KPMG In South Africa

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KPMGFebruary 1999
South Africa


KPMG Johannesburg and national offices will take occupation of their R100-million premises, KPMG Crescent from today. Situated on the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and Empire Road, this premier site allows easy access to the city and the motorway.

The choice of site was a key factor in the decision to move out of town. Despite many clients having moved to the north of Johannesburg, many remain in the centre of town and continue to invest in its infrastructure. These include a large number of financial institutions.

For those staff members servicing clients based in the northern suburbs, a motorway on the firm's doorstep proves equally convenient.

The Carlton Centre's infrastructure was proving problematic, with crime and technology concerns being on KPMG's need-list.

"Our present lease was entered into over ten years ago at what was then market-related rentals. On top of these rentals, we also agreed to annual escalations. So while current Carlton Centre rates are low, we are not benefiting from them. In addition, to improve security for our people, KPMG has leased expensive parking," says Johannesburg's managing partner Tom Grieve.

He says that if these costs, together with the cost of hiring outside training venues, are combined, the Parktown rentals will show a modest increase. This is possible because of efficient space planning and using technology that allows KPMG staff members access to the firm's knowledge resources from remote locations.

The building also has entertainment venues for KPMG events, obviating the need to hire outside venues.

These, together with the auditorium, are on the ground floor. Seating 150 people, the auditorium is equipped with the latest multimedia equipment.

"So the building has been designed with the unique needs of KPMG's business in mind. Extra thought has gone into how we make our business more efficient while keeping costs at a minimum," says Robin Lydall, partner in charge of the project.

The 17 000 sqm of office space will house over 1000 staff members on the ground and four upper floors. Four north-facing wings are connected by a major corridor on the west and by glassed-in bridges on the east.

Improvements are not only skin deep. Technologically advanced wiring, demountable desks with power points for laptops and cellphones have been added for convenience.

Another improvement is the acquisition of the latest Siemens PABX with voice messaging.

Robin says that there was a huge interest in the famous site with its indigenous trees, with environmentalists keen to keep Parktown's green lung.

So, in tune with environmental thinking, the building was kept low-rise and the flora of the site preserved. These include seven London plane trees which were moved while building was in progress.

Entrance to the premises is through Empire Road and Jan Smuts Avenue, he concludes.

Group 5 Goldstein are responsible for the construction. Architects Boogertman Kruger designed the building. Standard Bank are the financiers.