Chancellery Building at Western Sydney University (WSU) - Blinds by Peter Meyer | ArchiPro

Chancellery Building at Western Sydney University (WSU)

Summary

Blinds by Peter Meyer were engaged to add shade and weather protection to the outdoor balcony of the New Chancellery building at Western Sydney University (WSU).

The project had significant budget restrictions, along with fitting constraints and waterproofing issues. Compliance issues also added to the complexities in pricing the job and producing a suitable solution.

The project demonstrated not only the scope of our solutions offering but also the regulatory and architectural smarts required of our team.

Project Description

Blinds by Peter Meyer's recent involvement in the complex Sydney project demonstrates not only the scope of its offering but also the regulatory and architectural smarts required of the team.

Blinds by Peter Meyer were engaged by BuildCorp, a construction company on a project to add shade and weather protection to the outdoor balcony of the New Chancellery building at Western Sydney University (WSU).

The project originally called for four large Patio Roof systems, however we eventually had to change direction to achieve the client’s desired outcome.

In conjunction with one of our dealers (Sunteca), we quoted the project up with four separate patio roof systems (Pergotex ||) mounting the front posts onto the front wall as per the project drawings.

The University then requested that the particular system’s patio roof framework was used to complete the look in between the four Roof systems as they wanted the balcony to have a unified, framed aesthetic.

Options in this regard were unfortunately limited due to budget restrictions. They were also limited by a fitting constraint; the front wall was not strong enough to support the weight of the patio roof system, and fitting to the floor was not an option due to previous waterproofing issues. As a result, the decision was made to replace the proposed Pergotex || patio roof system with a Kubata folding arm awning.

Complexities in pricing the job were added to by compliance issues. The Australian regulations set out by the Building Codes of Australia (BCA) stipulate that any product being fitted onto a commercial buildings or high rise apartment blocks above the first floor must be non-combustible. This was a reaction to the terrible Grenfell Tower disaster in the UK, where a building facade caught fire and spread across the whole tower. Awnings used to have an exemption, but this was removed in a recent revision.

The issue with this is that it requires awnings to be non- combustible and puts them into the same category as building claddings or facades. The BCA legislation requires that our awnings are tested to 1530 Part 1. However to test to this standard the products must meet a number of criteria: they must be at least 6mm thick and must be non-flexible. Clearly, this rules out folding arm awnings and retractable roof systems from even being tested to 1530 Part 1. To work around this legislation, the BMAA (Blind Manufacturers Association of Australia) engaged a fire engineering company to do actual fire tests on various outdoor blinds and awnings to understand how they burn in fire. What can then be produced is a Performance Solution which shows that our products will not add to the spread of flame in case of a fire. It’s then up to the Building Certifier to deem the product as meeting the standard (1530 Part 1).

The solutions for WSU were successfully tested to meet the requirements of the Performance Solution for the project.

The project was a success in the end, and we obtained a good outcome for the client. But it was an interesting job in that it illustrated the complexity of compliance and the sophistication of regulatory requirements that we have to deal with. We’re supplying much more than products, but a solution and service offer that requires us to work closely with builders and architects to create structurally and architecturally sound results that are fully compliant.

Photography: Blinds by Peter Meyer

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