This month at Monkeytoe May 2020

Check out what's been happening at Monkeytoe in May in our latest monthly news feature.

A note from Budd

Now that the worst of the COVID crisis is over, we’re pleased to say that we’re back and fully operational in the office. We’re still making the most of our tech capabilities; our virtual presentations have proven such a success that we’re going to continue to offer these for the foreseeable future.

On the subject of presentations, next Thursday 4 June 2020 at 1pm, we’re hosting our first webinar on Stairs – Design, Compliance and Applications. Put it in your calendars now, and register your interest by heading to this link. We’re extending the invite to all those interested in developing their knowledge. We look forward to seeing you all there, and to hearing your thoughts.

This month, we’re appreciating some great feedback from one of our clients, Vitaco. We’re also getting to know Ben Halliday, Monkeytoe’s Design Manager, and Ivan Surtrees, our newest estimator.

Last month’s XBeam FAQs were such a hit that we’re bringing them back for another round. This time we’re answering your questions on fire integrity, waterproofing and testing. Let’s jump in.

All the best,

Budd Prestidge, General Manager

More XBeam FAQs with Logan Klenner, Monkeytoe’s Development Manager

Since the Xbeam is such a new and innovative product, we put together a list of questions that have cropped up and sent them to our Development Manager, Logan, to answer.

Do you have a question about the XBeam that you’d like answered? Send it to [email protected] and we’ll give it a review.

1) What testing has been completed for structural integrity in fire situations?

We’ve designed and tested to a range of parameters, and we’re currently working with fire engineers to look into additional fire capabilities using intumescent paints.

The aluminium bonds are designed to withstand at least 200°C for an extended duration. This covers scenarios where a fire-rated roof can emit a radiant temperature of up to 180°C for a specified duration.

In our adhesive lapshear testing to date, we’ve actually observed this particular bond increasing in strength with increases in temperature thanks to the nature of the specifically formulated product. We’ve tested this up to 220°C.

Beyond this temperature, it’s possible the aluminium bonding may fail, and that the system would be relying on the bond friction and the connecting bracketry only. We’ve tested this scenario with all bonds failed and the beam loaded to 1.5x its designed shear load held overnight, without observing a catastrophic integrity failure. So pretty successful, we think.

Above 300-350°C the aluminium itself will degrade in performance and reach expected failure.

2) Is the XBEAM unit watertight?

While the XBeam is watertight along the main length, the end caps aren’t a sealed fit. We are now looking at making the entire beams watertight by using a waterproofing foam in the ends of the cavities before installing the end caps.

3) Do you have the fire resistance properties of these beams, such as the FLR ratings?

Currently we do not have any fire rating capability with these beams, though this is something we’re working on currently with fire engineering companies in Australia. This will take some time to complete.

As above, our design & testing to date has been around the beam maintaining structural integrity when exposed to 180°C+ radiant temperatures (based on the allowable radiant temperatures through a fire rated roof/wall)

4) How did you go about getting the capacities from the Xbeam? Was this through testing?

The properties and capacities of the XBeam are both calculated and verified by FEA & physical testing to determine its performance under a range of stresses.

Great work at the Vitaco HQ, Auckland

Vitaco are one of Australasia’s biggest developers, manufacturers and marketers of world-class nutrition products. So of course, when they needed world-class aluminium structures for their buildings, they came to Monkeytoe.

We were tasked with creating a main entrance solution for staff to access their new warehouse. Our solution? A suspended walkway running lengthwise along the building and a custom tower stair.

Here’s what Simon Stockdale, at Vitaco, had to say about our work:

Vitaco’s requirement for a 70m long elevated walkway was quickly understood by Monkeytoe and we were given 3D designs to review. Monkeytoe’s engineers worked closely with our architects and engineers to produce a final design. 

We’ve been kept well informed throughout the project and the result is an impressive looking walkway, which is rock solid, a critical factor as it’s 7m above the warehouse floor and used by 50 staff every day. 

Simon Stockdale, Vitaco

7 Questions with Ben Halliday, Design Manager

1) Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Ben Halliday, Project Design Team Manager. I run our team of seven designers, scheduling their workload, helping come up with designs for complicated jobs and arranging all the engineering associated with the designs.

