Sunshades made of Divinycell P in Canberra

News /
10 October 2012
Sunshades made of Divinycell P in Canberra

Garema Court was built in 1997, comprising of both office and retail spaces. Strategically located in City Walk, Canberra CBD, close to the shopping precinct and central public transport hubs, modifications to the facade have a large street appeal impact. Refurbishments to bring the property to 4.5 stars in accordance with the NABERS Energy program began in 2010. The more recent addition was to add sunshades to the outer windows.

The architect's original intent was for stainless steel, but ARUP recognised the benefits of the composite sandwich solution that DIAB and Composites Consulting Group had been promoting to them, and put DIAB's name forward as a solution provider.

An initial meeting between DIAB Sales, CCG, ARUP and the installers, Empire Glass & Aluminium was held, and after further information exchange, CCG engineered a solution of Divinycell P and FRP skins with gel coated finish. Divinycell P has already been fire tested locally, meeting the relevant standard sections of the Building Code of Australia and its structural properties were applicable to the sunshades.

The laminate schedule was forwarded to local fabricators for quotation. Mock-up sections were produced and sent to the architect for general agreement on surface finish. Empire made their final selection of fabricator based on quotations and mock-up quality.

CCG were pivotal to the success of using composites in this application. Key inputs were:

  • Translating the requirements into a composite solution that met all structural and warranty (15 years) needs, and met the vision of the architect. While being sensitive to standard FRP manufacturing processes.

  • Consulting to ARUP to develop a project specific technical specification for façades, incorporating FRP composites.

  • Providing the chosen fabricator, Buchanan Advanced Composites (BAC), with process support and liaising with the architects and the engineering firm.

After the initial resources coordination, DIAB Sales oversaw the supply of Divinycell P to meet the strict lead times. At a time when the local DIAB production plant had recently been closed, Kunshan rose to the challenge to meet the lead times with rapid production turn around and container loading. The first delivery arrived before the fabricator's moulds were even finished, allowing for pre-cutting in readiness for production.

The 85 sunshades were constructed as a single robust unit using Divinycell P core with FRP skins. Colour matching to blend the sunshades with the buildings existing structural components was important to the overall appearance. The finish was a high performance UV-stable gel coat in the specified Dulux grey, meeting the 10 year warranty for repaint. Even with the high gloss, smooth surface, no visible joining lines were evident.

When built, the Garema Court building was not equipped to hold the sunshades, so Empire had to refit mullions around the windows to enable them to take the sunshades load. They also installed custom engineered brackets for holding the sunshades. Each sunshade was delivered to site as a single unit, bubble wrapped on a truck bed and immediately ready for installation. The shades could be manually handled by two men, as opposed to the 520-600 kg stainless steel alternatives.

Lower level sunshades were scissor lifted onto specially engineered, pre-installed curtain wall brackets, and screwed in place. The simple installation took approximately 30 minutes per sunshade. Terrace level sunshades were installed from scaffolding. Crane installation was limited to where access proved difficult over a cafeteria awning.

In an environment of more energy conscious commercial tenants, results partly attributed to the upgrade are a 100% tenancy rate compared to the local average office occupancy rate of 89%.

DIAB Australia

DIAB is a global leader in lightweight structural composite solutions. DIAB offers both an extensive range of engineered core materials for the manufacture lightweight components and also a full service Composite Consulting Group.

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