The lofty design of the new movie complex at Ormiston Town Centre in South Auckland presented Comfortech Building Performance Solutions® with an epic challenge—creating steel studs for internal acoustic walls that measure over 12 metres high at their highest point.
Nobody else in New Zealand and this part of the world had created steel studs that length before. It was no easy feat but ultimately, Comfortech® proved it could be done with a successful solution that overcame both manufacturing and transportation difficulties to make it look easy when it came to the final installation.
Daniel Gibbs, product manager at Comfortech®, a distributor of ceiling and interior wall systems, says the company had never been asked for steel studs this length before. “We were approached by the sub-contractor for the installation of the internal fittings, Mason & Hall Interiors.
“They came to us with a design completed by an engineering firm outlining how the wall should be built.”
He explains that each movie franchise has a unique design and their own way of building their cinemas. Because the seating ramps up towards the rear, they all have really high walls. “Comfortech® recently completed a cinema project in Christchurch with 14 metre high walls. But this project was in a different way relying on the structure for support.
“Because of the acoustic requirement to stop sound transmission through the walls, a lot of consideration is given to the way the internal space is designed to deliver the best acoustic experience. The walls at Ormiston were not connected back to the structure. They span from the ground to the roof which is a greater engineering feat as it doesn’t require support from the structure.”
With this project, the steel studs could not be spliced and joined through the middle as that would create a weak point. However, the longest off-the-shelf steel stud length available is only 7.2 metres.
So, they approached the manufacturer, Studio Building Systems to roll custom lengths of steel especially for the project. They’d done 10 metre lengths but 12.08 metres was a stretch. As the hollow C-section-shaped steel studs rolled off the machines, three people had to stand there ready to catch them. But it worked.
Next, they had to transport the steel from the manufacturing plant in Australia to the Comfortech® distributing facility. Containers have a maximum capacity of just under 12 metres – these studs were just over 12 metres. They poked out slightly from the ends. But fortunately, it was still achievable.
Then, a truck capable of moving these lengths from the Comfortech® yard to the construction site was hard to find. After reaching out far and wide, the account manager at Comfortech® found a truck with a deck that had the requisite 12 metre capacity.
Despite the challenges involved, because of the way the product was manufactured, there were absolutely no concerns on the building site. Comfortech Building Performance Solutions® worked through the logistics to deliver a product that gave a quick and easy installation.
“All the hassles were at the front end. At the back end, the people on the tools could get the job done quickly and efficiently,” says Daniel.
“It certainly was an achievement to have worked through the process of understanding what the client wanted and coming up with a solution that worked brilliantly.”