Custom Perforated Panels & Pic Perf

Locker Group Case Study – Custom Perforated Panels & Pic Perf – John Curtin

Project Name:

John Curtin College of the Arts


Fremantle, WA


JCY Architects


EMCO Building




Custom Perforated Panels & Pic-Perf


Rob Burnett

Commercial construction is a collaborative process more than anything else, from the initial design concept to the moment when the final bolt is screwed into place.

So, when JCY architects contacted Locker Group for a job, the latter applied its expertise throughout every phase of the endeavour, providing a comprehensive service on top of its custom-made products.

Preliminary considerations:

The Project was first conceptualised by administrators at John Curtin College of the Arts, who approached JCY to design a new building located in Fremantle, Western Australia (WA). The goal was to create an aesthetic building that would provide both solar shading to inhabitants and stunning views of the surrounding region.

Requiring a firm with both design and production capabilities, JCY sought the expertise of Locker Group, and its Architectural Sales Manager, Darren Stringer who, along with his colleagues, worked with the team to:

  • Understand what the architects were striving to achieve
  • Identify risks associated with the endeavour to prepare in advance
  • Recommend Materials that met JCY’s requirements

At this point, Locker Group proposed a unique iteration of its perforated façade product; a 3D folded perforated panel, which was also replicated in Pic-Perf surrounding the internal stairwells, reflecting the origami-like folds in dappled light.

Providing guidance from start to finish:

Before initiating the manufacturing process, Locker Group provided a prototype of the recommended material and a panel prototype, to the design team. Upon finalisation of the design, Locker Group oversaw all elements of the façade package, from manufacture and coating, to fabrication and installation.

This granted Locker Group full visibility and control over the project, allowing them to foresee and handle any potential issues. A focus on the little things can have a big impact on the final product. When working with anodised aluminium, there’s a potential for ‘tiger striping’, an issue where the natural grains and imperfections within the aluminium are highlighted by the anodising process. To ensure consistency across the anodised finish, Locker Group sourced the material from the same batch, directly from the mill.

The 3D nature of the panel design would potentially be tricky to transport across the country unblemished. So, the perforated metal was manufactured in Melbourne and shaped in Perth, reducing the potential for finished panels to be damaged while en route to WA.

In any project, it’s not uncommon to discover challenges where the physical building differs slightly from the original project drawings. Locker Group was able to work with both JCY and EMCO Building to overcome any challenges as they arose, with simple modifications to ensure a smooth project delivery.

“It’s all about dialogue, communication and partnership, all with the goal of achieving a successful outcome,” said Mr Stringer.

The real value in working with Locker Group:

Partnering with a company that hides problems and ignored risks is the basis of an expensive project and an unpleasant experience. This certainly wasn’t the case when JCY collaborated with Locker Group.

The latter’s attention to detail, guidance and sense of responsibility enabled the project to go off without any major setbacks. Locker Group’s willingness to provide consultation in conjunction with its projects has earned it a favourable reputation among architects across the country.

“Like any project , you will always get challenges and problems—whether related to climate, job site requirements, conflicts with sub-contractors. However, maintaining an open dialogue allows us to collectively navigate these issues and deliver a positive outcome not just for ourselves but for our partners as well,” said Mr Stringer.

In this respect, “Locker Group is not so much a product – based company as it is a solution provider. Working with us means gaining a partner that will contribute its knowledge and resources to ensure a successful outcome.”

Frew Park

Playground Equipment – Frew Park

Project Name:

Frew Park




Locker Group / Playworks


Guymer Bailey


Playground enclosures


Boston 311 T316 Stainless

How Locker Group designed, supplied and constructed Frew Park

Traditionally, Locker Group’s role in construction projects has been that of a supplier only. Now, the firm’s services are becoming more comprehensive, guiding initiatives from start to finish.

Locker Group’s participation in the Frew Park project exemplifies the company’s evolution into a solutions-focussed firm—one that embodies modern development.

A playground with an industrial edge

The Brisbane City Council contacted the architects at Guymer Bailey to rejuvenate the former Milton Tennis Centre, envisioning an exciting playground for both toddlers and adolescents. The architects conceptualised a playground that had an industrial feel, like a miniature, abandoned city waiting to be explored. Based on the original design., Guymer Bailey realised it needed a product with small apertures that could;

    • Create an above-ground enclosure
    • Discourage kids from climbing the equipment
    • Support a safe environment
  • Provide visibility

Regarding this criteria, the architects contacted Locker Group’s Contracting manager Damian Parker, who had worked with Guymer Bailey in the past. After assessing their requirements, Mr Parker and his colleagues selected the Boston 311 woven wire profile. Opting for a stainless steel iteration to eliminate the need for special coating, Mr Parker knew Boston 311 would deliver the functions Guymer Bailey needed. The wire mesh sported a 7.5 x 25.4mm aperture and upheld the industrial theme the architect was looking to emulate. To provide the playground equipment, principle contractor Epoca Construction brought Playworks into the fold. As Playworks’ products would be installed in tandem with Locker Group’s, the former company contracted Locker Group to design, supply and install the metalworks under their construction package.

Honing the product to fulfil its purpose:

With the exact product in mind, Mr Parker and the other experts at Locker Group had to figure out the best way to fabricate it according to Guymer Bailey’s needs. First the team assessed Boston 311’s inherent requirements. Woven wire needs a framework on the outside, with clamps connecting the mesh between flat surfaces. The trick is to make sure the clamps are tight enough so the material stays in place when exposed to impact ( in this case, kids at play). To uphold the product’s stability, Mr Parker and his colleagues created a fixing detail, utilising a rivet system that would clamp between two flat plates, one of which would be welded to the perimeter frame. Locker Group’s experts brought this draft to Guymer Bailey’s architects, who were using 3-D design software to create a detailed visualisation of the playground. After integrating the woven wire product into digital model, Guymer Bailey and Locker Group agreed on a final specification and price for materials.

Production and installation:

Mr Parker and his colleagues used their own computer-aided design (CAD) application, creating the tunnels, suspended cages and other playground components Locker Group would fabricate. Once final iterations were complete, the engineering team outlined the production process. This phase wasn’t without its challenges. The design consisted of precast panels positioned at different angles and a tapered tube between those panels. Fabricating this item involved crafting a cone, cutting it at different angles and flattening it so it could be rolled back up for on-site delivery. Then, Locker Group collaborated with Playworks during building phase to oversee the installation of the wire mesh. This ensured all of the playground elements integrated well. From start to finish, Mr Parker and everybody else at Locker Group delivered the guidance Guymer Bailey and the other stakeholders needed. Although it didn’t supply all the materials, the firm took a proactive approach towards project management, setting a new standard for suppliers throughout Australia.

Robots are increasingly taking over industrial manufacturing roles.

Titans of Industry: how robots are changing manufacturing


We’ve looked at the future of an industry with mining in space, but here’s a sci-fi idea that’s very much a part of the present: robots.

In South Korea alone there are already more than 400 robots per 10,000 manufacturing employees. The International Federation of Robotics estimates that 1.3 million industrial robots will be installed worldwide in factories between 2015 and 2018. What does this mean for the human role in industry, and how will this affect the need for anthropocentric safety features like non-slip flooring and handrails?

Human and robots competing in the workplace 

Increased industrial automation may change what roles humans play.

Robots are taking on new roles, and this is affecting what jobs are available for people. In 2014 Port Botany in Sydney automated its cargo handling, cutting 180 jobs in the process. And earlier this year the BBC reported that Foxconn, a supplier to Apple and Samsung, had replaced as many as 60,000 workers  with robots. The World Economic Forum predicts that technological change will lead to a net loss of more than five million jobs worldwide by 2020.

A shared workspace

Humans and robots are not entirely incompatible in the workplace. The robots traditionally used in the automotive industry are large, powerful and crude – good for heavy lifting, but not suited to delicate tasks. Not to mention, they are dangerous to be around, with heavy, fast moving arms that could easily strike an unaware person who got too close.

But a Renault plant in France is now using smaller, more agile robots that can do finer, more detailed work. The Wall Street Journal reports that these robots are designed to be ‘collaborative’ – that they are able to work safely and closely with people. These robots have a variety of technology including cameras and sonar that they use to detect nearby humans and avoid moving in ways that would come into contact with them.

Traditional automotive robots are large, powerful and dangerous to be around.Traditional automotive robots are large, powerful and dangerous to be around.

The role we play may change

The increase in industrial automation may lead to a shift in human roles in industrial settings: Rather than actively manufacturing, the role of human workers will be one step removed, installing and maintaining the robots that do the actual labour. We still need a human focus in industrial settings. No matter the level of automation, factories and manufacturing plants continue to have roles for humans and workplace safety remains an issue that companies need to be aware of.

Whatever the scale of robotics in your workplace, your human staff are still the core of your productivity, and the ergonomic measure of how you build your factory or plant. Keep them safe and stable with Locker Group’s range of industrial flooring and products.

Bad building call: The danger of cutting costs

Bad building call: The danger of cutting costs


More often we see builds go ahead using alternative imported products. Does this create a risk that your quality and aesthetic expectations may not be met? Today, the race to get things done cheaply is too often compromising quality. We’re seeing time and time again builders choosing to go with imported products, which, though they offer price advantages, may not comply with quality assurance or building standards that local providers offer.
The disadvantages of using cheaper imports

In early 2015, an architect designing a publicly-funded government building worked with Locker Group to detail an aesthetic external cladding using expanded metal mesh. However, after the construction went up for tender, the building company that won the job attempted to undercut Locker Group, disregarding the fact that the architect had specified them.

Despite Locker Group sales manager Ian Dunstan going out of his way to service the client, they decided to use an alternative product imported from China based on price. Going for a cheaper imported option turned out to be a very bad call. “We explained to them because of the particularly sensitive nature of this job, the product needed to be good,” Ian said, “You can’t really treat this facade like anything else and just slap something on because it will look terrible.” However, that was exactly what the builder did, admitting to Ian that he’d “gone in really cheap with this project and couldn’t afford to buy locally.”

The build went ahead and according to Ian, “These guys effectively had no idea what they were doing.” “They brought in some imitation products from China, imported them on pallets, and just used a couple of self-tappers to screw them on the side of the building.” After seeing the finish himself, Ian saw major misalignments in the panels, unsupported ends, colour inconsistencies, insubstantial clamping, and even bowing panels. “It is just a mess,” Ian stated.

The decision to go with this alternative supplier meant forgoing the expertise and support that Locker Group would have provided during design, engineering and throughout the installation. The final product does not meet the designer’s intent, this choice essentially spoiled the visual appeal of the building.
Although this case is mainly a visual issue, we are seeing how these thrifty decisions are impacting the buildings and the lives of those who reside in them. Back in November 2014, firefighters responded to a terrible fire that was rapidly engulfing the 23-storey Lacrosse Building in Docklands.

The Melbourne Fire Brigade soon found that the extent of the blaze was intensified by some cheap imported external cladding, which did not comply with combustibility standards. Locker Group strives to remain competitive in the global market. As Ian explained, the services and support necessary for top-quality Australian-made architectural products definitely outweigh any cheaper import if you are thinking about total value. And it’s this notion that budget-seeking builders are failing to understand. ‘We just want to make sure we are comparing apples with apples,” said Ian. “In many instances, it’s chalk and cheese.”

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