2) What’s your background?

I’m a qualified builder and abseiler by trade. I spent seven years working at the University of Auckland fixing leaks and doing small renos, and joined Monkeytoe in 2014 as their first Auckland-based employee – half installer, half site manager. I moved to project management in the first few months, then became a nationwide project manager.

3) Why Monkeytoe?

I’d installed a bit of Monkeytoe product with the last company I worked for. When the opportunity came up for a different role as a site manager, I knew there was the chance to move into project management. That’s the great thing about working here – there’s always an opportunity for growth and improvement.

4) Why choose a design specialist?

Multiple reasons, really. If you get a design specialist in early enough on a project, we can often save clients a lot of money by developing and using more efficient designs for their projects compared with off-the-shelf stuff. We’ve got such a flexible team and product at Monkeytoe that we can design – and design for – anything.

Plus there are the advantages of aluminium over steel. With aluminium, you can do what steel can’t. There’s less corrosion; it’s a lighter product. We’ve got the XBeam which has a greater span.

There’s also the ability to work designs into the early engineering, saving costs on the whole project. The XBeam, for example, we can drop on site and can be lifted by a single crane rather than needing to be fitted in sections with hot works. That saves across the entire design.

5) How do you help find the right solutions for clients?

That depends on the stage of the project. Ideally, we’re in early, talking to architects and engineers and seeing where we can work on their plans and work into the structure from the ground up. The big benefit for architects is that this frees up their time – we handle the plans, draw them up properly for them, so they’re right for engineers too.

If it’s closer to specification time, then we can offer our best guidance and explore custom designs that will suit what’s already been set in stone.

In either case, we’re working with our own products, our own extrusions and it’s coming out of our factory. Because we do it all in-house, we can keep the quality high and the costs down for clients.

6) What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

There’s a couple that come to mind recently. We designed and installed about 10 stories or 20 flights for the outside of the Cordis Hotel on Symonds St, Auckland. We’d normally work with what’s effectively a flat-pack system, but for this project we pre-built the frame, the stairs and the hand-rail in our factory, then took it to site and craned it into place with a modular system. It was about a week of fabrication and four days of install.

We also worked on a Crow’s Nest Rise Walkway, building a stair-bridge that’s about 12m long with a ~20 degree incline. The soil had eroded the old heavy concrete one, so rather than try and fix it, we were brought it to bridge the gap with a stair bridge.

Recently we’ve also done the Vitaco HQ, with the 70m suspended walkway and the custom stair tower, which was a huge success.

7) What would you say to someone interested in a custom designed product?

The standard’s always been steel, but from day one Monkeytoe’s been interested in changing the standard. It used to be structural steel for portals and platforms, but the marine-grade aluminium we use means we rethink things.

Aluminium is more efficient. You can do more with aluminium than you can with steel or other products. You wouldn’t expect a 12-metre aluminium stair bridge, for example, but we did it.

I’d say that if you were interested in a custom design solution, then do it. Go for different.

Welcome to the team, Ivan

New to the Monkeytoe family is Ivan Surtees. No matter which side of the Tasman you’re on, Ivan the estimator will have his hand in your project. We’ll let him introduce himself:

It was good to arrive here at Monkeytoe Head Office, after a hibernation period of quarantine and lockdown for the last seven weeks! Been great to get to know some of the team already.

I landed in NZ mid-March from my hometown of Leeds, UK, to start a new life in my wife’s hometown of Hawera with her and our two children.

I have always worked in construction-related industries – in various roles but mainly sales – so it’s great to get a role at Monkeytoe. I’ve started here as an Estimator, and am looking forward to learning everything there is to know about aluminium structures!

Outside of work I love the great outdoors and love a culinary approach to meat  – so NZ is definitely the place to be!

Working at Monkeytoe so far has been an excellent experience with the enthusiastic and energetic culture coming through strongly… even if it is via Zoom! The supportive atmosphere is also noticeable – thanks everyone!

In other news

Our latest ebook, “Bigger, Taller, Stronger: Realising the potential of carbon fibre” is still available for download from our website. As we’ve said before, the real strength in carbon fibre is in its ability to do more than either component alone – just as how our XBeam raises the bar by combining the qualities of carbon fibre and aluminium.

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