26 May

22 News – May

New Building

Since our last blog the team have cycled the Otago Rail Trail, we’ve hired two new staff and we’ve bought a building!

22 Degrees moves to 25 Crummer Rd, Ponsonby at the end of May and we’re looking for tenants for the top floor. The upper level is a smart 220m² space with views and parking. It’s handy to cafes, shopping, the CBD and motorway on ramps. To find out more, please contact Jennifer Austin-Mannes jennifer@22degrees.co.nz

We plan on a July 25th official building “house warming” event. Watch out for your invitation.

Our Otago cycling trek was brilliant! Eight of the team headed south to cycle the rail trail starting at Clyde and finishing in Middlemarch. The first two days were glorious and part of the Indian summer we’ve been enjoying. The next two days saw the wind turn south and we cycled in perpetual rain with snow on the hills. The cycling went from relatively flat and easy to 6km climbs through stunning South Island scenery.  Everyone survived and improved from day to day. All would attest that arriving at the night stop was pleasant relief for the wear and tear on the butt. Our longest day was 57km, which was also our wettest and windiest day – in some areas it was quicker to walk than cycle into the southerly.

Trail

Various highlights mentioned by the guys: “the scenery” “the physical challenge” “the characters” “team bonding” , the “food”. A couple suggested they might do it in reverse order next time (next time?) and another thought more padding on those bicycle seats would have been a good idea!

One of the highlights was certainly the excellent quality of the food almost everywhere we went – some of the cafes we stopped at for lunch (such as the Courthouse Café in Alexandra) would put most Auckland eateries to shame and the nightly fare was generally really good pub meals of shanks, cod or steaks. Another unique experience was our attempt at the great southern sport – curling!  We split the crew into two teams for a curling session at Naseby and I’m pleased to say the McGregor’s beat the Low-landers by a good margin.

Overall we’d recommend this trip to anyone keen to give it a go! Ryan Thompson organised everything so he has all the contact details if this adventure appeals.

It’s been very busy work-wise, with a number of new projects coming on stream. We’ve welcomed two new members to the team. Barbora Laskova has joined the Hydraulics and Mechanical teams. With a Masters in Engineering (Building Services) and experience in hydraulics design she has a lot to offer us. Originally from the Czech Republic she is now making New Zealand her home. Ruslan Baytemirov has joined the electrical team. He worked in building services in Russia before coming to New Zealand and completed his Masters in electrical engineering at AUT last year. He replaces Francois.

It’s a sad farewell to Francois de Chaumette this week. He leaves us to undertake his big OE and we’d like to thank him for his terrific contribution in helping to establish the electrical division over the last three years. It’s now a thriving division and this is in no small part due to his efforts. Unfortunately we will no longer have a Springbok supporter to hassle after each defeat to the All Blacks – but luckily we have his email so can still send our commiserations.

I look forward to catching up with you in our new office.

Robert Mannes

12 December

Seismic Bracing Needs Revisiting

Blog DecemberRisk from poor seismic planning is significant in the construction industry. Since Christchurch, we’re all mindful of the hazards posed by poor design or construction; so seismic restraint in building services is now at the forefront of new and existing project planning. I’ve attended three meetings recently to discuss this issue. One of the meetings was requested by the main contractor, which was heartening, as it shows growing awareness of the issues and the need to be proactive in finding solutions and also managing a risk item themselves.

The building code is designed to raise the standard of construction. But NZS4219 referenced under B1 of the building code has some flaws which requires stakeholders to be proactive and to some extent self-regulating.  Here I want to outline some of the deficiencies and offer possible solutions.

Ducting is one area where the standard is light on detail. NZS4219 requires all ducting to be braced but provides no guidance on bracing centers or locations.  Both SMACNA and ASHRAE have excellent publications on seismic engineering for mechanical systems and cover these subjects in detail.

  • ASHRAE – Practical guide to Seismic Restraints (Second edition)
  • SMACNA – Seismic Restraint manual – Guidelines for mechanical systems
  • In addition, supplier provided information such as Mason Industries – Seismic Restraint Guidelines are also invaluable.

More up to date standards, such as ACSE 7-10 ( NZS4219 closely follows its predecessor  ACSE -7-05) stipulate ducts up to 0.5m², or weighting less than 146N/m for trapezed ducts, do not require bracing. With this, a reasonable approach has to be taken, so as not to create unnecessary cost with  ‘over compliance’  in  the final solution. Using the design loadings required by NZS 4219 and applying the bracing systems one of these publications can proved a cost effective solution.

The standard also requires post installed anchors to comply with the requirements of ACI 355.2 which is an American code and two companies can provide total solutions to this Mason and Vaico, both with excellent product ranges unfortunately only in imperial sizes and able to offer bracing solutions. Hilti now have metric fixings tested to this standard but if the motor size of the plant item is over 8kW then expansion anchors are not permitted.

