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Stainless Sustains Intricate Brick Facade

Stainless steel is playing a vital role in the structural integrity of a new state-of-the-art library at one of Brisbane’s most prestigious boys’ school.

The Centenary Library at Anglican Church Grammar School was designed by Brand + Slater Architects, and the ambitious project was part of the school’s master plan to provide a technology-rich, world-class centre for its 1800 students. Comprising four levels, the tertiary-inspired building features an extensive range of learning spaces including a 250-seat lecture theatre, teaching and meeting rooms and over 80 individual study areas.

The library stands 23.5m tall on a heritage-listed part of the school campus. Paying homage to the school’s history whilst appealing to a contemporary aesthetic, the library exterior features an intricate brick façade backed by a stainless steel support and restraint system custom-designed and manufactured by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator, Ancon.

Grade 304 stainless steel was used and specified for its longevity, durability and performance properties to meet the building’s 50+ year design life.

Ancon’s specialist knowledge, manufacturing agility and project management service proved invaluable to the contractor when building the detailed façade of the decorative arches and corbelled brickwork with all structural steelwork now unseen.

Shelf Angle Brick Support

Ancon masonry support systems enabled the large-scale brick cladding installation on this impressive education facility to be completed to the highest safety standards, while showcasing its architectural brickwork features.

Ancon’s MDC and CFA continuous shelf angle support systems carry the intricate brick façade, consisting of freestanding archways and projected brickwork. The MDC stainless steel angles are fixed to the reinforced concrete frame, span a 40mm cavity, and create a horizontal shelf to provide the necessary support for up to 3 metres of brickwork.

Cast-In Channel

Ancon’s 30/20 cast-in horizontal channels were used to provide the fixing between the concrete frame and shelf angles. The channel enabled the necessary horizontal adjustment for the installer, and its compact size eliminated the issue of potential clashes with the reinforcement steel in floor slabs.

Nail holes aided the fixing of channels to timber framework and an infill prevented the ingress of concrete during casting. Cast-in fixings do not generate expansive forces in concrete. It can therefore be used at close centres and often used closer to the edges than expansion fittings.

Wall Ties and Restraint Fixings

To restrain the distinctive brickwork details to the reinforced concrete structure, stainless steel L-shaped SPB and SDB frame cramps were fixed into the reinforced concrete using 6mm FBN expansion bolts.

FBN single expansion bolts are a cost-effective anchor and fix into a hole similar to the diameter of the bolt. This allows the hole to be drilled through the hole in the item to be fixed.

Technical Expertise

As part of Ancon’s free design service, plans were produced illustrating the location and reference of all fixings required. Ancon’s early engagement with the project’s structural engineers, Bligh Tanner, enabled a workable and cost-effective design to be agreed upon prior to the build of the complex masonry features. Sharing their expertise with the clients at this stage of the project meant installation difficulties, site delays and unnecessary remedial measures were avoided.

  

 

Centenary Library photo (above); Copyright: Christopher Frederick Jones.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine #61.

Art Symbolises Community

You return home after a long journey. Imagine being greeted by a beautiful stainless steel sculpture surrounded by landscaped gardens on your return. One ASSDA Member has used stainless steel to symbolise everything we love about our communities: Security, comfort and home.

It’s easy to think of stainless steel in relation to tubes, panels and rolls in the construction industry, but Brisbane-based ASSDA member, Concept Stainless Design, has taken the product and crafted it into stunningly beautiful sculptures for developers Villa World at their new subdivision on the northern Gold Coast.

Located 70km south of Brisbane, Arundel Springs will provide 386 dwellings in a family-friendly environment adjacent to the Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area and close to Griffith University and light rail services.

Villa World provided the concept design to reflect the organic growth of nature and symbolise the new families and children who will grow in the new suburb. 

The team at Concept Stainless Design adapted the design to match the size of available grade 316 stainless steel sheets. A small curve of 5mm radius was provided at the tip of the fronds to avoid sharp edges. Another small curve of 9mm was used at the gully between fronds to achieve a flawless polished finish.

The sculptures have been designed to withstand winds of up to 160km per hour, an important feature given Arundel Spring’s proximity to the ocean. An internal frame was built to secure the fronds in position, as well as a horizontal base beam hidden within the sculpture and two legs extending down from the base beam into a large buried concrete block. The structural design certification was completed by Concept Stainless Design’s in-house engineer.

The face of each sculpture was manufactured from grade 316 stainless steel sheet supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Dalsteel Metals.

The sculpture faces are joined along the centre line with an invisible polished butt weld, executed by Concept Stainless Design’s highly skilled tradesman at their Brisbane workshop. The faces were bonded to marine ply and “U” stiffeners were formed from grade 316 stainless steel strips then glued and screwed in. The second face was then placed over the stiffeners, glued and screwed to the ply-bonded face.

The entire project took eight weeks to construct and transported to their new home at Arundel Springs. The sculptures were secured in place by concrete blocks and steel bolts provided by Villa World’s civil contractor in under two hours.

Stainless steel was chosen for the sculptures because of its beautiful, smooth and highly polished finish, and for its low-maintenance properties. Surrounded by clear skies, new vegetation and lush grass, the sculptures welcome residents and visitors alike.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 60 (Summer 2017/18).

Impressive Stainless Steel Ribbon Graces New Brisbane Food Gallery

Stainless steel has brought life to a unique food precinct located in a recently opened premium office tower in Brisbane City's Golden Triangle.

