With the badly needed shift to to a greener economy and mindset due the immediate need and call to action on climate change we are now looking at metalwork packages in a different light and our focus of late has been balustrades.
Balustrades and handrails can be viewed in many lights. Firstly they are a safety barrier and a climbing aid and must function properly. Then, if front of house they can be a design feature which will enhance their surroundings. With a need for the designer look to a staircase the balustrade must display the design features created by it’s design team and we very much welcome and relish such design but we are more concerned about the back of house staircase for today.
The back of house staircases seems to get a bit of a raw deal in the design boardroom and in cases are over designed and over engineered but perhaps for the wrong reasons. What if the same result could be carried out in a different way?
We at CDS are now asking why? Why is there a need to have heavily constructed metal balustrades installed in a staircase where access is a problem on most sites to do the install efficiently due to programs and the install takes a long time to execute due to the nature of the design, but above all the amount of energy it takes to fabricate, transport and install such balustrades should be considered and reduced when and where possible.
At this stage we can easily say we have installed miles and miles of balustrades the length and breath of our country and beyond but we notice a shift of late to much heavier designs. The amount of energy used to manufacture these is incredible and we believe with the aid of early design this energy use can be greatly reduced.
Here we have details for a typical mildsteel balustrade with tubular handrail. There are approximately 50 individual pieces to be sawn cut on this piece and there is approximately 5 linear meters of welding required to complete this flight of balustrade. Then it needs to be transported to site, craned off the truck and onto a nearby loading platform but the labour required to get this into it’s final location is a whole other story using electric hoisting along with people. From start to finish this single flight of balustrade requires approximately 8 hours of hotworks alone to produce and install while using 230 kgs of steel.
Here we have an alternative balustrade. There are 15 individual parts to be cut with under 1 linear meter of welding. The pieces can be easily stacked allowing for better transport options due to the flat pack like design. The site install will not need a big crew and no need for hoisting equipment either. The total hot works time involved in manufacturing this typical flight is no more the 2 hours and the total weight of steel is 158 kgs.
This is just a simple example of where energy use can be reduced in construction today. On many projects this may not make a huge difference but with high rise becoming more prevalent we feel there are large savings to our energy use to be made with the aid of radical and interesting design changes.
We are open to these changes…………………. are you?
CDS………………… making metalwork less ordinary.