President Mwai Kibaki officially opened the building in a function attended by cabinet ministers, members of parliament and top corporate executives.
Safaricom Chief Executive Michael Joseph termed the opening as another milestone for a company that started only six years ago as a joint venture between Telkom Kenya and Vodafone Limited. Then Safaricom had less than 17,000 customers and 11 base stations. “We now have over 4 million active subscribers, over 900 staff and we have directly provided jobs to more than 20,000 people working within our industry in all forms of endeavours,” said Joseph. “This year we expect to add another million subscribers to our network, we will spend over 17 billion Kenyan shillings, and we will add over 200 base stations,” he added.
“We foresee that over the next 5 years that the growth will continue with the subscriber base growing to close to 10 million and the introduction of many new technologies and services,” he disclosed. He said the company looks forward to receiving an international gateway licence on July 1st this year as Safaricom’s new headquarters the Government announced earlier in February.
The state-of-the-art building, designed by Harbans Singh Associates, comprising seven floors is designed to incorporate the latest technology construction and fit out. Each floor is designed and fitted to represent a region of Kenya. The interior of the building, and particularly the large area of open plan, subdivided where required with low level partitioning, meets Safaricom’s needs more than adequately.
The building, with its glass façade and long columns clad in stainless steel and exposed steel trussed roof is particularly imposing. It currently accommodates 300 staff and has an expansion capacity of approximately 420 staff.
The building has a large prominent entrance walkway clad in steel, with a covered, transparent roof. This leads into a double height entrance lobby which then splits into waiting areas and into conference and training rooms, A lobby extends onto an open terrace which leads on to a cafeteria with kitchen and other facilities. These include a fully equipped gym with body building and aerobics sections and also changing rooms.
With 150,000 sq ft of floor space the building has two basements and eight office floors. Each floor is designed to accommodate a particular department. A circular room on each floor is allocated for executive offices. The top floor accommodates executive offices with various conference rooms and a cocktail terrace.
The two basements accommodate 170 car parking spaces and there is open parking spaces at ground floor level for a further 32 cars. The basements also accommodate rooms for a data centre, network hub, communications equipment and PABX systems.
The building is supplied with water and power from the main utilities companies but has back-up systems for both water (400,000 litre underground tank) and two 500KVA emergency generators.
It is one of the most hi-tech buildings in this part of Africa in terms of specialized installations. It is fitted with modern high-tech security features such as Dome CCTV cameras, automated vehicle search cameras and access control systems. The building is also equipped with a Building Management System that is used to monitor, and in some cases control all the building systems.
The consultants for the building were:
Lead Consultant – Harbans Singh Associates
M & E – Kentoplan
Structural Engineer – Civil Engineer Design Limited
Quantity Surveyor & Project Management – S S Jannal & Associates
The contractors were:
Main contractor – N K Brothers
Electrical – East African Electrical
Plumbing – Central Plumbing
Air Conditioning – Hall Equatorial
Paving – Bamburi Special Products and Bomanite