Hanger rods are also required to comply with AS1111.1 but these are not included in this standard, which is for commercial grade bolts and studs. So an appropriate standard needs to be applied to these. I suggest threaded rods are specified to an appropriate material standard equivalent to an equal sized bolt to property class 4.6. A lot of failures in Christchurch were hanger rods

Penetration clearances are also important and where a service passes through a structure, a 25mm all round clearance needs to be provided. If this is also an acoustic or fire wall then a solution to maintain these needs to be designed.

Roof fixings – it’s no longer approximate to just install equipment on a roof without regard to its weight and fixings. NZS4219 bases its premise in transferring its loads to the structure, so the design of equipment plinths and roof platforms are also important.

In a ceiling, service coordination becomes of paramount importance and it’s a multistep process.

Designers need to be aware of all the service requirements and endeavour to coordinate these so there is sufficient clearance for all elements. But that’s not the whole picture. Three standards are at play, so in addition to NZS4219 we have to consider requirements for suspended ceilings and fire sprinklers. Suspended Ceilings come under the requirements of AS/NZS 2785. Fire sprinkler systems come under the requirements of NZS 4541.

The consulting team can only take the design to a certain level, unless the fire sprinkler systems and suspended ceilings and their respective hanger and bracing systems have been designed prior to building consent.

These items provide a significant cost risk to the main contractor, so the design team needs to be proactive in pushing for solutions early in the design and construction process. Sub-contractors should be mindful of elements like hanger types, threaded rod standards, clearances and bracing requirements so as to minimise re-work.

The bracing system is exactly that – a system. So it’s beneficial to look at the system as a whole; from the location of the hangers and bracing, to the location of other services etc. Big picture thinking will minimise the overall cost of systems. For example: a 40mm chilled water pipe doesn’t need to be braced as long as clearances are maintained to other services and this depends if these are braced or unbraced. If you can’t achieve the required clearances, then it may need bracing to be provided. So planning is the key.

On a project, I believe this is best left in the hands of a single entity; which then has to work with the engineers, contractor, and sub-contractors to provide a total solution.

Robert Mannes

31 October

In the USA

Event-best-of-the-south

Event-best-of-the-south-2

The USA wasn’t on my radar to visit. But my son, Jono, was dead keen to go there so off we went recently on a big adventure. We had a fantastic time on a road trip which covered over 2,500 kms of driving up the East Coast from Miami to the Big Apple. Highlights for me, were detours off the normal tourist routes visiting Savannah and Chapel Hill.  New York was amazing and we both enjoyed how far our dollar went on shopping sprees.

Driving on the right in the States was interesting (aka challenging) and you have to break habits pretty quickly; like reaching over your right shoulder for your seat belt. We did a mixture of travelling up the interstate 95 and the back roads moving from the south to the north so we were able to get a good feel for a wide cross section of the country and its people. We found the people were universally fantastic – apart from one taxi driver in LA on our first day.

Normally October is a great time to travel there but not when there is a “government shutdown.”  We missed out on a few highlights including the Smithsonian in Washington and the statue of Liberty in NY. Being in the midst of the debate over the shutdown was interesting and while no-one came out smelling of roses the Republicans got the most flack.

The elephant in the room of course is years of the country living beyond its means. The USA has done this for years and with the national debt about 1.5 times the nation’s GDP sometime soon; someone is going to have to do the hard yards.  However with the way the political system works it is hard to see them ever sorting it out.

Being in the middle of it all gave me pause. The biggest flaw in any democracy I believe is when a party BUYS votes. They offer to spend our own money back on us and that has got parties over the line. In NZ, think Labour’s “interest free” student loans and in the USA think tax cuts. It’s a bit like a pyramid scheme – at some point they all run out of cash from the tax payer and have to borrow. Our governments, both national and local (Auckland Council in particular) are getting really good at that.

Auckland City currently owes $6 billion dollars with repayments projected to rise from 19.4% of rates to 25% of total rate take in the next few years. This is already $4200 owed for every person young and old living in Auckland.  Its similar to the financial mess Kiapara District Council has found itself in over the sewerage scheme with rates jumping from $830 to $2500 to fund this – (wouldn’t an Aucklander love to be paying those rates?)

We’ve recently seen the lowest turn-out ever for local body elections. Was it complacency?  I believe there was certainly a lot of confusion about the differences between candidates and in some instances a lack of options. We all need to be wary of the snake-oil salesperson and to keep up with what’s really happening. As recent events have shown, can we ever really trust our politicians to tell the truth? So from one political hot spot to another, it’s certainly been an interesting few weeks.

Robert Mannes