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News & Press: 2019 News items

A view from the skyline: the Leonardo from a Quantity Surveying perspective

Friday, 20 September 2019  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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The Leonardo

The Sandton skyline-defining skyscraper, the Leonardo, is the tallest building in Africa. The R3-billion project, developed by 75 on Maude, a Legacy Group and Nedbank partnership, has already surpassed the former stand-out in Sandton, The Michelangelo. At 233m with 55 floors, it also beats the 201m architectural height of the Carlton’s Centre, previously the tallest building in South Africa.

Coined as the pinnacle of luxury living in Africa’s richest square mile the Leonardo is intended to symbolise a beacon of hope in a trying economic climate in South Africa. Only local contractors and labour were employed on the project with each individual leaving their own uniquely South African stamp on the building.

According to Jamie Hendry, Director at Legacy Development Management, this allows the Leonardo to radiate its own soul. Each visitor will, therefore, have a unique emotional journey during their time at the Leonardo.

“Whether you’re walking through the art-filled public spaces, absorbing the ultimate lifestyle experience on level seven or the magnificent unobstructed views with a drink at the sky bar, the Leonardo will create unforgettable memories for many generations of South Africans.”

The Legacy Group is known for its proud South African heritage and its investments in the country’s construction sector during times when others weren’t willing or able to take the same risks.

Cost control for a skyline defining project

“Estimating and controlling the cost of developing tall buildings is no easy feat,” says South African Association of Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) member, Steven Schneid from S.M. Schneid Quantity Surveyors.

“The initial capital cost estimate – which is vital in calculating the viability of the project at an early stage – could not be calculated based on data and information gathered from smaller projects. The nature of the development demanded detailed measurement on each specific floor. All calculations had to be done manually with more detail, fact-checking and number crunching than the team had ever encountered before.”
The Quantity Surveying work started in 2015 with a number of amendments to the initial estimate.

“We started by preparing mini bills of quantities for each aspect of work and sent these out for quotes,” says Schneid. “This enabled the team to remain agile in finalising a cost estimate that met the viability requirements of the project.”

“The client made it clear at the outset that he wanted a world-class building design that was flexible enough to accommodate future changes. The tendering and negotiation phase demanded a coming together of the project team, contractors and sub-contractors to ensure that the client received the best value for money during a tough time in the South African construction sector,” says Schneid.

“Understanding what is important to a client allows a QS to scrutinise costs and replace specified products for equivalent options that are more cost-effective while not sacrificing on quality and standards,” says Schneid.

“Steven has been outstanding in all cost control aspects of the project. He has given a huge effort to the project and we have developed a relationship built on mutual trust. We truly value his dedication and effort throughout the project,” says Hendry.

Hendry, who is also a Quantity Surveyor, says that Quantity Surveyors and the ASAQS – an organisation dedicated to upholding and elevating the status of Quantity Surveyors – will continue to play an increasingly important role.

“Poor economic conditions, combined with all the changes and challenges in the local built environment, means that developers are looking for credible figures, accountability and reliable cost management. Experienced Quantity Surveyors are well-versed to manage this function,” comments Hendry.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephné du Toit, 084 587 9933,,  

For more information on ASAQS please visit:
Facebook: The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors