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The benefits of addressing staircase works as a complete package

In Built's project at Cannon Hill, Brisbane, the benefits of addressing stair and balustrade works in a complete package have never been more apparent

Built Australia are finalising their renovation at Southgate Corporate Park at Cannon Hill in Queensland, Australia. Arden was heavily engaged in this project, performing a complete fabricate and install for the stair and balustrade components of the job.

The mono-stringer stair was designed with the slightly unconventional option of utilising a universal column as the main stringer member. This is in contrast to the more usual use of a square / rectangular hollow-section to provide structural support for the treads. A standard tread plate and gusset connection to the 64mm spotted-gum hardwood treads was employed.

Cantilevered glass balustrade with shared panels between the stair and void-edge balustrade. This type of construction demands precise detailing and construction to ensure that the components interface consistently.

The stair works fell within the critical time-table of the project, demanding a strict adherance to the schedule by Arden. Commercial stair projects like this are characterised by complexity and integrated multi-media works incorporating joinery, steel and and glazing works. Co-ordination of the sub-contractor(s) with the builder and good communication is essential to ensure that the schedule is kept.

Like many major Australian building contractors, Built is increasingly recognising the benefit of utilising a single subcontractor to complete the entire package of stair and balustrade works. These include a single responsible entity for ensuring compliance to standards and codes, and avoiding the difficulty of managing multiple contractors on integrated components. Stair tolerances and the level of detailing required are often far more precise than what is usual in the building industry. In the worst case scenario, stair components fabricated and installed by non-stair specialists have to be completely removed and re-installed by Arden. This has occured recently in major commercial projects in Australia, resulting in a massive and unnecessary cost to construction companies. Even experienced architects are not necessarily aware of the implication that their designs may have for compliance with all codes and regulations. The AS1428 disability and compliance code, for instance, has upcoming revisions.

As Denis Mezine, Built foreman at the site says, "We were initially considering breaking up the contract of the stairs but in the end we were glad we didn't. The way in which Arden co-ordinated the various trades was impressive.".

On the Cannon Hill project, on the first day Arden's specialist steel tradesmen installed the structural members and inner framing for the cantilevered glass. Joiners followed to install treads and the landing. Glaziers then followed to install the glass panels and handrail. During this process, Arden co-ordinated with other sub-contractors on-site to ensure things happened at the correct time and order.

All in all, the Cannon Hill project is a typical example of how Arden's commercial project workflow is design to minimize risk and problems for principle contractors, and to give them the results they need to make the job a success.

Published on: 19-Jan-2011. Topic/s: