It took only four seconds and 783 non-electronic detonators to bring about the successful implosion of the Kaserne building in downtown Johannesburg on Sunday 15 May 2022, reports Kyle Perkin, Explosives Engineer: Demolition and Earthworks Division at Phoenecian Group.
The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) Metropolitan Municipality Department of Housing condemned the building last year following structural damage after a fire. The implosion was undertaken by Phoenecian, appointed by Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSCHO), an entity of the CoJ. It worked under Mbongiseni General Services cc to implode the five-storey building and prepare the site for its proposed redevelopment.
“We have carried out work for the CoJ before. Implosion is a demolition technique especially well-suited for this type of pre-existing structure,” says Phoenecian Contracts Manager Sne’ Khanyile. The demolition expert had to conduct minimal ‘soft’ work within the building itself from a structural perspective. This included pre-weakening certain structural elements such as the lift shafts and stairwells to ensure the successful implosion on the day.
“It took three months of detailed preparation and careful planning to achieve this,” highlights Khanyile. Perkin concurs: “There is a huge amount of planning involved as you only have a single attempt to implode such a structure successfully.”
Following the implosion, the Phoenecian bulk earthworks division will move in to break the rubble down further so it can be reused as a platform substrate for the next stage of the overall development of the site.
“This is an excellent example of the full turnkey service we offer our clients,” says Khanyile. He concludes: “Our health and safety standards are at the centre of our business practices. We carry a 5 Star Platinum NOSA rating, a high standard that we strive to always maintain in everything we do.”