Think about how windows affect the look and feel of your home.

How can you make smart architectural choices when adding windows to a house?

One of the most critical choices you make when planning the architecture of a new house is how to configure windows. This decision will have a great deal of influence over many aspects of the home – how difficult (and expensive) it is to build, how elegant it will look when completed and to what degree it will let in heat and light. There's a lot to consider.

Think about how architectural products will have an impact on the windows of your house.

It's also important to think about how the architectural products you choose will have an impact on the windows of the house you're building. For example, if you use stainless steel rather than aluminum to build the windows' framework, what effect will that have? These small design choices can make a bigger difference than you think.

Reconsidering your windows' architecture

Windows can have a surprising amount of impact on how livable a home or office building becomes, especially when you consider the sort of architectural products you use to build them. For instance, according to Architecture AU, there's been a recent trend of builders using more stainless steel for finishing windows.

This has had a noticeable effect. The steel has given the windows a strong, bold profile that makes them appear more sleek and seamless. The effect isn't just aesthetic, either – windows adorned with sturdy material like steel make it easier for the building to be resistant to the elements and block out high-speed winds.

Optimising for heat and air flow

How much hot and cold air flows into a building is always important. This is a major factor determining the indoor temperature and air quality in the building, which in turn will dictate how much heating and/or air conditioning is needed. In effect, airflow is a major cost centre.

Windows can control the flow of light into a building.Windows can control the flow of light into a building.

Rappler noted that the structure of your windows will largely dictate airflow. If you have the right screening media to keep heat and wind under control, it will be easier to keep your costs to a minimum. There's a cost-benefit analysis to be performed during the building process. How much should you spend on superior building materials?

Considering Locker Group's line of products

If you decide to go all out and build good, sturdy windows that will keep your building fully protected, we have the right building materials at Locker Group to help make that happen. For example, our line of expanded metal products is great for protecting buildings from the harsh glare of the sun.

Whatever specific architectural challenges you're facing, we are confident that we have the right materials – as well as the expertise – to handle them. Contact us today, and we can discuss all your building needs.

Designing flooring plans can be a major logistical challenge.

Good, solid flooring is at the foundation of any safe work facility

Every business owner wants the same thing from their company's facilities – a good, safe place where their employees can work productively and not have to worry about anything going wrong. If there are any defects in your company's work site, it can be a major source of stress and anxiety. No one wants to worry about their people being unsafe.

Every business owner wants the same thing from their facilities – a safe place where their employees can work productively.

Any safety effort should begin with having sturdy flooring for employees to walk on. Your floors are at the foundation of your work site, and you want workers to be able to walk from place to place, throughout your facility, with confidence.

What goes into creating good flooring?

Creating strong industrial flooring requires careful collaboration between a facility's architects and the builders carrying out the construction project. According to the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, the flooring process should begin with an architect choosing the appropriate load and deflection criteria for the facility in question. How much weight and stress will the facility's floors need to support?

The best flooring plans are flexible, meaning it's easy to modify the design of a facility later on, should the business' needs change and additional capacity be required.

Overcoming key challenges in architecture

What does it take to overcome challenges in designing industrial flooring? What happens if a building is a particularly tricky size or shape to floor optimally, or if it's difficult for a business' owners to agree to terms with architects and builders on a strategy?

Overcoming building challenges requires solid teamwork.Overcoming building challenges requires solid teamwork.

The Industry Skills Councils emphasises that good teamwork is essential for tackling difficult flooring projects. If architects and builders are able to share information well and collaborate on making key decisions about the process, everyone's job will be easier – even difficult problem-solving exercises can be simplified dramatically.

Of course, it also helps if you begin by using the best possible architectural products.

We can lend a hand at Locker Group

You want your business to have nothing less than the best when it comes to flooring that prioritises safety and resiliency. Whether you're working on a rural flooring project or building a massive facility for a large corporation, you want a structure with integrity.

At Locker Group, we can help make that happen. We offer flooring solutions that are highly reliable, yet affordable and low-maintenance. Contact us to learn more about how we can enhance your company's facilities.

How can Australia uncover a greater diversity of houses?

What can be done to improve the diversity of housing in Australia?

The population of Australia is constantly increasing. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 24.2 million people in the country as of September 2016, which was about 350,000 more than one year earlier. As a rule, Australia's population has been steadily rising at a rate of about 1.5 per cent per year. And there's no hiding from the truth – all those people are going to need places to live.

Not everyone is rich and can afford a mansion; not everyone is poor and wants to live in a small place.

To be more specific, they need a diversity of places. Not everyone is rich and can afford a mansion; not everyone is poor and wants to live in a small, cramped place in a bad neighbourhood. Most people, in fact, are somewhere in the middle. This being the case, it's important that the nation's architects work to deliver housing solutions for a wide range of different people with varying tastes, preferences and price ranges in mind.

Making creative architecture choices will absolutely play a role in this effort.

Australia's current lack of housing diversity

With the population increasing so quickly, the architectural sector is working to crank out livable housing as quickly as possible to accommodate everyone. Given the rise of new building strategies like industrial flooring, it's now easier than ever to mass-produce houses and get them ready quickly. But according to recent findings in the Parliament of Australia, too many houses are all the same.

There's a simple formula that's being followed – a large house, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a roomy three-car garage – the "McMansion" approach, as it's known. Professor Terry Burke, from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, argued before Parliament that these domiciles won't be the right fit for enough of the population for the current building model to be sustainable.

"Historically, I do not think we have really built suburbs as lacking in diversity as those we are building at the moment," Mr Burke said.

This is especially a problem in affluent suburbs of major Australian cities – consider western Sydney, for example. In areas like this, there's a lot of building, but not enough diversity among the housing projects currently being undertaken.

What can be done about the problem?

So how can this issue be fixed? What will move us toward a future in which families have a range of different housing options available? According to Architecture AU, a lot of it comes down to better planning early in the building process. Ken Maher, president of the Australian Institute of Architects, told the news outlet that real estate developers need to examine demographics carefully as they shape their business strategies.

Australian architects can either build new homes or retrofit new ones.Australian architects can either build new homes or retrofit new ones.

The housing options available in Australia's cities and suburbs can be modified in one of two ways – either by building different homes in the first place, or by changing existing residences by using inventive retrofitting strategies. In either event, it's worthwhile to think about the different kinds of architectural products available for these projects and how they might impact the eventual finished products.

Looking carefully at the products used in building

When the time comes to build a new house or modify an existing one, the component pieces used can make all the difference. At Locker Group, we have a wide range of offerings that can play a part in the process. Take curtains, for example. Our wire mesh curtains make an ideal way to add texture or character to a room – for nice, upscale homes, they might be a worthy addition, but they're also completely optional.

Our vast catalog of construction products makes it easy for builders to customise their projects to whatever specifications they have in mind. Whether you're constructing a mansion for an upper-class family or a more modest home, we have the building blocks that will be right for you.

Mining companies are looking for new, creative ways to stay competitive.

Companies striving to stay competitive in Australia’s mining industry

The work of the mining industry is crucial to the success of Australia's economy as a whole. Miners work hard to uncover valuable natural resources, which in turn are used to complete a variety of residential and industrial building projects. Without mining, we would be without many of the structures that enable us to live our daily lives.

As prices for certain commodities are falling, mining companies have begun looking for ways to stay competitive.

At the moment, though, the industry has major concerns to deal with. As prices for certain commodities are falling, mining companies have begun looking for ways to stay competitive in the industry, still paying their employees' wages and other expenses without overstepping their limited budgets.

There are certain places where they can't cut corners, though. For example, when it comes to keeping employees safe and productive, there are costs involved that are non-negotiable. This only adds to the challenge of running a successful mining business in 2017.

The key economic role of mining in Australia

It's not hard to see that mining products play a key role in driving economic value in Australia. According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the country is fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources to be mined – these include diamonds, gold, iron ore, lead, nickel, uranium and zinc. Australia ranks in the top five exporters worldwide of all of the above. All told, these valuable products make up a sizable amount of the country's gross domestic product and export earnings.

With all the products extracted from Australian mines, there should in theory be enough to support both domestic building projects and foreign investment in construction. The markets both here and abroad, however, are subject to fluctuation, which means mining companies must be prepared to adjust to changing forces around them and change their strategies.

Falling commodity prices create revenue pressures

The hope is that the nation's miners continue to supply builders everywhere with the architectural products they need, and make a pretty penny as a result. Unfortunately though, this can only happen if buyers remain willing to pay premium prices for their natural resources. When demand drops off, the industry can fall on hard times.

As revenues start dropping, mining companies need to adjust.As revenues start dropping, mining companies need to adjust.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2015, revenues in the mining industry began to slip. Industry value added decreased by $9.4 billion to a total of $118.3 billion, a 7.4 per cent drop. Metal ore mining saw the most significant fall, 12.9 per cent. Falling prices for metallurgical coal, thermal coal and iron ore also had an adverse effect.

These market changes may only be temporary, but if they're not, it will be important in the near future for mining companies to make key changes. It will be harder for them to stay financially viable without losing their competitive edge, which means little changes at the margins – such as using better and more affordable measures to build safe mining facilities – could make all the difference.

Using the right products to foster business success

No matter how the economic climate around your business might look, it's clear that mining safety remains a top priority. If you want your operation to be viable, it's non-negotiable that you need your employees to be safe and productive. At Locker Group, we can help with this. We provide Australian mining businesses with dependable tools and solid structures they can use to ensure safe, secure profitable work each day.

We carry everything from screening media to walkway gratings and handrails – all products that serve to strengthen Australia's mines and make them better places to work. Speak with our experts soon and learn more about how our products can add value to any mining project.

Australia is rich with natural resources for the quarrying industry.

How does quarrying provide value to builders in Australia’s economy?

For decades, the Australian building industry has relied upon miners to uncover raw materials that they can use for constructing homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Without mining, builders would have no access to the metals, stones and various other substances they need to do their jobs.

Quarrying work is essential for building many of the structures that keep Australia's economy thriving.

Quarrying, meanwhile, has quietly emerged as an equally vital industry. It may not get all the same praise or media attention that mining does, but quarrying work is also essential for building many of the structures that keep Australia's economy thriving.

A closer look at the Australian economy reveals that different regions of the country are rich in varying natural resources, and optimising the work of quarriers has helped in recent years to give the nation's builders more materials to work with. Read on to discover what comes from where, and the unique value these substances have to offer.

What separates quarrying from mining?

It's already well known that mining delivers a lot of key building materials to the industry in Australia. So what makes quarry products unique? According to Business Queensland, the distinction is a small one, but it's important.

Both mining and quarrying are processes that involve extracting raw materials from the earth. The difference is that quarrying occurs at sites that are approved and administered by local government agencies – often with the express written purpose of acquiring sand, gravel and/or quarry rock.

In Australia, most of the main quarrying sites are administered by the Sustainable Planning Act, which was passed in 2009. Anyone who wants to run a quarrying operation in Australia is required to have a development permit – which narrows the field of prospective quarriers and makes the market quite exclusive. This means that building materials obtained through quarrying are premium products.

A variety of products to be found in Australia

What sorts of architectural products can be uncovered through quarrying? Research from The Marble Man found that there are many, and the most plentiful materials tend to vary wildly from state to state.

If you're mining in Western Australia, you'll have a wide range of options available to you. Quarriers in that state are able to find marble in Maroonah, granite in the Fraser Ranges and limestone in Moore River, for example. Sandstone is also available to quarriers in some regions.

A wide variety of building materials can be found across Australia.A wide variety of building materials can be found across Australia.

Other states have narrower niches when it comes to the products available via quarrying. Two prime examples include Queensland, where it's easiest to find sandstone, and South Australia, where granite is most prominent.

Australia has many significant deposits of natural stones and minerals located all over. As quarrying experts continue to find more of them, the market keeps evolving – which in turn, means a wider range of construction materials available for building professionals nationwide.

Locker Group leaves its mark on the construction business

At Locker Group, we are proud to take the products of Australia's quarrying work and pass them along to you, in the form of superior building products. We have dedicated ourselves to bolstering the quarrying business and uncovering all sorts of resources, from large rocks to sand, that can help people build better homes, storefronts and offices.

Great quarrying work leads to a wide range of superior building products. These include materials to be used in screening media, such as woven wire, and rubber that's put towards making high-quality tension mats that can support and strengthen all sorts of architectural projects. Contact us today to learn more about how quarrying can add to the building options available to you.

You can create some stunning designs with pic-perf.

How has pic-perf changed the face of perforated metal?

At Locker Group, we know that innovation is an essential part of good architecture. This is why we've developed pic-perf, a perforated metal that allows you to recreate the most stunning images on to any wall or surface. But, what exactly is pic-perf, and how is it being used by architects all over Australia?

What is pic-perf?

Locker Group's unique pic-perf technology allows you to create any image by punching hundreds, or even thousands, of holes into a metal surface. It is an excellent addition to balustrades, facades and partitions. It also makes a great sunshade. Not all architecture has to be functional either – our pic-perf can be used simply as a piece of artwork to decorate your building or project.

Other advantages of pic-perf include its added ventilation, wind resistance and security (you can see out but it's hard to see in).

Even if you can't think of a pic-perf design, Locker Group can help you come up with one. Even if you can't think of a pic-perf design, Locker Group can help you come up with one.

How has pic-perf been used so far?

Locker Group's pic-perf has already been used in some fantastic projects around Australia.

For instance, we collaborated with architect firm Hassell to create a wall for Adelaide Zoo. The design did not only include pictures of the animals you might expect to find in the zoo, but also incorporated words associated with the excitement of a day out there. This meant not only was the wall a functional way of partitioning the zoo, it also worked as a long-lasting advert.

If you've ever been to the Suncorp Stadium (originally known as Lang Park), you'll have admired the pic-perf addition there, which shows people playing rugby league. Meanwhile, our work with Rothe Lowman and Sue Hodges Productions produced an incredible design of a horse and carriage to adorn the lobby of an apartment building in Brunswick East. 

You're not just confined to grey and black when you use our pic-perf either. Our work with the John Curtin College of the Arts produced a stunning design that incorporated different shades of blue.

The John Curtin College of the Arts shows you can easily incorporate colour into your pic-perf design.The John Curtin College of the Arts shows you can easily incorporate colour into your pic-perf design.

What do you need to consider when using pic-perf?

You need to think about viewing distance and what colour your background will be when deciding on your design (a darker background requires a lighter surface). You also need to consider the environment in which you intend to place your pic-perf so you can decide on which material will suit your project best. 

Here at Locker Group, we work closely with our clients to ensure that all these questions are sorted out as early as possible. Even if you don't have a design in mind, Locker Group will help you create one, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you're interested. 

The gold mining industry continues to grow.

Gold mining industry still growing with new funding for Penny’s Find

Empire Resources' Penny's Find gold mine (WA) can now go into full production, thanks to the $7.5 million funding it recently secured in March.

The new binding Term Sheet agreement states that Blue Capital Services will fund operations until the mine's cash flow is positive. The agreement only covers open pit mining, but ensures that it has enough capital to begin the site's initial open pit operations. 

A quick turnover

David Sargeant, managing director of Empire, who have a 60 per cent in the site, said he was happy that operations can now begin. 

"All agreements for mining, haulage and treatment of Penny's Find gold ore are now satisfactorily in place, allowing the project to make the immediate transition to mining," he said.

"A recently re-designed pit and new mining schedule will also allow Empire to mine at a faster rate than previously anticipated, with considerable cost savings."

The Penny's Find is expected to generate a $7.6 million free cash flow over the open pit mine life of 11 months.

Empire Resources eventually plan to take their mine underground.Empire Resources eventually plan to take their mine underground.

Another Eastern Goldfields jackpot

Just the open pit of Penny's Find has gold resources of approximately 146,000 tonnes grading 4.62 grams per tonne gold for 21,7000 contained ounces. This is located within the first 80 metres from the surface. 

However, Empire does eventually plan to take the mine underground – gold mineralisation extends to at least 250 metres below the earth's surface and potentially goes deeper. 

Gold mining looking like a good investment

Located 50,000 km northeast of Kalgoorlie, this is one of many mines in Western Australia's prolific eastern goldfields area.

We design our mining products with reliability and safety at the forefront of our minds.

This is looking like an excellent time for the gold mining industry – Empire Resources' shares are trading up 45 per cent over the past 12 months. The wider view for gold mining is also looking positive, with AUD gold trading at $1,595 per ounce. 

Make your mine better with Locker Group

With the Penny's Find site indicating that the mining industry's growth won't be slowing any time soon, it's important that directors maintain mining safety and quality standards. This is something that Locker Group can help you with. We design our mining products with reliability and safety at the forefront of our minds. We can provide you with screening products made of rubber and polyurethane, as well as several grating and walkway options, meaning you can choose which is best for you.

At Locker Group, customisation is at the heart of what we do. We know no two mines are the same, so we'll make sure the products we deliver fit the individual specifications and needs of each site. 

For more information, please contact us.

Perth residents will soon be able to enjoy the attractions of the Montario Quarter.

How Perth’s Montario Quarter Project aims to improve urban planning

The Montario Quarter, a LandCorp redevelopment of the old Shenton Park Hospital site in Perth, is now underway and is a project that holds much promise for the city's residents. 

The transformation of the old hospital's 15.8 hectare grounds will see the construction of 1,100 new apartments and houses, in addition to a shopping village and a significant amount of public park space.

The development will be delivered in a way suiting the unique natural and historic features of the area.

High expectations for Montario Quarter development

Frank Marra, chief executive at LandCorp, said the development will be delivered in a way suiting the unique natural and historic features of the area.

"The improvement scheme is based on values the community outlined through extensive stakeholder engagement, including a formal public comment period which took place earlier in the year," Marra told The Western Australian.

"As a result, public open space will form a key part of Montario Quarter, with more than 25 per cent of the estate earmarked for features including an urban orchard, playground and exercise equipment, a nature-play area, grassed spaces and retained bushland."

Attractive and accessible parks enhance urban areas and a good for communities.Attractive and accessible parks enhance urban areas and a good for communities.

Similar types of new developments across Australia are helping to redefine public spaces in terms of the community, social, environmental and economic benefits they can provide. One important aspect that today's urban planners consider is how to make the public spaces they're developing more visually appealing with improved architecture or art. This is where Locker Group can be of help.

Similar types of new developments across Australia are helping to redefine public spaces

Locker Group helps planners realise their artistic vision

One of Locker Group's recent successes in public spaces was the creation and installation of the iconic Float sculpture of 12 large upturned umbrellas in Sydney, a joint project with Stone & Milnehouse. 

Locker Group designed the materials to make Float, including two Transit stainless steel mesh pieces to make the umbrellas look soft and billowing The mesh pieces were shaped to fit the upside down umbrella skin. At Locker Group, our experts can mould metal into a wide variety of forms and create unique shapes. 

Float intends to convey an environmental message to the community – specifically, a greater awareness of climate change. According to Stone & Milnehouse, the upturned umbrellas represent the ability to collect water rather than just being a means to shield oneself from the sun and rain. They are a reminder to passersby that we need to conserve. 

If you'd like to find out more about Locker Group's wide range of architectural products for use in public spaces, please get in touch with us today.

Find out how your next building project could benefit from an Atmosphere facade.

Atmosphere facades: More than meets the eye

Designers and builders in past eras often worked on projects with fairly straight-forward architectural expectations, utilising affordable materials that were available. As long as the finished project did the job, that was as much as could be asked of them.

These days, the market has evolved dramatically and the demand for aesthetically pleasing facades made of sustainable yet affordable materials is in high demand. Fortunately, Locker Group offers Atmosphere – a lightweight, durable product that offers a practical and attractive solution.

There are few raw materials on the market that offer the same range of features as Atmosphere.

How do Atmosphere facades work?

There are few raw materials on the market that offer the same range of features as Atmosphere, something that building designers and builders have to recognise.

To understand the advantages of an Atmosphere facade, it's important to first talk about how it 's made it how it works. Atmosphere is a lightweight material made up of multiple layers of perforated metal panels joined to 8-millimetre stainless steel tension cables. These can be attached to commercial or industrial buildings which allows the facade to create an attractive visual "floating effect".   

While providing a visual appeal to those outside the building, Atmosphere's perforated texture protects those inside the building from the harsh glare of the sun. At the same time, the floating nature of the facade means that visibility of the space isn't restricted – people passing through the structure can see through, inside and out – and an adequate amount of natural light still gets in.

Advantage facades will block out the harsh glare of the sun, but still let through an adequate amount of natural light.Advantage facades will block out the harsh glare of the sun, but still let through an adequate amount of natural light.

Access to natural light is an important consideration in the workplace. A study by researchers from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that office workers with higher light exposure had longer sleep, better sleep quality and quality of life than those with less workplace light exposure. 

Atmosphere takes out the sun's glare but still allows a moderate amount of natural daylight to come through into the building, so that every room is well lit.

A sustainable solution for the long term

With Atmosphere facades, your business can also achieve its environmental and sustainability goals through reduced energy consumption. In hot sunny days, it has a cooling effect on the building – allowing for reduced usage of fans and air conditioning units. The panels also have the potential to be used as a solar power resource.

Altogether, it is a solution that can help a business get creative with its energy efficiency and realise significant gains in terms of utility bill savings. The benefits of Atmosphere in terms of sustainability practically pay for themselves in the long run.

It really does provide the modern-day business designer with so many exciting options.

A world of possibilities awaits

Atmosphere has an intriguing array of potential applications. It can be used to retrofit and create a new look for an old building – an optimal solution when costs prohibit a complete renovation overhaul – or it can be used to adorn a completely new one.

The material can be moulded to fit almost any design – it's flexible and therefore the possibilities are endless. Locker Group offers Advantage in a wide variety of different colours and profiles. It really does provide the modern-day business designer with so many exciting options to choose from. 

If you're thinking about creative options for your company's next building project, it's a product that we would invite you to consider.

Is your workplace safety up to standard?

‘Safety starts with you’ – NSW’s workplace safety challenge

One of the factors that binds all industries in Australia together is workplace safety. It doesn't matter if your business operates in the mining sector or the structural engineering industry, it's vital for businesses to protect their most important assets – employees.

'Safety starts with you'

Workplace safety should always be a hot topic for employers.Workplace safety should always be a hot topic for employers.

With this in mind, NSW has launched 'Safety starts with you', a campaign that aims to make the state the safest across the nation.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW Peter Dunphy explained that there has been a 39 per cent drop in serious injuries and illnesses since 2005, but improvements can still be made.

"The current figures are still unacceptably high. Anyone with a job in this state has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and whether you are an employer or a worker, and regardless of your industry, occupation or background, workplace safety is everyone's responsibility," he said.

Although this campaign is focused on NSW, lowering the number of workplace fatalities and injuries is a priority across all states and territories. This is especially true given April 28 marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work, and Workers' Memorial Day.

"The current figures are still unacceptably high."

So, if your business wants to improve safety outcomes on site, what are the various ways this can be achieved? Here's three examples from the Locker Group range.

1) Gridwalk

Steps and trips are among the most common injuries, so it makes sense to address what your employees are walking on. Gridwalk is expanded metal flooring that can be used in both quarry and mining applications. Its benefits include a reliable underfoot grip and robust strength – perfect for areas with high foot traffic.

Gridwalk can also be customised to fit your workplace, attached with removable clips or welded to the structure itself.

2) Handrails

If the handrails on your premises are starting to look a little tired, it might be time to learn more about our options. Ideal for both commercial and industrial applications, our handrails can be used in car parks, stairways and even fire escapes.

Our handrails are strong, cost-effective and easy to install – everything you need when it comes to workplace safety.

3) Safe-T-Perf

With its anti-slip properties and tough design, Safe-T-Perf is a good option in industrial environments. The 360 degree skid resistant surface is easy to install and offers fantastic load bearing characteristics in more heavy-duty applications.

If you would like to learn more about the different ways you can improve the safety of your workplace, feel free to get in touch with the team at Locker Group today – we look forward to hearing from you.