Developed and constructed by Grocon, 480 Queen Street’s sustainable and eclectic design boasts a 6 Star Green Star and a 5 Star NABERS rating. The building’s food gallery, otherwise known as Room 480, is located on level 2 and capitalises on the stunning views of Brisbane River and Story Bridge to deliver a restaurant style experience and retreat for diners.

Complementing this space is a suspended stainless steel sculpture, designed by local architecture and interior design practice Arkhefield. Inspired by water flowing around rocks, the ‘stainless steel ribbon’ delicately hangs from the ceiling and weaves over the landscape of the room.

Grade 304 stainless steel was specified for the ribbon feature, using 100m of 0.9 x 600mm coil supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Dalsteel Metals. The 1 tonne of coil was supplied in a Bright Annealed (BA) finish and polyethylene coating on both sides for protection, with one side brighter than the other to fulfill the architectural effect and design requirements.

Arkhefield wanted the ribbon feature to be highly reflective on one side, with a brushed appearance on the other. As it curves and wraps through the space, the bright and flat sides of the stainless steel ribbon interact to reflect the surrounding colours and light, allowing movement and distortion throughout. Stainless steel proved the only material able to achieve this aesthetically appealing finish, whilst providing a high-quality, durable and lightweight structure.

The stainless steel ribbon spans 35m x 6m across Room 480’s ceiling and was installed by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless Aesthetics Director Mike Mooney said the installation of the entire 1 tonne of stainless steel coil as a continuous ribbon was one of the more challenging aspects of the project. This was successfully achieved using their custom designed and fabricated turntable, which housed the coil and allowed it to unwind safely 3.5m above floor level, while protecting the ribbon’s surface finish.

The installation of the stainless steel ribbon around the light fixtures emphasised the visual appeal of the sculpture and its surface qualities. It is suspended using 3.2mm wire support cables and fixings in grade 316 stainless steel supplied by ASSDA Member Anzor Fasteners.

The stainless steel ribbon is an impressive and visually dynamic integrated element of Room 480, adding colour and movement to a traditionally formal space. In addition, the sculpture provides a level of intimacy to the space that could not be achieved with a standard flat suspended ceiling, providing a pleasant ambience for patrons to dine and relax.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 57 (Spring 2016).

Images courtesy of Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless Steel Design Innovation

Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge is sporting increased safety measures with the application of innovative stainless steel products and laser-fusion technology.

 The 76-year old heritage-listed cantilever bridge now incorporates three-metre tall, stainless steel safety barriers on its pedestrian walkways, as a result of an outstanding collaboration between multiple project stakeholders. Completed in December 2015, the $8.4 million project was led by design and construct head contractor, Freyssinet.

The design brief was to develop an anti-climb structure that was both functional and aesthetically appealing, whilst ensuring the heritage values of the bridge were maintained.

This presented a number of engineering challenges, including the affixation of the barrier structure to the existing heritage-listed bridge without permanent methods of attachment, such as welding or other damaging techniques, whilst addressing the weight and wind load tolerances, ambient vibrations and noise potential.

Visually, there was also a key design requirement to ensure pedestrian views of the river, Brisbane city and surrounds, and of the Story Bridge itself, was preserved.

The initial reference design was specified in stainless steel (with an option for painted carbon steel) and required the fabrication of heavy box sections for over 1000 posts to support a tamper-resistant, horizontal balustrade cable system. The outrigging was specified in carbon steel, with isolation joints to support the upright posts. However, aesthetically, this design created a clutter of vertical elements.

Freyssinet developed an alternative design concept employing Carl Stahl X-TEND® stainless steel mesh, and engaged ASSDA Member Ronstan Tensile Architecture to assist in the design rationalisation. Ronstan Tensile Architecture conducted form-finding analysis to mimic increasing the mesh self-span between the posts. The findings resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of posts required and a more secure fall-restraint system than initially designed.

Replacing the original tension wire design with a mesh barrier significantly reduced the structural loading on the posts, allowing for a smaller number of lighter duty posts, and reducing the cost below the initial estimate.

The concept solution delivered was a dynamic structural design that met the exacting demands of the specification. The design evolved to using laser-fused stainless steel open section beams for the posts, positioned approximately three metres apart with a blackened Carl Stahl X-TEND® stainless steel mesh barrier.

This project is the largest to date in Australia using laser-fused stainless steel structural beams.

Low impact laser-fusion is a process that allows the welding together of pre-polished flat components to a special profile without damaging the visible surface. It provides an effective and economical alternative to extrusions or conventional welds, providing closer tolerances, superior joint integrity and more consistent finishes.

The introduction of laser-fused stainless steel structural beams into the Australian market allowed Freyssinet the flexibility to plan and design with stainless steel in an outcome that was unrivalled for the project scope. Developed and manufactured by Montanstahl (Switzerland) and its subsidiary Stainless Structurals Asia (Singapore), the laser-fused stainless steel structural beams were supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Atlas Steels, as the exclusive agent for the product in Australia.

To this end, Atlas Steels supplied over 30 tonnes of stainless steel for the project, including 316L grade 80x80x6mm I-beam sections for the 530 upright posts, 316 grade 65x65x6mm angle bars for the outrigging, and 316 grade 38.1x1.6mm 320 grit polished tube for the framing of the mesh.
The I-beams supplied were made from a pre-polished strip with a <0.5Ra finish. The I-beam components were laser cut, polished, and then laser-fused together.

