United Insurance Adjudicates HQ Design
Construction subject to acceptance of design by board of directors despite competition win
United Insurance SC (UNIC) is slotted to become the third insurance company to construct its own headquarters after announcing Geretta Consult Plc the winner of the design competition for the building on Monday, November 22, 2010, at the Hilton Addis.Winning design is the one on the left
Awash Insurance SC inaugurated the headquarters it shares with Awash International Bank (AIB) earlier this month, while Nile Insurance SC is slotted to start construction of its own offices in December.
Although 10 companies had purchased the bid document for the design competition tender which was floated by UNIC in July 2010, only five submitted their designs by the deadline in October.
“Some of the bidders had requested an extension, but we declined,” Eyessuswork Zafu, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of UNIC, told Fortune.
Creating the winning design earned Geretta Consult Plc 70,000 Br in prize money. Metaferia Consult Plc and Afri Consult Plc were awarded 40,000 Br and 30,000 Br for second and third place, respectively; while MH Engineering Plc and National Engineering and Architecture were awarded fourth and fifth place, respectively, as well as 10,000 Br each.
Yet, despite being selected as the winner by the five-member jury chaired by Mulugeta Metaferia (Prof), a veteran architect, the design still has to be approved by the board of directors of UNIC, according to Eyessuswork, who is also president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA).
If the board gives it the go-ahead, the ground plus 12 structure with a solid facade containing minimal glass will be constructed on a 1,976sqm plot located around Thewodros Square on Churchill Avenue in Piazza. By limiting the amount of glass, the company did not have to deal with UNIC’s request in the programme for the design that cleaning solutions and measures against reflective and glare issues be included in the submission if glass was used extensively.
The winning design also features two separate basement parking lots and a semi basement due to a three-metre elevation difference created by the slope of the road it is situated on.
UNIC had bought the plot with a residence on it within the first five years of opening its doors in 1997. Since it was reapportioned by the Addis Abeba City Administration two years ago, the company has been using it for storage.
However, the insurance company came a step closer to changing this when it announced the competition’s results last week. Earlier on the same day, it had announced a net profit of around 25 million Br after taxes for the 2009/10 fiscal year.
The construction of Geretta Consult’s design, which was headed by Biniam Nigussie and Million Teshome, senior architects at the firm, is projected to cost a little over 200 million Br, according to the design.
Other designs by the firm, which was established in June 1997 by Getaneh Reta, are not new to the streets of Addis Abeba or competitions.
Its design for the third Mega Building is waiting to begin construction on a plot behind the original building upon the finalising of clearing work on the site. It was also awarded third place in the design competition for the headquarters of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) almost a year ago