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Orchards Clinic still non-operational after years

The Johannesburg Development Agency gives a list of reasons why Orchards Clinic in Oaklands isn’t being utilised.

Residents, including councillors Eleanor Huggett and Belinda Echeozonjoku have enquired why the Orchards Clinic in Oaklands is not operating yet.

The Rosebank Killarney Gazette reported that after years of delays, construction had resumed on the Orchards Clinic in the online article Construction resumes for Orchards Clinic: Six months to completion [November 3, 2020]. However, it appears no progress has been made since then.

Acting senior project manager for the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) Nombuso Mtsweni said the facility was complete, however, the electrical connection had been delayed but had since been completed by City Power.

“The fire chief visited on April 12, which was meant to be the final inspection. The building is classified ‘E4’, for healthcare purposes, which does not require a non-combustible roof. The drawings and fire rationale design was also approved in 2015 on this basis, hence the drawings done in 2015 used for construction were deemed to be valid,” said Mtsweni.

“The chief on his last visit now argues that the building is an ‘E3’ classification [which requires a non-combustible roof] which is not only incorrect but also contrary to the approved and stamped drawings from the fire department.”

Mtsweni said the only option the fire chief was willing to consider was:

  • Remove ceiling (and services, lights etc)
  • Install plasterboard under the ceiling
  • Issue a conditional clearance so we get an occupancy certificate but commit a date to which the ceiling would be ‘rectified’.

She said the problem with the ‘solution’ was the following:

  • We are not in agreement with the classification, and removing the ceiling would mean we agree. This should be challenged by JDA with the fire department.
  • In the June visit there was no mention of the ceiling, which was installed at that time. There is also a functional fire detection and suppression system, the ceiling cannot be viewed in isolation.
  • There is no budget for the additional work.
  • There is a time frame of at least two months for the removal, replacement and testing of services.
  • The clinic would not be able to operate efficiently if this activity happens while open to patients.
  • The affected areas would restrict access to consulting rooms, the lift and the staff offices.
  • There will be damage to the building (tiles, possibly walls) due to scaffolding and removal of waiting room chairs on the ground floor for scaffolding.

Mtsweni concluded, “As a start, we have engaged the contractor to develop a detailed programme and cost for the additional work exploring options like night shift only. We have not received this yet. However, we are trying to reach Emergency Medical Services for an amicable resolution to this. Once this is done, we can give further feedback on the way forward.”

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