Freyssinet rolled the I-beams using a local roll forming company in Eagle Farm to form a curve, following several prototypes to achieve the required design. The beams were then delivered to ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Stainless Engineering Services to cut the posts to the specified height, verify the dimensions, placement and drilling of the holes for the bolt connections, and passivate the posts to ASTM 380 prior to installation.

Stainless Engineering Services also used the offcuts from the I-beams to fabricate the brackets, ensuring no material wastage.

ASSDA Member Anzor Fasteners supplied 550 units of grade 316 stainless steel coupling cables in various lengths of up to 2.1 metres, in 4mm diameter and 1/19 configuration. Each cable was swaged to a threaded stud on one end and a u-shaped fork coupling on the other end. The coupling cables were used to affix the X-TEND mesh to the posts, providing an adjustable method of attachment.

Following the erection of the posts, Ronstan Tensile Architecture supplied and installed 3400m2 of Carl Stahl X-TEND® 316 grade stainless steel mesh constructed from coloured stainless steel wire rope. The stainless steel was blackened with an additional polyester amino resin, which was hardened to the wire under temperature.

The blackened Carl Stahl X-TEND® mesh was the key to achieving an unobtrusive composition and historical aesthetic, while providing the flexibility and tensile strength required for the structure’s design and use of the laser-fused posts.

The structure is a pivotal safety addition to the Story Bridge and exudes functionality in its excellent and unique engineered design. Stainless steel is unmatched in the materials selection for providing durability, structural performance, low maintenance, corrosion resistance and aesthetics.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Photography by Fullframe Photographics.

Stainless in Color

A modern and innovative design using coloured and textured stainless steel has left an impressive statement on an Adelaide streetscape.

South Australia’s premier shopping district Rundle Mall underwent a full makeover from 2012-2014 as part of the Adelaide City Council’s initiative to revitalise the precinct.

Part of this redevelopment included a redesign of the facade of a commercial tower at 80 Grenfell Street, housing the Adelaide headquarters of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Design practice HASSELL delivered an iridescent façade design using coloured stainless steel cladding, supplied by ASSDA Member Steel Color Australia. The extent of the façade referred to as ‘the ribbon’ cascades over 10 storeys, connecting the office tower to the lobby entrance via the retail parapet. The ribbon was made up of over 100 panels that twist and bend over the full height of the building, creating an artistic ripple effect.

HASSELL and Arup’s façade engineering team tested this unique design with physical and virtual models, further refining the design detailing with extensive prototyping. This collaboration with the assistance of Steel Color Australia’s product and material knowledge ensured this remarkable design element was feasible.

Stainless steel was specified for this design as its inherent properties allowed for the level of manipulation required to construct the architect’s creative expression, as well as provide a high quality and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Over 1500m2 of grade 304 stainless steel in 4000x1250x1.2mm sheet in a Rosso colour (Italian for red) was supplied by Steel Color Australia, as the sole distributor in Australia and New Zealand for embossed, coloured, mirror finished and textured stainless steel manufactured by Steel Color S.p.a in Italy.

Steel Colour Australia owner Vince Araullo said that electro-colouring (INCO system) is the main technology in Steel Color Australia’s production. ‘The stainless steel sheet’s surface was directly altered, chemically stimulating the natural passivation of the material. No painting was involved in the process, increasing the pitting resistance of the stainless steel.’

In terms of manipulating the steel’s shape, Araullo said that colouring is an intrinsic part of the stainless steel. ‘This means the stainless does not lose colour during shaping, as opposed to aluminium for example which would need to be coloured after folding due to the fragility of the coloured anodic coating.’

Steel Color Australia facilitated the overseas production of some 270 sheets, weighing 10 tonnes and their shipment to the project site. Modular framework was constructed to bend the stainless sheets into shape for easy installation on site by crane.

The visually striking building façade integrates impressively into the Rundle Place precinct, and the outcome has resulted in a virtually maintenance-free and colour enduring structure.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Images courtesy of Steel Color Australia.

Stainless Steel Leads a Stellar Redevelopment

When Sydney's Star City Casino emerged from the chrysalis of its construction scaffolding, its metamorphosis included a gleaming 340m2 stainless steel-and-glass canopy facing the harbour.

ASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator TripleNine Stainless fabricated and installed the canopy over the main entrance of ‘The Star’, as it is now known, as part of an $850 million redevelopment. This transformation saw Sydney’s only casino swing its orientation 180° from Pyrmont’s fish markets toward the city’s glittering Darling Harbour.

The Star’s façade was designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners and is comprised of 147 flags of clear, low-iron glass supported by two fingers of 20mm and 166mm plate stainless steel. The surfboard-shaped canopy is 40m x 8.5m and made of 300 nominal bore pipe with a lattice effect created by 100 x 50 rectangular hollow sections. All 18 tonnes of stainless steel is 316 grade and was supplied by ASSDA sponsor, Atlas Steels.

Peter Petro, the site architect for the project, says stainless steel was the obvious choice from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view. ‘From a practical perspective, we chose stainless steel because it’s so close to the water and we needed something that was resilient.’

In terms of aesthetics, Petro says they wanted a high-quality finish for the front of the building and stainless steel was a prime choice. ‘We also had a lot of lighting design so we wanted something that would bounce the light around. We were able to give the stainless steel a polish that also matched the glass façade upstairs. This gives it a playfulness at night and a high finish during the day.’

