SINGLE LEAP (Living Environment and Accommodation Precinct) is a Defence project to bring living-in accommodation for single members of the Australian Defence Force, into line with community standards. Phase 2 involved over 300 individual buildings comprising a total of 3500 units of accommodation across 17 sites, in all states of Australia except Tasmania.

Significant and interesting aspects of the project and Robert Bird Group’s role include the
following:

The structural design solution features three-storey high precast concrete wall panels that act as the inter-tenancy walls for the units, whilst also eliminating the need for any vertical formwork on the project. Various footing systems were designed to suit the varying ground conditions, including strip footings, pad footings, bored piers and steel screw piles.

An innovative precast concrete portal frame in the laundry bays provides lateral support to the buildings and eliminates the need to provide any bracing or shear walls. The structural slab design is also varied between reinforced concrete and precast concrete on each site to suit local market and subcontractor preferences.

Robert Bird Group also developed a construction methodology for the buildings that included installing the steel roof ahead of the Level 1 and 2 slabs, which eliminates the need to provide any temporary propping of precast walls during slab construction. This saves significant construction time and cost, and increases quality by allowing the slabs to be poured in a weather-proof environment.

Project Value:
$800 million
Year Completed:
2014
Building Metrics:
Total Area: 175,000m² approx.
Levels: 1 – 3
Environmental:
4-Star Greenstar
Sectors:
Defence
Residential
Client:
Plenary Living

Primary Contractor:
Watpac
Richard Crookes
Architect:
Woods Bagot
Robert Bird Group
Services:
Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering

Key technical challenges

  • The primary tower structure consists of a composite slab and beam structure. Due to the long beam spans and thin slab, extensive analysis for footfall vibration was required to ensure the structure achieved code requirements and client expectations.
  • Working with the existing structure and developing design solutions that strengthened rather than demolished.
  • Extensive co-ordination with the mechanical engineer to develop a strategy that minimised beam penetrations and beam notches.
  • Differential shortening analysis with consideration of mega truss, steel structure, concrete structure and existing structural elements

Environmental performance

  • 5 Star Greenstar
  • 5 Star NABERs Energy and 4 Star NABERs Water ratings.

Key technical challenges

RBG redesigned the steel plunge columns enabling complex bracing arrangements and programme hold-points to be removed, hence simplifying excavation and improving health and safety. The ground floor slab was redesigned for significant construction loads and to prop the basement wall whilst maintaining a large void to allow the core to rise.

RBG also checked all permanent works elements for the temporary loads induced by the innovative construction sequence. The construction method further reduced the ground movements, thereby minimising the risk to sensitive network rail facilities adjacent to the site.

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