BRANZ building a shining example for building sector
As the New Zealand building industry’s centre for science and research, BRANZ wanted its new Nikau building to serve as a model of cutting edge technology and innovation.
The building, designed not only for existing staff numbers, but also for future expansion, is part of a multimillion dollar campus refurbishment for BRANZ – the Building Research Association of New Zealand.
As one of the shareholders of STIC, BRANZ saw the Nikau building as a great opportunity to utilise post-tension timber building technology, says Chief Executive Pieter Burghout.
“Post-tension EXPAN buildings are the way of the future and we wanted to incorporate this innovative solution as an example to the building industry,” Pieter says.
“The Nikau building is an example of how an innovative, well researched and designed system can be implemented to improve the New Zealand built environment, while satisfying building control authorities who are very aware of risks of new concepts, especially after the weathertightness issues,” he says.
STIC provided architects Warren and Mahoney and engineers Aurecon with a concept design for a post-tensioned LVL portal frame that could span the width of the building. This, coupled with plywood shear walls, has produced a large, flexible, open-plan office space.
Sustainable design principles have been incorporated into the new building and the rest of the development, including designing for minimum waste, energy use, water use and low impact materials. This was achieved by incorporating passive design principles where possible, including renewable energy options such as a pellet boiler heating system and recycling.
The new building also enables BRANZ, in its role as a research organisation, to integrate research into its refurbishment, with the exposed structure allowing it to record the data on the system’s performance over time as an on-going project.
“As part of the evaluation of the overall impact of the project, we will be watching the performance of the structure, alongside measurement of water consumption, energy and water use and temperatures in the new and refurbished buildings.”
Pieter says the STIC technology has contributed to the sustainable and long term outlook of the BRANZ campus.
“In a campus environment, the Nikau building planning accommodated flexible internal layouts, generous ceiling heights with good natural light and the ability to cope with more than one function, especially over the longer term. The open plan layout encourages communication amongst staff and has changed the traditional barriers of physical separation. The exposed beams are also a nice interior focal point for staff and guests.”