TripleNine’s Director, Justin Brooks, says electropolishing wasn’t an option because of the massive size of the canopy. ‘Instead, it was polished to 400 grit then passivated with an Avesta product.’

Brooks says the project's engineers and designers, Yuanda, employed a Feng Shui expert to sign off on the canopy before
it was built at TripleNine’s purpose-hired workshop. ‘The basic geometry came from the client but we did the design detailing because of all the different shapes and angles,‘ explains Brooks.

The $1.4 million canopy project commenced in August 2010 and was completed in January 2011 with about 15 people assigned to the project. The canopy was built in one piece and transported with a police escort in the dead of the night on the back of a truck with front and rear steering. Installation took only two days, says Brooks.

During the design-detailing phase, TripleNine employed 3-D modelling and Yuanda’s engineers gave careful consideration to expansion and
contraction. ‘Because [the canopy] was so big, we needed to include some bridge building technology,’ says Brooks. ‘We used expansion pads as the canopy was calculated to expand up to 50mm across the total length of it.’

‘The Star’ is a bright, light addition to the harbourside landscape. While the elements of Feng Shui can’t be guaranteed to produce financial fortune in The Star’s casinos, the stainless steel canopy is certain to maintain its appeal for decades to come.

Images courtesy of TripleNine Stainless.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless, issue 52.

Reflected Glory

Stainless steel’s star has ascended in the public’s conscience as thousands of Westfield Sydney shoppers enjoy the world-class design and materials on show in its newest retail development.

Covering 103,000m2, the $1.2 billion Westfield Sydney development is bound by the Pitt Street Mall and Market and Castlereagh Streets in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. It integrates Westfield Centrepoint, the Centrepoint Convention Centre, Imperial Arcade and Skygarden, plus a new office tower at 85 Castlereagh Street and an extensively modified and refurbished tower at 100 Market Street.

While the size of the project is enormous, it’s the design that’s turning heads. With a nod to lauded international developments in Paris and Frankfurt, the architects of Westfield Sydney have created a stunning environment that makes extensive use of mirror and hairline finished stainless steel in the interior spaces.

Stainless steel was chosen by Westfield’s architects to create a very upmarket, stylish environment for shoppers. In addition to meeting the design intent, stainless steel also offers durability and ease-of-use during construction.

ASSDA Accredited Townsend Group was chosen to design, fabricate and install stainless steel elements throughout the complex, a task it was confident to undertake due to its experience delivering exceptional quality products to exacting clients, such as Apple Inc.

Townsend was awarded the following elements using only 316 grade stainless steel:

›    8,500m2 of mirror-finished stainless steel troughs and particle board infills in the feature ceilings on levels 3 and 4
›    Composite stainless steel panel cladding of the escalators on all levels
›    Black glass and mirror-finished stainless steel on the escalator soffits in void 4
›    Hairline-finished stainless steel composite panel cladding in voids 1 to 10
›    Mirror-finished stainless steel cladding of the elliptical column in void 1 from levels 1 to 5.

The project’s innovative design and engineering required the use of Townsend’s Vee-Cutter, the only one of its type in Australia, to create a very tight radii on the corners on some of the architectural elements. No additional services or treatments were required before or after installation as the stainless steel was procured with a protective film that remained on the product through the manufacturing process until the installation was complete.

Townsend Managing Director and CEO Russ Hill stated that the company was excited when selected for this prestigious development. The complexity of the project presented many challenges which Townsend was able to meet through its skill and experience, resulting in a finish which met the brief set by Westfield and its architects.

Images courtesy of Townsend Group.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 50, Summer 2011/12.

Stainless Steel and Plumbing Standards

After three years of development, the first stage of a Standard covering the grade and dimensions of stainless steel pipes and tubes suitable for water supply and drainage systems has been completed. This interim Standard will be converted to a full Australian Standard in 2009.

The Standards Committee included ASSDA representative Neil McPherson of OneSteel, supported by the Technical Committee.

To avoid possible confusion and protect against corrosion problems in aggressive water supply areas, grades 316 and 316L are specified for the plumbing installation Code of Practice. All materials that satisfy the requirement for water supply and drainage systems must be included in the installation Standard AS/NZS 3500 Parts 1 & 2, which covers the material, grade and approved jointing method for piping systems.

If a material is included in Part 1 Water Supply (for drinking water), it will need to be certified against a product standard to Level 1, while Part 2 Drainage & Sanitary Plumbing requires Level 2 certification. The main difference is that Level 1 products require testing under AS4020 Material in Contact with Drinking Water to confirm lack of water contamination. Stainless steel product readily passes this testing.

All fittings, including the mechanical jointed pressfit and roll grooved types used for the plumbing services, are also tested and certified. AS3688 Metallic End Connectors defines the criteria against which these fittings are certified, including the additional pressure and fatigue testing to demonstrate strength of joint assembly.

Stainless steel using mechanical jointing systems

Mild steel, copper tube and plastic pipes have dominated building water systems for many years. However, high rise developments over recent decades have changed the building industry requirements for water supply and fire protection systems. These systems now require materials with a much higher pressure rating and corrosion resistance.

Stainless steel is recognised as a material most suited to meet these requirements. However, older on-site methods for jointing and fabrication has limited the use of stainless steel.

