Customer: John Fillmore Contracting (JFC)
Contract: Design & construct
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
The team was contracted by John Fillmore Contracting (JFC) to design, fabricate, coat, and install approximately 107 linear meters of edge perimeter balustrade around the new public space, Te Wānanga, that Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and Mana Whenua were collaborating to develop.
The project was under construction when the team was given the architects’ drawings, the structural engineers' drawings, and the survey of the concrete sections as they were laid so they needed to hit the ground running.
The design was curved, canted on a 3-degree, and needed to follow the curves of the new concrete deck. The vertical posts were made of three pieces of steel welded together, that fan out at the bottom, curve vertically from top to bottom and bell out slightly in the middle. The challenge was to adapt the three-dimensional pattern of each panel, replicating its complex geometry around the curves of the deck edge.
The solution was to use a template to custom-fit each panel. The templated section was partially fabricated then positioned onsite and adjusted and marked so the final components would fit into the deck curves. The panel was then taken back to the workshop and custom-fabricated to ensure the dimensions and connections were perfect.
The design had extremely low tolerances, with no adjustability at the angled connection points so the team accounted for every mm including thickness the galvanising and metallic coatings would add to ensure alignment.
The metallic finish also meant the welds needed to be invisible and the connections countersunk, all care was paid to the details. The striking aesthetic effect of the balustrades is achieved by the repetition of the panels and their smooth alignment.
The job required that the team access the face of the wharf, working over water at heights. To install the new balustrade the team came up with a custom scaffolding solution that included a one-ton lattice beam with a work platform counterweighted with water tanks. The design enabled the team to access the works from all angles, alongside, above, and below the deck face.
The team began work on the project in December 2020 and completed work on time in June 2021.