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Concrete In Australia : September 2008
NATIONAL ACN 051 987 181 • ISSN 1037-9908 NUMBER 49 • AUGUST 2008 PRECASTER www.nationalprecast.com.au President’s Column The players in the building construction industry operate in a harsh environment where the rules of natural selection apply in earnest and it is only the fittest that survive and thrive. Unfortunately many factors come into play that are beyond the control of those participating. Some examples are rising material prices, less than adequate performance of the other participants involved in a project and inclement weather. Precast starlight in Berry The new Berry Sports and Recreational Centre on the NSW South Coast has some of the most unusual precast concrete panels to be seen in this country. The plain grey wall panels are notable for the inclusion of 374 random ‘starlight’ windows. Created by architects Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C), the windows are intended to introduce sparkling daylight into the interior of the hall during the day, while at night providing an impressive lighting display reminiscent of stars in the night sky. The challenge for Hanson Precast was how to position each starlight in the panel, how to protect each window face from scratching during casting and finishing of the concrete and how to seal each window from rainwater. A prototype panel was cast that used a removable stripping taper plate for each window. The test panel proved outstandingly successful in delivering each window with a pristine bevelled edge and an unblemished surface to the inner and outer panes. According to John Whittingham of AJ+C “The placement of the starlights was very simple in as much as there were virtually no constraints on location apart from ensuring that they were not placed directly under beam positions. The only other positions to avoid were at panel bracing Two panel types were used - 175mm thick panels for the side walls, and 200mm thick panels for the end walls. The 10 panels on each side, all eight metres high by 3.2 metres wide contained on average around 13 starlights of different sizes, shapes, and colours. Due to the insistence of the architects that no wall bracing be used, the end wall panels, each five metres high by 2.6 metres wide, were designed as shear walls to obviate the need for any bracing. In order to eliminate any diagonal roof bracing a Vierendeel roof truss was adopted to transfer lateral loadings to the shear walls at each end of the building. The load-bearing precast panels were erected and braced followed by bolting of the steel rafters to suit the curved roof. The long-span prefabricated roof panels, combining roofing, insulation, and ceiling were lifted into position and attached to the rafters. No purlins were required, with the roof acting as a diaphragm. ... continued on page 2 Precast features in awards Congratulations to Hanson Precast as precast manufacturer for the Berry Sports & Recreational Centre, which recently won the Blacket Award in the NSW 2008 RAIA Public Architecture Awards. Congratulations also go to SA Precast as precast manufacturer for the Parramatta Justice Building (winner of the Commercial Architecture Award) and to Precast Concrete Products as precast manufacturer for the Parramatta Station Wall (winner of the Architecture Award). Concrete in Australia Vol 34 No 3 27 2 inserts, and roof framing fixings. A simple grid used in the shop detailing of each panel created a process of easy review and permitted the quick and accurate positioning of each starlight in the mould. The detailing of reinforcing around each starlight was critical with trimmer bars at each opening.” This leads to a high risk environment where the implication of a less than good result is significant. It would be reasonable to assume that the commercial risk would be fully priced but in general this is not the case. That said, these are the rules of the game and we have two options, to be in or be out - as precasters we are opting to be in. Our challenge is to do what we can to ensure the playing field is level. The important consideration is that risk is appropriately and proportionately distributed between the participants in a project taking into consideration the potential reward if things go well. The concept of passing as much risk as possible ‘down the line’ is inherently wrong given that the party least able to bear the risk is often the one that is left to accept the major portion of that risk. Contracts need to fair and reasonable. There are a number of well established pro-forma contracts such as the Australian Standards series that meet these criteria but as an industry we see these amended to the degree they are barely recognisable. Contracts can be complex and National Precast has put considerable effort into an education process to ensure our members are aware of the issues involved and thus are alert to the risk shifting activity that often occurs in the shadow of a margin shaving exercise. It is vital that all the players in the construction industry have a clear understanding of the rules of the game. We must work collaboratively in a team environment to get the optimal outcome for the project and a fair result for all participants, head contractors and sub-contractors alike. ALAN MORRISON President Concrete in Australia Vol 34 No 3 27 Concrete in Australia Vol 34 No 3 27 Photographer: Nic Bailey