The approval of mechanical pressfit and roll grooved systems for all water systems has provided a major market for stainless. Stainless steel pipes and fittings have been installed as a solution to specific technical issues including a corrosive environment, high pressure requirements of the hydraulic services system, high operating temperature, or where the project owners are looking for a whole-of-life sustainable product solution.

The following projects illustrate some design and installation specifications around Australia.

Casey Aged Care Facility, Heidelberg, Victoria

108mm and 76mm tube in 316L was supplied by Blucher for a low pressure system feeding rainwater from storage tanks to pumps. Stainless steel was chosen due to concern of longevity and water contamination from other materials due to water levels in storage tanks being low or empty for long periods during dry spells. The Mapress stainless steel pressfitting system was familiar to the plumbing contractor who felt it was labour saving and easy to install. Plastic pipes were used from the roof to the plastic rainwater storage tanks.

Western Corridor Recycled Water Project, SE Queensland

The Mapress 316 pressure system was chosen for rapid, simple installation. There was a lack of pipe fitters available so socket welding was not possible and other trades made the installation. Sizes ranged from 15 to 54mm with butyl rubber sealing rings containing pressures up to 1,000kPa. The stainless steel was used for potable, treated and fire water as well as compressed air. The Mapress system supplied by Blucher has been used in all three waste water treatment plants in the Western Corridor as well as in the Gold Coast Desalination Plant.

Centre Court Business Park, North Ryde, NSW

Heating and chilled/condenser water installations used 316L schedule 5 pipe in both 50 and 100mm diameter in this 30,000m2 low rise complex. Stainless steel offered reliable protection from corrosion and the Victaulic roll grooved system offered ease of assembly.

Suncorp building, Sydney CBD

Refurbishment of the combined fire and drinking water system in a 1972 building used OneSteel Building Services supplied 316L schedule 10 pipe and fittings in 3m, pre grooved lengths for assembly in restricted duct spaces. The 43 floors plus 3 basements ensured high pressure requiring strong stainless steel which also met the drinking water AS4020 requirements.

Centrepoint Tower, Sydney CBD

Stainless steel pipe and fittings were supplied by OneSteel Building Services to replace corroded carbon steel in the 305m tall tower. Systems changed were the fire and potable water and the gas lines. 300m of 316L was supplied in 2.7m lengths which were roll grooved and assembled using Victaulic couplings in a very constricted service duct. Sizes used were 100mm and 50mm in schedule 10 except for gas lines in schedule 40.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 45, Summer 2009.

A Step Up in Stainless Design

When a Melbourne design company decided to expand their business to a neighbouring space, a challenge was set: the adjoining office was on an upper level and a walkway was needed to connect the two.

The challenge was met by Carr Interior’s Daniel Stellini who envisioned a simple, strong and aesthetically refined stainless steel “hanging” staircase to allow for transit between the floor levels. 

“Considering the portal represents such a high traffic area, we required a material that was durable, strong and low maintenance: stainless steel met our brief on all three counts,” he said.

“It was our intent to express the raw edge detail of the 3mm stainless steel highlighting its fine yet strong characteristics,” Mr Stellini said.

ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Hi-Tech Stainless Fabrications used 620 kilograms of grade 304 stainless steel to construct the skeleton of the stairwell off-site. Due to the confined 900mm working space the pieces were assembled, TIG welded, screwed on from the inside and polished on-site.

Upon arrival at reception, the portal is seen as a crisp, polished insertion to the building’s brickwork, representing a refined sculptural element against the raw, distressed solid wall. Its fixing to only the upper level of the tenancy allows it to project and hover over the lower floor, whilst maintaining a weight capacity of 340 kilograms.

The stair’s profile has been left exposed, making it a feature of the space. Mr Stellini said challenging the conventional use of materials such as stainless steel is something he continues to do. Not a bad idea when you look at the possibilities!

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 44 - Spring 2008.

Fitness Never Looked So Good

Sydney’s Fifty Four Park Street is not your average gym. The exclusive venue recently underwent a luxury makeover requiring 250 square metres of stainless steel to fully portray the club’s intended style and class. ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Townsend Group worked with designer Blainey North to create a stunning and sustainable interior.

Mirror finished columns are a focal point of the indoor pool, featuring circular column cladding joined with chrome coloured silicon to maximise waterproofing. Two of the columns double as large features with water pumped up the centre of each, to spill out and over the top.

Townsend Group’s Mark Ryan says the columns are constantly drenched in warm, chlorinated pool water, so grade 316 stainless with a No.8 finish was the best choice for corrosion resistance in the humid, damp environment.

Skirting, handrails, patch fittings, stair soffits, a dividing-wall feature and balustrades were mostly vee-cut prior to rolling or bending to achieve tight radii bends. All polishing was done by hand to a mirror finish to produce a highly reflective surface as specified by the designer.

“Blainey North specialises in upmarket fit-outs and is meticulous about workmanship and quality,” said Mr Ryan, who added that clean, reflective surfaces were a high priority.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 44, Spring 2008.

Whole of life costing

19 years plus points to stainless

A fresh focus on whole-of-life costing at Gold Coast City Council has led to the specification of stainless steel for long-term structures in the foreshore zone.

The philosophy, which was adopted following the publication of a study by Griffith University and GCCC, is likely to have flow on effects to other councils and government bodies.

GCCC’s co-ordinator of technical governance Paul Conolly said the seed was planted in 1998 when Council’s Technical Services Branch specified stainless steel for a modular toilet structure in a foreshore zone park. The material was deemed at the time to be cost prohibitive on a capital expenditure basis but the process sparked an interest in lifecycle costing.

