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The design of a vast manufacturing facility built five years ago has proved so successful that Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation chose to repeat the formula for their latest project

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Large buildings with vast warehouse and manufacturing facilities pose their own challenges for structural engineers, and the Fisher & Paykel Healthcare building was no exception.

Lou Robinson, director of Hadley & Robinson, the structural engineering consultancy for the project, says the company needed to produce a cost-effective structural design solution.

"The soil quality was the first challenge," he says. "The site has extensive, deep pockets of peat, which meant that a conventional slab-on-grade solution would have been subjected to excessive settlement. So, although the previous two stages of the development used both pre-cast concrete and in situ floor systems – both supported on piles, the in situ slab was the preferred option for this site. There are substantial in situ concrete beams between the piles, and in situ concrete slabs were poured between the beams."

Further structural challenges were provided by the need to contain most of the building's services within the ceiling cavity.

"As the building is extensively serviced, this was a significant weight to be supported by the roof framing," says Robinson. "This was demanding, with the trusses at 16m centres, and spanning up to 36m."

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For details, contact Hadley & Robinson, PO Box 6068, Dunedin, phone (03) 477 8923, fax (03) 477 0608. Email: solutions@hadleyrobinson.co.nz, website:www.hadleyrobinson.co.nz .

First published date: 20 September 2006

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