Kahler and Martin Naude- together with a team of 15 installation crews, Shospec is committed to delivering the highest standard of Shop Fittings, Light Steel Frame Structures and Turnkey services to their clients no matter how big or small, always remembering that superior service is the key to success and growth. A steady 25% increase in turnover over the past three years and a solid, growing and satisfied client base is proof of Shospec’s commitment to quality and service.

Excellent aesthetics
The modern design, with smooth straight walls, would not have been achieved with conventional building methods, i.e. bricks and mortar
Fire protection
Gyproc Fire Resistant Wall Systems offer excellent fire protection in this residential home, where the architects specified a performance fire rating
Moisture resistance
Gyproc Moisture Resistant Wall Systems were used in the bathroom areas where moisture protection was required
Environmentally friendly
Less waste on site, less transport and water required due to lightweight products vs conventional building methods

Key Achievements

  • The contractor was involved from inception and design stage and had the opportunity to advise the architect and give technical input on pushing the limits.
  • The smooth, straight walls and ceilings in this modern design would have only been achieved by using lightweight building materials and the same would not have been achieved using traditional building materials (brick and mortar).
  • Extensive use of biophilic design principles allowed for expansive views of the KwaZulu Natal midlands countryside, double volume glazing brought ample natural light into the home and an indoor/outdoor Koi pond and indoor garden with a skylight reinforced the connection to nature. 

Key Challenges

All the Light Steel Frame (LSF) walls varied in height, internally and externally, due to the Mono pitch roof. These included truss pockets to take each roof truss in the walls. This was further complicated by the home being split into 3 x zones all having varied wall plate heights varying from 2.8m at the back to 6.0m in the front. No direct water or electrical supply was available for the first 4 months on site, thus water tanks and generators were required. As LSF is a dry building system, minimal water was required during this stage. Other challenges included a 1 month steel industry labour strike that caused some frustrations all round with supply and delivery of steel for the concrete slabs, light steel frame, structural steel and roof sheeting. Despite being integral to the project, the project managed to resolve the knock on effects. The agreed occupation date was met and the house was handed over to the owners on time. 


Building owner:
Kim and Paul Declercq
Oliver Wills, Earth Energy Architecture
Main contractor:
Bjorn Kahler, ShoSpec (Pty) Ltd
Grant Ballot
Saint-Gobain Team:
Andrew Edwards