Construction and Engineering Awards 2020

BUILD Construction & Engineering Awards 2020 Construction & Engineering Awards 2020 BUILD 8 9 The use of rope access generally is still in its infancy in Australia, but new techniques are being developed all the time. To stay at the forefront of the industry requires constant research and innovation on the part of the team, who work tirelessly to deliver the best methods not only for cost effectiveness but for project completion. Recently, the team has taken on work for Lend Lease and Investa. This involved the practical completion and defect remediation of their property on 60 Martin Place in Sydney, NSW. The project started in 2019, when the team were invited to assist with the installation of over 750 glass panels, glass fins and aluminium cladding panels all via rope access. As one of the few firms able to tackle this sort of work, to this scale, the team were delighted to help. Apex Façades has developed a comprehensive approach to this sort of work, but Investa needed the project to be completed and signed off in under eight weeks. Apex Façades went into overdrive, meeting the challenge head on. Necessity is the mother of invention in many circumstances, and the team started to develop new ways of working that wouldn’t compromise the core values of safety, efficiency and quality. In the restraints of time and money, the team managed to devise new methods of lifting and rigging that boosted efficiency to a new level. One of the most challenging elements of this installation went beyond the time restraints and high pace of construction, instead revolving around the design of the building. One of the most striking elements was the substantial overhang on the North elevation. This extended out over the top of a heritage listed church. The team at Apex Façades are proudly some of the best in the world, but working on installation for this overhang really pushed them to the limit of what is possible with industrial rope access. Despite the many challenges that were part of this project, it was completed on time and on budget. The handover was conducted smoothly, and Apex Façades could stand proudly as having taken part in the construction of one of Sydney’s most iconic buildings. Many of the challenges that the team undertakes might seem impossible at first glance, but the team of specialty riggers and rope access technicians have seen it all and use innovative techniques to solve challenges with ease. The methods involved in lifting signs, glass or steel can be applied to a number of different circumstances such as the lifting of a grand piano to a high-rise penthouse. Regardless of the challenge, what Apex Façades is able to do is find the right people and the right method to ensure that everything is completed safely. Some projects are not suitable for rope access, or have better and more effective solutions. The team has built up strong relationships by being honest with clients. Working transparently is why the team are often trusted to complete the work they pitch for. The team do offer a range of different support mechanisms, however, using their skills in other areas to complete work for clients. When Apex Façades started in 2017, it was purely to offer rope access to clients, but this limited nature encouraged the team to open its doors. They never offer rope access purely because it is what they do. The most suitable option is always the first option in their eyes. Nowhere is this better shown than in the team’s approach to the South Brisbane Helicopter Glass Lift, which has been justly recognised in BUILD as the Best Complex Maintenance Project 2020 (Australia). The client had a problem. They had a semi- frameless rooftop bar with a large glass sliding door, but the panel was broken. Due to the size and the shape of the panel, it was impossible to access by conventional methods. Fortunately, the team at Apex Façades thrive on the unconventional. Rope access was considered, as was using a mobile crane, but these options were impractical. Creative thinking inspired the use of an aerial crane helicopter. Despite all of the regulations, the closure of the main street of one of Brisbane’s busiest tourist areas and the inherent difficulties involved, it was the most economical and efficient method. The team had worked extensively on projects with aerial crane helicopters in the past, but never one quite like this. Planning took eight months. It could have been six, but the COVID-19 pandemic added the requirement to socially distance as well. On the day, the panel was flown from River Quay Green in the Southbank Parklands to the roof of the hotel where it was fitted easily and successfully by the team. Needless to say, this event held a number of firsts, and is almost certainly the first glass panel lifted by helicopter in Brisbane. For all the preparation, the job was over in a couple of hours with no complications. In every way, this particular project showed the flexibility and determination of the team’s efforts. They have the skill and the adaptability to tackle whatever challenges present themselves. The main appeal of rope access has always been its cost-effectiveness compared to other methods, but what Apex Façades offer is the experience to provide services that go above and beyond. They offer rope access as one of potentially many solutions. Looking ahead, the future seems bright for the team behind Apex Façades. The demand for services is increasing as more people see the potential of the industry. In fact, the team have taken active steps to ensure that their rope access operations remain at the top end of what businesses can offer. For many firms, transporting a pane of glass by helicopter would be the highpoint of their professional career, but for the team at Apex Façades, it’s just the beginning of an extraordinary new adventure. The team are always looking for a new challenge, involving themselves in even more complex, yet rewarding challenges. Despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction and plans for projects still go ahead and the team has many interesting options open to them in the future. The team take great pride in working on these projects, as they know that one of the best teams in the field has come together to make it happen. Currently, the team are exploring options that will allow the operation to work on a global scale, providing solutions on major infrastructure in places beyond Australia. The creative problem solving that has made the team such a success in commercial construction will no doubt apply to those in this industry as well. This new area holds a great deal of potential for the firm and will allow them to achieve new and astonishing levels of success. Company: Apex Façades Contact: Andrew Gennings and Mitchell Haskard Web Address: www.apexfaç