Monbulk - Class is back in session
The team from Advanced Buildings came to the rescue when weather chaos left a trail of destruction in Monbulk’s back yard.
When a turbulent storm tore through Melbourne late last year, it brought flooding rains, damaging winds and powerful thunderstorms - wreaking havoc across suburbs. It was the relentless punches from strong northerly winds, with gusts reaching up to 100 km/h, that caused power outages and flung debris around from yard to yard.
East of Melbourne, in the town of Monbulk, fierce winds caused serious damage at a local school. A tall tree was ripped from the ground and came crashing down on top of vacant classrooms. Thankfully no children were on the premises at the time, but when the stoic tree came toppling down it ruptured the classrooms roof structure and cladding, taking out entire brick walls. The damage continued, with rainwater and debris ruining plaster, paint and electrical wiring.
Usually a hive of activity, the school’s grounds bustle with students on route to classrooms. With this in mind, it was vital that the damaged area was cordoned off immediately to prevent any curious wanderers making their way over, and to ensure that no injuries occurred on site.
With the ever-demanding need for study space, Advanced Buildings was brought on board to have the tree damage reinstated as fast as possible, enabling the school to resume operations as usual.
The scope of works was vast.
Firstly, the team needed to demolish the damaged sections of the structure and install a tarp to prevent water ingress during the ongoing works. A framework of scaffolding was erected to allow the installation of new roof framing and cladding, a tricky task for the team given the rural nature and steep slope of the site. The intricate works to the roof required the installation of architectural perforated sarking as an internal ceiling finish. A delicate material, it demands specialist precision during install as it can be easily damaged and is expensive to repair. The Advanced Buildings team took great care and managed to install all sections with no damage to the membrane.
Once the structure had been restored and secured, new external brickwork and cladding rounded out the space, making the classrooms take shape once again. To ensure no water seepage or cracks reared their heads further down the track, it was necessary to remove all affected internal linings, and install replacement joinery. This also involved the classroom electricals having a full audit (and repairs where necessary) to guarantee the safety of all students and teachers. Flooring throughout the classrooms were damaged beyond repair and required stripping, sanding and the careful application of new vinyl.
Lastly, the final finessing touches included replastering and painting, creating once again wonderfully white walls ready to be filled with the creative artwork of young eager minds.
The structural and aesthetic damage across the classrooms totalled $300,000 in repairs to get them up and safely running again.
As with many of the jobs that Advanced Buildings tackle, external conditions are rarely smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the bout of bad weather that had caused the damage in the first place continued, with 3 weeks of rain making repairs on-site a difficult task. This was coupled with the fact that the school remained open and in session throughout the repair works, resulting in the team collaborating closely with teachers and their schedules to ensure minimal disruptions to lessons.
The added complexity of the project involved navigating an open-site. Students and teachers needed to be protected for the duration of construction works, in terms of disruptions as well as their physical safety around scaffolding and the team moving materials to and from site. The complete works were conducted around student schedules to cause minimal disruption and ensure the complete safety and care of everyone in the vicinity.
Overall the project was a huge success and the school was elated with the quality of finish. Given how many hours are spent in classrooms and the high-traffic of students in-and-out on a daily basis, it was imperative that the finish not only looked good but stood the test of time – durable, practical and welcoming.