How could Locker Group products contribute to skyscraper sustainability?

3 ways Locker Group can contribute to green skyscrapers

 

In March next year Melbourne has the honour of hosting the first Australian Smart Skyscrapers Summit. Based on its counterpart in Dubai, the event will be an opportunity for businesses and industry experts to share knowledge and discuss the future of sustainable, green high-rise development.

The traditional idea of skyscraper design is a poor response to Australia’s hot climate.

Australian skyscrapers

Australia has an increasing forest of skyscrapers. According to news.com.au we’ve got over 300 buildings higher than 30 storeys, and another 272 are in the process of being built. But not all of these structures have the best principles of sustainability and environmental awareness in their design. Dr Phillip Oldfield, senior lecturer in architecture at the University of New South Wales, told news.com.au that the traditional idea of what a skyscraper looks like – smooth, symmetrical and covered in reflective glass – is a poor response to Australia’s hot climate, and one that is “environmentally criminal”.

According to Dr. Oldfield, the ideal skyscraper design for Australia is one that has our climate in mind from the initial designs, using shade and judicious use of windows to limit the potential for overheating inside. The fully glass design we imagine when we think of a typical skyscraper relies heavily on air conditioning to keep the interior a comfortable temperature, and this excessive energy use could be reduced through a rethinking of design and materials.

Inspired by the upcoming event in Melbourne, we thought we’d look at some of Locker Group’s architectural products that could be used to create sustainable, architecturally interesting skyscrapers:

1. Curtains

Whether your building is residential or commercial, the people occupying it will want two things: privacy and ventilation. Within a floor of the skyscraper, particularly in a commercial venue, you may want to divide an open plan room into multiple spaces. But adding walls will limit air flow and you’ll need to resort to more artificial air conditioning to keep things comfortable.

Wire mesh curtains provide a way of defining areas of a storey without constricting light or air flow, ensuring a liveable, breathable space that nevertheless offers privacy for the separate occupants.

Australian skyscrapers need to reduce their reliance on air conditioning to become more green.Australian skyscrapers need to reduce their reliance on air conditioning to become more green.

2. Atmosphere

The need for sun protection dominates so much of architectural design here in Australia, and this only becomes more of a focus when your building towers over anything that could hope to provide shade. In this case minimising the light and heat has to be done by the building itself, but so often this seems to come with a compromised visibility.

The need for sun protection dominates architectural design in Australia.

The solution is Locker Group’s Atmosphere facade, a lightweight, easy to install product that protects the interior of the building from the sun’s harsher effects without limiting natural lighting or the views from inside. This not only improves the comfort of the building’s occupants but does so in a way that reduces the need for artificial lighting and temperature control, ensuring your building is as sustainable as possible.

3. Handrails

Finally, the simplest product we can offer for skyscrapers is perhaps the most necessary, even if it does not directly affect the building’s sustainability. A building many storeys tall will offer many opportunities for stunning views, but to enjoy them safely people need to be protected from the risk of falling – a severe enough risk at one or two storeys, let alone fifty. For any viewing platform or rooftop garden, you need railings to make sure you’re not putting anyone at risk.

As technology develops, so does the scope of architectural designers, and the possibilities of high-rise buildings today is far beyond what it was in the past. Locker Group is proud to contribute to the potential of Australian architecture and design. If you’d like to talk about how our architectural products could be incorporated into your next project, please get in touch today.

Locker Group presents its Summit roof walkway kit.

Locker Group’s Summit Kit: A convenient roof access safety solution

 

Locker Group is proud to present our Summit Kit, a simple, out-of-the-box solution that allows your roof access to comply with the Australian walkway standard. Let’s take a look at what this product has to offer and how it can help your business improve its workers’ safety.

Roofs, safety, and regulations

There are many reasons why you’d need to regularly get onto roofs of industrial buildings, including accessing air conditioning units or solar panels, general roof maintenance and cleaning. Getting access to the roof of an industrial building can be a serious safety hazard – one that Mike Back, Locker Group’s National Business Development Manager, says many companies are not aware of.

According to Safe Work Australia, 25 workers had fatal falls from roofs in the period 2003–04 to 2010–11. The Australian standard AS 1657-2013 strongly recommends that external ladders giving roof access lead to a two metre walkway, with handrails, heading away from the edge of the roof. A lot of buildings, particularly older ones, are potentially non-compliant with best practice as described in the standard.

Locker Group provides the solution

The Summit Kit is ideal for retrofit application to make existing buildings compliant.

Solving this problem was our starting point for developing the Summit Kit product. Locker Group wanted to provide a simple, quick solution that would allow businesses to make their roof access safer without unnecessary bother or cost. Mike Back sums it up:

“We’re going to make a complete off-the-shelf kit, so everything you need is in the box, it’s been tested to the standard, and it can be assembled by a competent person. If you’ve got an older building that isn’t compliant, you can easily get one of these kits and it’ll sort out your problem.”

We developed a product to be an immediate, complete solution to the apparent situation. The Summit Kit is an off-the-shelf package, available for a fixed price, that is compatible with a wide range of roof types. It is ideal for retrofit application to make existing buildings compliant.

Our Summit Kit offers an immediate solution to the problem of roof access safety.Our Summit Kit offers an immediate solution to the problem of roof access safety.

The Summit Kit offers a faster, more reliable option

While other companies can build something to fit, a bespoke solution has drawbacks. The process of measuring, designing, quoting and finally installing can be long-winded and costly, and other products, despite claiming to solve the issue of compliance, might not necessarily have all the correct testing. Customers can be reassured that the Summit Kit does what it promises – this product has been designed and fully tested specifically to do this job and be compliant with the relevant standard.

Easy on roofs

A consideration for any equipment installed on roofs is its weight. Because the Summit Kit is made out of aluminium it is very light, with a minimum installed weight of just 30 kilograms.

A further unique benefit of the Summit Kit that other products lack is the use of Gripspan walkway planking. Any walkway system you install is going to need some sort of support framework underneath, which adds weight to the overall structure. Because Gripspan only needs supports every two metres, it reduces the weight of the Summit Kit and therefore the stress it puts on your building’s roof.

Gripspan’s design also minimises the contact points with the roof itself. Reducing the need for screws though the roof means fewer compromised points where moisture can get through and potentially cause leaks.

Gripspan planking means the Summit Kit is lightweight and durable.Gripspan planking means the Summit Kit is lightweight and durable.

The Summit Kit’s easy installation

The Summit Kit is designed to save you time. Its out-of-the-box setup requires only basic effort for installation. There’s no need for complicated cutting or time-wasting painting. All you have to do is rivet or screw the kit together, meaning it can be assembled and installed within a short amount of time. Its hardy aluminium construction means you won’t need to do a lot of maintenance once it’s installed, and rust isn’t a worry – this is a long-lasting product that you can set up and then get on with your business.

The Summit Kit easily integrates with existing roof walkways and other Lcker Group products to complete your roof safety system. For new buildings, or ones that require a full roof access solution, Locker Group can provide products such as Gripspan that will work in tandem with the Summit Kit to provide safe walkways and access from scratch.

Where the Summit Kit excels, however, is in situations where an existing building has some roof access already, but needs extra safety equipment to make the entry point safer for workers and to bring it up to standard. The Summit Kit provides this in a quick, convenient package.

The Summit Kit contains everything you need, straight off the shelf.The Summit Kit contains everything you need, straight off the shelf.

The Summit Kit is Locker Group’s newest initiative to supply products that deliver practical safety measures to a range of industries. If you’re concerned about bringing your non-compliant building up to standard for roof access safety, then Locker Group’s Summit Kit is an easy, reliable solution. For any other roof access or industrial building issues, please get in touch today to find out how we can help.

With more workers set to enter mining, what can you do to keep them safe?

Increased mining vacancies are an opportunity for a renewed focus on industry safety

 

Australian mining is enjoying an increase in job vacancies after a period of decline. This expansion is a good opportunity to take a look at workplace safety in the industry and what Locker Group can do to help.

Mining industry hiring again

Mining job vacancies dropped sharply between 2013 and 2015, but have stabilised and are now increasing, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) economists report.

According to CBA. the steepest increase is seen in the coal mining sector and is happening more for temporary positions than permanent ones, which have stayed fairly stable. The possibility that the upswing will extend to permanent positions depends on economic factors.

The coal sector is leading the increase i mining job vacancies.The coal sector is leading the increase in mining job vacancies.

A starting point for renewed attention on safety

The employment growth that comes from these vacancies may involve new workers to the industry, or a higher rate of employment for already experienced miners. In either case, this upturn is a good opportunity for a reassessment of workplace safety in the mining industry. Safe Work Australia says a sensible time for health and safety training is when people change jobs or employers take on new workers. A shift in the workforce may bring in new people unfamiliar with mining safety practices, and experienced workers can benefit from being reminded that safety is a priority.

Mining site safety is a combination of sensible practices and the right safety equipment.

The risks of mining

There were 17 deaths on Australian mining sites in the 2013-14 year. That number has dropped in the past two years, but according to Safe Work Australia there were were still 10 mining deaths recorded in 2015.

Strategies such as Australia’s National Safe Work Month or the push by US Department of Health and Human Services to improve miners’ training are positive steps to reducing these figures. But beyond ensuring your workers’ understanding of mine safety is up -to-date, it could pay to use this as an impetus to look at safety equipment as well. The actions of your workers will impact on their safety, but the setup of the mine itself, and the safety equipment you put in place, will also determine how well you protect your workers’ welfare.

Locker Group safety products help you protect your workers

Mining site safety is a combination of sensible practices and the right safety equipment. Locker Group provides a range of products including gratings, walkways and handrails to ensure your workers have the safest conditions possible.

Safety is important to us, and now is a good time to make sure it’s a priority for your workplace too. For more information about the products we offer, please get in touch today.