Another tower to shape Westlands’ lansdcape: Pan Africa Life Assurance building

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The tower development will be an iconic and landmark building along Waiyaki Way that will epitomise the rich heritage of Pan Africa Life Assurance as a distinguished and respected global brand.

The design is timeless remaining relevant through its life cycle and an attraction for generations on end. The building is a modern and contemporary design that portrays the new face of Kenya. It has been designed with an attractive ambience employing creative use of colours to produce pleasant surroundings.

The materials specified for the building are of high quality. The finishes and fittings both internally and externally will age gracefully and withstand adverse weather effects, dust, use etc. The building will have state-of-the-art lifts.

As one of the greatest assets of Pan Africa is its employees, the following key attributes were identified as key for a conducive environment and therefore taken into account during the design:

·         Adequate provision of parking space: the parking caters for the tenants of the building and visitors.

·         Natural cross ventilation

·         Adequate and optimised use of natural lighting

·         Universal ease of accessibility for the disabled, visitors and tenants. Access for office users, visitors, vehicles and the physically challenged is easily identified and user friendly. For vehicles, the design avoids congestion entry and exit points

·         The design is an intelligent building that incorporates technology

·         A building that is secure

·         A building that minimises noise pollution from the road

·         Beautifully landscaped terrace garden for relaxation

The tower construction project commenced in 2013 when a feasibility study was done for the project. Concept Design on the project started in late 2013 and was finalized in February 2014. Detailed design was finalized in December 2014. With scheme design complete and necessary approvals (NCC & NEMA) obtained in May 2014, excavation was started in October 2014 and will be complete in March 2015.

Unique Features and Environmental Considerations

There is synergy between classical modern forms and pure natural forms in the building’s overall design. An iconic light tower at the top of the structure that forms the crown of the building will be visible from far. The façade of the building has aluminium fins to reduce solar glare and heat gain and also enhance the aesthetics of the building. These unique features create an iconic building with a classical timeless look.

Every modern building must strive to be “green”. Designers of the Pan Africa tower have taken several environmental factors into account:

·         Conservation of energy through the use of energy saving installations e.g. by use of occupation sensors for lighting, and enhancing natural lighting during the day.

·         Reducing the need for air conditioning by enhancing natural cross ventilation and reducing solar glare/heat gain through sun shading (Nairobi weather is mild throughout the year with daytime temperature ranging between 150 and 250 centigrade).

·         Water conservation e.g. use of infra-red sensor sanitary fittings.

·         The use of high performance shatter proof glazing to reduce solar heat gain within the building

·         The building is has a north south orientation to reduce on solar heat gain on the building facade

·         The use of sun shading fins on the east west facades whose primary function is to reduce solar heat gain on this exposed facades as well as being external aesthetic elements on the building exterior

·         Rain water harvesting to supplement the borehole water

Finishes and Fittings

The office building is being undertaken as a “shell and core” development with individual tenants responsible for the fit-out within tenant areas as per the Landlord’s guidelines. The common areas (“the core”) will have high quality granito tiling in the lift lobby and high quality ceramic tiles in the wet areas. All lighting and fittings will be of high quality to architect’s specifications.


The tower building is an 18 storey office tower with a lettable area of 15000 square metres, a 4 storey basement parking and a 3 storey above ground parking silo. The parking ratio achieved of 1 in 29 is well within Kenyan regulations of 1 in 40.  The building will have three standby generators for backup power supply and a borehole to supplement water supply.

The development will have a stone perimeter wall with electric fence at the top and modern security measures including pedestrian and vehicular access control and CCTV recommended by International Security consultancy (I.S.C.), a top international security solutions consultancy. The development has six high speed lifts to enable rapid vertical circulation within the building.

The tower building has placed emphasis on fire detection and suppression, and these were designed to meet high British Standards. International engineering firm, Arup, were mandated to evaluate the fire requirements and make recommendations on the best possible approach to fire detection and suppression within the building, which include fire lobbies, fail safe sprinkler systems, pressurized fire escape staircases and a fully zoned fire detection and alarm system all fully integrated into the building management system ( B.M.S.).

Challenges encountered

The excavation revealed that the ground material encountered required for the foundations to be re-designed to cater for poor ground conditions. Given that the site has had to be excavated to cater for four basements, the working spaces were constrained.

The tower building is scheduled to be handed over as practically complete in late 2017 with project closure in late 2018 when the defects liability period will be over.

Project Team


Pan Africa Life Assurance Ltd

Project Manager
Acorn Management Limited

Design Architect
Gapp Architects & Urban Designers (South Africa)

Local Architect
Triad Architects

Quantity Surveyor
Integrated YMR Partnership

Structural & Civil Engineer
Civil Engineering Design (K) Limited

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Norkun Intakes Limited

Security Consultant
International Security Consultancy (I.S.C)

Fire Engineering Consultant
Ove Arup & Partners

Excavation Contractor
Elite Earthmovers Limited

Main Contractor & Sub-contractors
To be appointed
Pan Africa Life Assurance Ltd

Pan Africa Assurance Limited is a leading Life insurance services company in Kenya offering a wide range of life insurance and underwriting services to individuals, small businesses, corporations and government entities. Pan Africa is the leading life insurer in Kenya, with a branch presence in all the major towns of the country.

Pan Africa Life Assurance was created as a subsidiary of the Pan Africa Insurance Holdings to provide largely life assurance services in Kenya. The Group has a long outstanding heritage in providing underwriting services since 1947 through the Pan Africa Insurance Holdings.

Acorn Management Ltd

Acorn is a leading project manager in the East and Central Africa region with a proven track record having successfully delivered iconic buildings such Coca Cola East and Central Africa Headquarters in Upperhill, Equity Centre, Deloitte Headquarters on Waiyaki way, Acorn House amongst others. Acorn is the only project management firm in the region that is registered with the Association of Project Managers (APM) – UK.

Gapp Architects & Urban Designers (South Africa)

Gapp Architects & Urban Designers (South Africa), the lead consultant and design architects for this development for Pan Africa designed the iconic Coca Cola East and Central Africa Headquarters in Upperhill. They are working with the local architects, Triad Architects who have over 50 years of experience in Kenya and the region having designed and delivered projects like Times Tower, Deloitte Headquarters on Waiyaki way amongst other projects.