Mr Conolly said Council’s growing interest in lifecycle costing, combined with an expectation among locals and tourists that public facilities showcase a ‘resort style’ finish, had brought the focus back to stainless steel in recent years. “There has been a clear trend towards lighter, more open structures for public facilities and these lend themselves to steel work,” he said. “A lot of our public facilities are in the foreshore zone and some materials weren’t performing as well as we wanted, so we started to look at corrosion issues and how to best manage this. We started using stainless steel for critical elements, such as joint interfaces for concrete works; bolts, brackets and cleats for boardwalks; and for high use facilities such as rubbish bins.

“Our observations led us to believe that stainless was the way to go in the foreshore zone, but we had no tangible justification which the designers could use to validate the decision for our asset custodians. We needed clear evidence to prove the initial cost of stainless steel was justified over the life of the structures.”

Griffith University scholarship student Jordan Cocks was called on to research the topic in conjunction with industry affiliate GCCC as partial fulfilment of his Bachelor of Civil Engineering.
Mr Cocks investigated multiple structural scenarios from the perspective of what would represent the most cost-effective solution: hot dipped galvanized (HDG) steel, paint systems, duplex systems using both HDG and paint, or stainless steel.

The result was a report containing a design guide, a life cycle cost analysis and a life cycle costing spreadsheet for structures in the foreshore zone. The report indicates stainless steel is a viable option based on cost alone for structures with a design life greater than 19 years. Conversely, the study indicates a HDG coating would theoretically have a life span of 14 years, leaving the exposed steel subject to rapid corrosion unless protected by an increasingly costly maintenance regime.

Mr Conolly said the report had delivered a workable tool enabling designers to input various parameters, such as current prices and design life, producing a guide for selection of the appropriate material or finishes based around optimising whole-of-life costs.

Similar principles were used to shift the specification of a park arbour in Broadbeach towards stainless steel. The material was essential due to the warm, humid environment of the foreshore, regular spraying with water and fertiliser, and the fact that the arbour would have plants growing over it that would take many years to fully establish. The report has now been used to guide material selection for a number of projects, including toilet blocks in Jacobs Well, Miami (pictured) and Burleigh Heads.

“With these projects, we have gone to the asset custodians and our first question was – what is the design life?” Mr Conolly said. “The report has helped reinforce the need for a ‘cradle to grave’ approach to responsible and sustainable asset management encompassing all stakeholders. This includes not just the designer and asset custodian but all the operational and maintenance personnel involved with a structure.

“For stainless steel structures, the asset custodians now recognise that to retain an asset over the long-term and to satisfy the whole of life cost advantage there must be regular wash downs as part of the maintenance program. The higher initial construction costs are offset by the lower cost regular wash downs which form the major component in the new maintenance regimes. The buildings are also being designed to be hosed from ceiling to floor. The overall process has really helped improve the relationship between the asset custodians, designers and maintenance staff.”

Mr Conolly said the report had also been used to promote the use of stainless steel in playground equipment and shade sail structures. “It is just a matter of making that little leap towards recognising the whole-of-life cost and ensuring delivery of a durable product – it’s not rocket science, just common sense when you think about it.”

GCCC is also now favouring ASSDA Accredited Fabricators and looking to ASSDA to provide third party technical expertise or adjudication should conflicts arise relating to material performance. The ASSDA Accreditation Scheme requires fabricators to conform to stringent standards of competence, training and education and encourages a consistently high standard through industry self-regulation.

ASSDA Executive Director Richard Matheson said GCCC’s decision to favour ASSDA Accredited Fabricators and specify stainless steel in the foreshore zone was a welcome one. “I believe we will see this initiative mirrored by other councils and government bodies in the near future,” Mr Matheson said.

“There is no doubt that informed specification and quality fabrication by people who know and understand the material will offer long-term cost savings and extend the life of the product. This is why ASSDA places so much emphasis on education and technical expertise – Councils and other government bodies need to get it right the first time and ensure value for money for their constituents.”

Mr Conolly said for long term structures, stainless steel was becoming the default specification in the foreshore zone and the trend was even moving inland.

“We’re asking the question: what will look and perform best from cradle to grave? It’s making people think differently,” he said.

Download the the final report here (4.6MB) - Whole of Life Cost Comparison and Cost Benefit Analysis for Steel Structures Constructed in the Foreshore Zone.

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This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 48, Autumn 2011.

Stainless Screening

Combining Strength and Style

Melbourne based designer Pierre Le Roux began working with steel 15 years ago, more recently with stainless. “I love the high-tech, reflective quality of stainless,” he said.

Le Roux’s popular custom made wine rack design has attracted clients from both retail and domestic markets. Often doubling as a wallscreen, the unique rack is fabricated from grade 304, 3mm stainless steel sheet supplied by ASSDA member Dalsteel Metals. Each bottle holder was hand polished to achieve a personal finish.

Le Roux’s company produces custom made stainless pieces including sculpture, architectural and landscape features. Stainless domestic furniture and screening is becoming increasingly sought after and demand is largely surpassing supply. “The most common thing people say to me is that there’s just nothing out there, so they come for something unique,” Mr Le Roux said.

Creating one-off pieces to meet client specification means customer satisfaction and artistic flexibility. “This makes for a very rewarding profession,” said Le Roux.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.

