What does that mean? Learn the lingo of construction sites
Construction has a language all its own, terms that sometimes creep into this newsletter’s project updates. If you don’t know your hoarding from your scaff, read on …
Paperwork, anyone? Before you groan and make your excuses, let’s clarify that construction formwork is actually a process of moulding a material, usually concrete. Typically, concrete is poured into the shape required and left to harden, important for structural stability.
Interesting fact: At Moore Park, formwork is currently being created for the purpose-designed building in which UTS’s sport science programs will co-locate with the Australian Rugby Union. The concrete formwork is supplying the slabs for seven levels, with a new slab being poured every three to four weeks.
Forget Bondi’s infamous house of horrors; all the best hoarding is happening on UTS’s Ultimo campus. In construction terms, hoarding is the system of large protective boards used in the demarcation of building sites. Hoarding ensures construction activity is separated from the world beyond, and is critical for safety.
Interesting fact: Hoarding provides an excellent flat surface for messages about a construction project, or other communication. Check out the fine examples in Building 1 on levels 3 and 4, or keep an eye out for Building 2’s exterior hoardings over coming weeks; they are set to get very creative.
It may sound like an application to join the UTS basketball team, but in fact it is a term given to climbing formwork systems designed to construct lift and stair cores in high-rise buildings and other concrete structures.
Interesting fact: Using the jump form system to construct the main lift core of Building 2 will be somewhat challenging, requiring structural strengthening in order to remove sections of existing slab to make way for the new lift core, as well as an overhead gantry crane. In addition, componentry will need to be broken down into smaller parts to allow for delivery via the existing loading dock.
Lifting jump form during construction of the FEIT Building on Broadway
Are we there yet? Not quite, but practically. Practical completion (or ‘PC’) is the point at which a construction project is completed, according to the agreement with the contractor. Typically, however, there would be minor defects to be fixed following PC and – as you would expect in a university of technology – extensive programming and testing of IT and AV before occupants move in.
Interesting fact: At UTS, practical completion is typically followed by a 12-month defects liability period, during which the contractor must correct any faults. That is why staff relocating into a new space are asked to report defects promptly.
These are the temporary platforms that – these days, anyway – are more commonly used to facilitate construction activities than public executions. Good scaffolding (or ‘scaff’) is to be applauded as it is supports construction workers to operate safely at heights.
Interesting fact: As important as scaffolding is to the construction team, for those impatiently waiting to see the finished building emerge, the disassembly of scaffolding is a highlight, signalling the big reveal – as those at UTS in 2014 during the construction of Building 11, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building and Building 7 may recall.
Scaffolding starts to come down, revealing the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.
Also known as topping off, this is the construction equivalent of a baker placing the final layer on a five-storey, triple-choc cake – a major milestone, in other words. Although not as tasty, the installation of the final construction beam or roofing piece is a trigger for similarly enthusiastic celebrations.
Interesting fact: Topping out is often celebrated with the planting of a tree, as was the case with UTS's three new buildings – Building 11, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building and Building 7, and the tradition may continue with the sport science facility currently under construction at Moore Park. This echoes a ritual of the ancient Scandinavians, who would place an evergreen tree on top of a new building to appease the spirits.