Prefabrication Minimises Disruption at Redcliffe County Court

When AE Smith Project Manager Michael O’Farrell commenced on the Redcliffe Court House project he looked to offsite prefabrication to minimise disruption

24 Oct 2014


AE Smith’s prefabrication expertise provides unique mitigation opportunities where disruption to a customer’s ‘business-as-usual’ must be avoided at all cost

Redcliffe County Court House is a small, busy Court House north of Brisbane. Like all public venues it is dependent on air conditioning for the comfort of employees and the public.

When the Court House’s Air Handling Unit (AHU) plant rooms reached the end of their operational life they turned to AE Smith to find a appropriate solution.

But, as Michael explains, onsite replacement of AHU plant rooms causes significant disruption and inconvenience in public buildings.

“It’s not just the air conditioning that gets disrupted,” said Michael. “Onsite equipment and assembly take up space, works are noisy and we normally inconvenience our customers by taking up work spaces like carparks.”

It was for these reasons that Michael made the decision to prefabricate the two AHU plant rooms at AE Smith’s purpose built prefabrication facility.

Assembly Method Improves Safety

Colin Jones, AE Smith’s DfMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly) – Prefabrication / Modularisation Coordinator explains the operations within the factory, “We build and commission entire plant rooms as well as other HVAC modules offsite using manufacturing assembly systems and processes similar to the automotive industry.”

He added, “As well as the obvious benefit of minimising disruption at the clients place of business, offsite manufacture improves safety, as AES employees aren’t working in confined spaces or at height and the public aren’t within the vicinity of the works.”

Talking about the construction of the Redcliffe plant rooms Colin said, “Two teams worked side by side to assemble and then commission the plant rooms in parallel. Right down to putting the walls and the roof on the plant room.”

Business as Usual

A more traditional onsite approach is likely to have taken over two weeks per plant room to construct, install and commission – excluding the time needed to procure the equipment ship to site. With prefabrication occurring offsite, each 4 x 4 m plant room has been installed and connected within only one week, completely outside of business hours.

“We haven’t disrupted the day-to-day operation of the court house at all. We were there at 7am and finished by 9am for each installation – 14 hours total,” said Colin.

Fit to Task

With its many practical benefits, assembly based prefabrication continues to gain favour within the construction industry.

“We’ve just commenced parallel prefabrication of 35 AHU plant rooms for the RAAF base in Amberley,” said Colin. “Projects of this scale are becoming increasingly common at the AE Smith prefabrication factory.”

“We have a strong focus on continual improvement,” concluded Colin.

With 30 years of prefabrication experience under its belt and a commitment to helping clients “find a better way”, it’s no surprise that AE Smith’s prefabrication expertise provides unique mitigation opportunities where disruption to a customer’s “business-as-usual” must be avoided at all cost.