Pop-up Stainless Space

New Potential for Mirror Finish

A multi-award winning building design is using stainless steel to reduce its visual impact. ‘Zoo Booth’ is a small free-standing kiosk at Victoria’s Healesville Sanctuary and – thanks to its mirror finished stainless cladding – is very well camouflaged! The design concept came from Melbourne company TS1 Pty Ltd, who launched Transportable Design 1 (TS1) Pop-up Buildings in 2006.

For the unique application at Healesville, ASSDA member Stainless Sections provided grade 304, 1.2 mm stainless steel sheet, polished to a No. 8 mirror finish to reflect the organic surroundings. Stainless
Sections’ Roy Carter said mirror finished stainless was the ideal material to achieve low visual impact in a natural setting whilst maintaining durability in an elemental location. TS1 is an expandable, relocatable space, completely construction-free and can be assembled in one day. It has become a popular solution to extending a living or work place, retail space or even for use as a spare bedroom.

TS1 Director Nadja Mott said her vision reflected a transient, nomadic lifestyle: her creations are transportable, low impact and fully recyclable. Mr Carter said the emerging market for reflective buildings has prompted further innovation to achieve solar reflection capture.

“This material allows concave shaping to be achieved which enhances marketing opportunities for mirror finished stainless in the growing green building market,” Mr Carter said.


This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.

Vertical Landscaping

Ecologically Sustainable Stainless Design

With the population boom leaving less open space available for traditional garden beds, stainless steel is helping to reintroduce Mother Nature to an increasingly unnatural environment. Ecologically sustainable design (ESD) promotes the use of existing resources to maintain biological balance. This allows for natural light and ventilation, reduced energy usage, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The need for this type of specification is so apparent that the Government has established the Green Building Council of Australia (GBA) to advocate sustainable property development.

City of Melbourne was among the first to demonstrate ESD in Australia, with its own office building Council House No.2 (CH2). Green features such as natural lighting and temperature control earned CH2 the first GBA six-star Green Star Certified rating.

Among CH2’s green features is vertical landscaping created by ASSDA Member Ronstan Architectural. The specialist tensile contractors at Ronstan developed support systems for these gardens, fixing grade 316 stainless mesh and cables to the building’s exterior. Ronstan’s Rowan Murray said the benefits of green façades are now widely acknowledged. “Many new buildings include elements of active and passive solar design and have some sort of façade as a physical shade.

Using plants as a shade element is becoming increasingly popular and there are opportunities for the stainless steel industry to provide essential structure as a platform for plant growth,” he said. ‘Living walls’ can be more beneficial than conventional shading systems, both economically and environmentally. The plant’s ability to cool via evapotranspiration provides natural insulation, lowering the building’s running costs, while producing oxygen at the same time. “This in itself provides a direct social and psychological benefit to the building occupants, driving people to engage with the building,” Mr Murray said.

“People actually enjoy the close proximity to plant life and stainless steel plays a big part in making this possible,” he said. Mr Murray said design considerations are important when specifying for this type of application, particularly “dead weight” from suspended sheet and plant matte, wind and rain force, but careful design ensures an efficient lightweight stainless solution. Specifying ESD is also beneficial to your budget.

“We love to see stainless used in intelligent ways with façades and the good news is that despite the current climate we are gradually seeing developers begin to take a more responsible approach to the upfront cost of ESD,” Mr Murray said. A recent GBA report denotes the value in green features, such as stainless façades, claiming the study proved that “green buildings make occupants healthy, wealthy and wise”. GBA recently awarded its 100th green star to a sustainable interior design at Stockland Head Office in Sydney.


This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.

purge welding to minimise heat tint

Posted 19th May 2010

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Stainless steel is frequently specified for food production, pharmaceutical, chemical and industrial applications due to its corrosion resistance and cleanability. It is vital in these sorts of applications to avoid or remove the oxide heat tint or scale that forms when weld metal is melted, because this heat tint is non-protective and provides a place for bugs to settle or for corrosion to start in certain conditions. Purge welding is particularly useful in these circumstances if no post weld cleaning is possible, e.g. inside tubes.

Figure-1---thickest-oxide

What is heat tint?

Figure 1 (right) shows the typical heat tint formed on the welded side if stainless steel is welded without excluding oxygen. The thickest, darkest oxide is in the centre (where the metal was hottest for longest) and a similar double rainbow will form on the opposite, root side of the stainless steel.

However, if access is good, such as in a tank or large vessel, then the back of the weld can be protected by gas flowing through a backing bar or even by manually or automatically blanketing the weld root with an inert gas from a lance. Unfortunately, this is not practicable in small diameter tubes. Further, post weld cleaning of the surface may not be permitted in pharmaceutical or food industry tubing with highly polished surfaces.

How is heat tint minimised?

Purge welding is a method used to ensure that, with no post weld treatment, the root of TIG welds in tube or pipe has no more than a pale straw heat tint. This level of colouration is specified in AS/NZS 1554.6 and AWS D18.1/D18.1M:2009 (level 3) as the maximum permitted for tube to be used in the as-welded condition both for corrosion resistance and hygienic applications (see Figure 2 below).

Figure-2-AWS-image-2

The heat tint control is achieved by maintaining oxygen levels <50ppm (0.005%) while the metal is hotter than ~250oC. It is assumed that weld preparation, heat input and weld technique are controlled to provide a full penetration weld with a smooth, cleanable profile suitable for Clean In Place (CIP) procedures.

