The construction of FNB Namibia’s ultra-modern N568-million headquarters in Windhoek’s central business district is indicative of the country’s positive environment and bright economic future.
These were the sentiments expressed by President Hage Geingob, who inaugurated the banking group’s four-star green building yesterday, adding that the structure is testament to government’s efforts to put in place macro-economic fundamentals and create a conducive business environment.
“It has been said that optimism is the faith that leads to achievement and that nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Through the construction of this building, FNB is expressing confidence in Namibia’s economic future and I have no doubt that this faith will lead to the continued achievement of this successful financial institution,” said Geingob during the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba.
“After 108 years in Namibia, this building that we are opening today is testimony of our strong confidence in the long-term economic outlook of Namibia and therefore the future commitment we have to this country. This commitment was confirmed in no uncertain terms during a recent courtesy visit by the newly appointed chief executive officer of FirstRand, Johan Burger, to the Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Ipumbu Shiimi,” said FNB Namibia Group CEO, Sarel van Zyl.
Van Zyl explained that after consolidation with the then Swabou in 2003, the FNB Namibia Group realized that its operations were fragmented and scattered all over Windhoek. This state of affairs worsened with the establishment of RMB, private clients and unit trust businesses as well as FNB insurance brokers.
The company’s board then decided to consolidate all operations into one building, which is now the case with the new FNB Namibia headquarters in Independence Avenue in the capital.
“Not only does this help to improve efficiencies significantly and enhance collaboration between various brands, it also makes banking so much easier for our customers who now have a true one-stop shop with ample parking, which is easily accessible to all our customers as well as staff,” said Van Zyl.
The FNB chief further noted that the total cost of the new building is N$568 million of which N$405 million was spent in Namibia.
The main contractor was Murray and Roberts, who employed 147 people on the project, while an additional 459 sub-contracting staff were employed of whom 90 percent were Namibians.
The 11-storey building, of which six floors are underground, was constructed with more than 3.6 million bricks and required the removal of more than 66 000 cubic metres of earth.
Van Zyl added that as a green building the new headquarters received a design certification at the end of 2014 for a four-star rating as the country’s first green-star building.
“A number of factors were taken into consideration during the certification process, some which had to do with the location of the building and the utilisation and preservation of the ecological value of land. Further green aspects are evident in the morphology, which refers to the correct use of blinds to reduce glare from the bright Namibian sunlight and improve the comfort of the occupants. The embodied energy of virgin steel has also been reduced by the utilisation of steel with a recycle content,” explained Van Zyl.
In addition, the building’s heating, cooling and air conditioning systems have been designed to allow vast amounts of fresh air to circulate and reduce the build-up of air pollutants, while it at the same time extracts harmful pollutants created by the huge amounts of printing and photocopying.
Specially designed materials have also been used in the outer skin of the building that enhance the efficiency of the air conditioning, while reducing energy consumption by as much as 40 percent. “This reduction amounts to an estimated savings of one million kWh per annum and is further enhanced by well-panned utilisation of artificial light, which individually switches on an off automatically only when an area is utilized,” noted Van Zyl.