Case Studies

Case Study: Gemini Court

Gemini Court Holiday Apartments in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast recently completed a repaint of its exterior surfaces.

Gemini Court general manager Kris Racette said, “The old paint had been there for 10 years – which generally is the lifespan of an exterior repaint – and it was becoming chalky and many showed cracks and water damage.”

To conduct the repainting project, Mr Racette commissioned ANP. He said the first process was the cleaning of the surface to reveal any water damage or concrete spalling.

“The building was water blasted twice to clean the surface, then any areas showing signs of water damage were waterproofed with a waterproofing product, any areas showing concrete spalling the concrete were removed, the steel treated with rust inhibitor and reconcreted with higher strength concrete. Any cracks bigger than the thickness of a business card were ground out and filled with a flexible gap sealer.”

John Poole from ANP Painting said, “Every building on the Gold Coast (of a similar age to Gemini Court) will have some concrete spalling issues and Gemini Court was no different in that respect. There were some waterproofing issues that were addressed at the same time.

If a building is undergoing a repaint, it makes good economic sense to maximise the use of scaffolding and complete as much exterior work as possible.”

Once the surface had been prepared two coats of paint were applied.

Mr Racette said, “This process was done on one “drop” at a time so the swing stages only had to be moved to each location once.”

The exterior repaint project took five months.

Mr Poole said this was longer than expected due to some unforeseen issues uncovered.

“It would have been possible to shorten that time by allocating more men to the job but we then run the risk of over-running the building with tradesmen and the management at Gemini was still trying to run a business with minimum disruption. We take the approach that a longer time frame to complete the work with less men on site causes less disruption to the day to day running of the building and we have greater control of the finished job.”


Gemini Court – After.

The other issue ANP Painting had was the changes in exclusion zone regulations under the new Workplace Health and Safety Act 2008 released on 1 September 2008 (see below article).

Mr Poole Said, “Prior to the new regulations, repainting an existing building was not classified as a construction site but now it is. So all the rules and regulations that need to be adhered to when building a new complex now affect repainting an existing building. When building a new complex, there aren’t any residents but there certainly are when you repaint an existing building.”

Under part 20 Construction of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2008 exacting risk management requirements must be complied with.

Mr Poole said, “The area of restriction underneath our work area is now roughly 1m out from the base of the building for every 3m of building height. If we are painting a 30 storey building (at approx 2.6m per storey) we have to exclude everyone for a distance of 26m out from the base of the building. It also should include anyone going out on their own balcony while we are working either above or below them.

“Once again, not a problem if no one is living in the building while it is being built but imagine the impact a restriction like that could have on a building with a large proportion of tourists.

Nobody should be against attempts to improve safety of our workers or the public but the restrictions come at a financial cost to someone.”

In terms of how these new restrictions affected the exterior painting project of Gemini Court, Mr Poole said, “The major impact was a massive increase in costs followed by the time taken to complete the job. In some cases we have seen prices for scaffolding a building increase by 50-60%.”

For Mr Racette, the new legislation created delays and increased the cost of the project.

“The restrictions initially delayed the project. The body corporate voted to approve the painting, then the restrictions came in and we were advised of the increase in cost. The owners had to meet again to approve the new cost before proceeding. It delayed the length of time the project took as extra steps had to be taken to ensure compliance.

“It also closed areas of the building due to exclusion zones within a 15m radius of where the contractors were working including closing the pool for two months. This impacted on business as guests expect to be able to use the facilities. We overcame this partially by opening the pool in the afternoons after the contractors stopped work around 3pm but in February/March this still wasn’t good enough for many guests.

“Also balconies became exclusion zones while the tradesmen were working in the vicinity.

As the building is best known for its views of the gold coast coastline this wasn’t terribly attractive to guests either.

“It also affected the cost of the project dramatically as we now had to allow for fence hire, gantry (overhead protection) to be built, additional certification costs for scaffolding/swing stages by qualified engineers and additional administrative costs (copies of certification, license documents etc all had to be kept on site), additional equipment also had to be used to ensure tradesmen on the swing stages had a redundant harness, not attached to the swing stage. This meant installing anchor bolts to the roof to connect the harnesses to,” Mr Racette said.

While these new exclusion zone restrictions were overcome in the case of Gemini Court, there remains a big question of how will these new regulations affect the industry and future projects for both the constractor and the accommodation complex?

“From an industry perspective, until everyone in the repaint industry is actually playing by the same set of rules, someone will cut corners, either in safety situations or quality. At the moment the rules apply to everyone but not everyone is abiding by them. The painting companies and the scaffold companies that are trying to do the right thing are losing work to those who are cutting corners and that can only lead to a drop in quality of repaints.

“As costs increase for future refurbishments we will see buildings being repainted less often and that is detrimental to the maintenance of the building. Protection from concrete cancer is vitally dependant on repainting a building within the paint companies’ parameters. Once the protective life span of the paint is reached, the likelyhood of concrete cancer occurring increases dramatically,” Mr Poole said.

And for the accommodation industry?

“As a manager these restrictions make repainting a far less desirable undertaking due to the impact on business of the exclusion zones,” Mr Racette said.

The detail

Under part 20 Construction of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2008 for construction work that is not civil construction work or housing work, a principal contractor must ensure that a relevant person –

a) identifies and decides the line (the proposed line) along which any barricade or hoarding required under subsection (3) is to be erected; and
b) measures the angle to the horizontal formed by an imaginary straight line drawn between —
a. (i) the highest point at which work is being done on the structure involved in the work during which an object could fall on or otherwise hit a person; and
b. (ii) the point on the ground, along the proposed line, that is closest to the highest point.

(3) Before the work starts, the principal contractor must ensure that:
a) if the measured angle is not more than 15º — a barricade or hoarding at least 900mm high that surrounds the structure is erected along the proposed line; or
b) if the measured angle is more than 15º but not more than 30º — a hoarding at least 1800mm high is erected along the proposed line; or if the measured angle is more than 30º but less than 75º — a hoarding at least 1800mm high that is fully sheeted with timber, plywood, metal or sturdy synthetic sheets is erected along the proposed line; or
c) if the measured angle is 75º or more—
(i) a hoarding at least 1800mm high that is fully sheeted with timber, plywood, metal or sturdy synthetic sheets and that is not part of a gantry is erected along the proposed line; or
(ii) a gantry is erected under section 285(3)(a).

(4) A hoarding under subsection (3)(b), (c) or (d) must be erected adjacent to the sides of each part of the structure from which an object could fall.

(5) If subsection (3) or (4) does not require part of the structure to have a hoarding erected adjacent to the side of the part, the principal contractor must ensure that a barricade or hoarding at least 900mm high is erected along the proposed line adjacent to the sides of the part of the structure.

(6) A hoarding under subsection (3) must—
a) prevent an object that may reasonably be expected to hit it from entering the adjoining area; and
b) be strong enough, and appropriately designed and erected, for the circumstances in which it is used, including the location of the workplace and the type of work to be carried out near the hoarding.

(7) A hoarding under subsection (3)(c) or (d)—
a) must be able to withstand a horizontal force of—
(i) 500N per m² applied over 1m² at the top of the hoarding midway between any post and its nearest post without deforming permanently; and
(ii) 950N applied over 1500mm² at any point on the hoarding without fully penetrating the hoarding; and
b) may have gaps to minimise wind resistance, if the gaps are no larger than are reasonably necessary; and
c) if it is part of a gantry—must extend to the gantry’s overhead platform.

Have some refurbishments you would like to show off?
Email [email protected] or call (07) 5440 5322

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