Figure 3 purge welding diagramMechanical orbital TIG welding equipment should give the same result if the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Modern orbital welders are relatively narrow and can weld close to an elbow, i.e. near the edge of the welding head, as shown by the offset distance in Figure 3 (right), which represents a side view of an elbow being welded. The orbital welder clamps around the pipe and, after purging, rotates automatically while TIG welding the join.

If a consumable is used it must be at least as corrosion resistant as the tube or pipe material. Otherwise, the narrow weld could corrode rapidly if the tube was used in a corrosive environment. Purge gas must be dry and is normally argon, although low oxygen nitrogen can be used (even for duplex tubing). However, if there is excessive leakage into the arc, then phase balances can be disturbed and cause either cracking, poor toughness or lower corrosion resistance.

For long lengths of tube or pipe it is common to use removable dams to contain the purge gas. There are two main types of dams illustrated in Figure 4 below:

  • water soluble paper and adhesive tape inserted on either side of the weld area before assembly and flushed away afterwards; or
  • rubber lipped dumbell shaped assemblies with one end of the assembly attached to a purge feedline and cable for removal after the weld has cooled. The other dam disc contains a vent to avoid pressurising the purged area. Inflatable bladders can also be used instead of the rubber seals.

Custom-made tapered foam discs with a rubber backing and a covering hat may also be used if externally welding a flange to a pipe.

Figure-4---removable-dams

Purge welding tips and tricks

Purge welding is a skill and it is important that the welder is qualified for the weld. It is also essential to assess if he/she is competent to weld on the day. The weld preparation must include verification that the longitudinal weld profile in the tube will permit a gas tight seal for purging.

When the dams are inserted into each section of the tube or pipe, the feed tube and extraction wire must not be tangled. The dam spacing must be large enough so they are not overheated but, typically, a couple of hundred millimetres is adequate. The weld area must be cleaned with a new wipe and volatile solvent, and then allowed to dry before checking the area is clean. The weld area must not be touched.

Figure-5---gas-meterAlign the matching faces and start the pre-purge. The flow should be turbulent enough to remove air from the surface of the pipe, i.e. ensure the stagnant, boundary layer is very thin. Venting must be sufficient to prevent pressurisation or reverse, swirling flow which will mix purge gas with the existing air and reduce the effectiveness of the pre-purge. Either monitor the exit purge gas with a meter (as shown in Figure 5, right) until the oxygen level is acceptable or purge until at least 10 times the dammed volume has flowed. If a significant root gap is required then it can be taped over during this purge. However, care is needed to avoid contaminating the clean weld preparation with the tape adhesive. After pre-purging, reduce the gas flow to avoid blowing out the weld and commence welding.

Plan the welding to minimise positional welding with its less controlled weld profile and heat input. If the ends are not well restrained by a jig, tack them (but ensure the tack is also gas shielded). Thicker wall materials may require a trailing shield to ensure air does not contact the external metal while it is hot enough to oxidise. This is not an issue if external mechanical cleaning is acceptable.

Summing up

Stainless steel’s unique characteristics make it the ideal material in many highly-sensitive applications, but it is vital that it is handled appropriately so it performs as required. Purge welding to avoid heat tint is one example where getting it right from the outset ensures corrosion resistance, cleanability and, ultimately, longevity.

Coloured Facade

Maximum impact two years on

Coloured stainless steel has helped revitalise what has become one of Victoria’s largest and most recognisable shopping precincts – Westfield Doncaster.

In late 2008 Westfield completed a major redevelopment and refurbishment of the Doncaster shopping centre (located 20 minutes east of Melbourne’s CBD), doubling the complex’s size.

Central to the centre’s new look and feel is the building’s ultra contemporary and striking cladded facade that features coloured and patterned stainless steel supplied by Steel Color Australia Pty Ltd.

Steel Color Australia owner Vince Araullo said more than 600 square metres of grade 304 stainless steel were used to construct the eye-catching “Red Wall”.

“The brief from the designers, Westfield Design and Construction, was to deliver a contemporary looking facade that not only provided the Doncaster shopping centre with plenty of colour but would also be hard wearing against Melbourne’s diverse weather conditions,” he said.

“Our coloured stainless steel, which we import from Italy and distribute exclusively in Australia and New Zealand, is manufactured by Europe’s leading specialist in coloured stainless steel and special metal finishes – Steel Color S.p.a.”

The stainless sheeting was fabricated and installed by Melbourne-based Barden-Steeldeck Industries. Manager and part-owner Michael Shacklock said this was the first time his company had worked with coloured stainless steel.

“By attaching the sheets to a sub-frame we were able to make certain that all 300 sheets of coloured stainless steel were accurately positioned to deliver the distinctive looking facade,” Mr Shacklock said.

Mr Araullo said the colour refraction from the Rosso (Italian for red) stainless steel provided a changing colour palette depending on the time of the day and viewing angle.

“The unique movement of colour across the stainless steel clad entrance is a major shift forward from traditionally sterile looking facades that appear on many shopping centres,” he said.

To avoid the potential reflectivity of the facade hindering nearby traffic safety, a Perla pattern was specified. The indentations of the pattern diffuse light and provide an optical flatness, which effectively eliminates reflections.

The pattern also provided improved strength, allowing for a lighter gauge of 1.2mm instead of, typically, 1.5mm or more.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 47, Spring 2010.