The recently completed Massey University Innovation Complex (IC Building), on the East Precinct Auckland Campus, Albany is a big project by any measure.
The 9,800 square metre state-of-the-art facility will be home to the science, innovation and research centre, and houses teaching and research laboratories and collaborative working spaces.
But it isn’t just the scale of the building, or the approx. 3,500 square metre roof area that made it a challenging project for architects and contractors involved, the science and laboratory aspect made for additional pipework, ducting and services that made the available roof areas and ceiling spaces very congested indeed.
This complexity meant that the Marley Akasison siphonic roof drainage system and its space-saving attributes provided an ideal solution.
Siphonic roof drainage systems are an efficient method of draining rainwater rapidly, especially from buildings with a large roof area. A siphonic roof drainage system utilises the full height of the building and the fall and acceleration of rainwater down the downpipe to create negative pressures that suck water off the roof. They require fewer, smaller downpipes and the pipework can be installed close to the roof with zero gradient and because of the suction the water volume is drained much faster.
Project architects, Athfield Architects approached Marley in February 2018 to provide siphonic roof drainage solutions for the Massey building, having previously worked together on the PwC Centre in Wellington.
Young architect Chi Tran was given the task of working with Marley to develop the drainage plan. A recent graduate, it was Chi’s first siphonic drainage project and a steep learning curve for him.
“With the usual gravity system, you need to integrate all these additional falls in the pipes. So, knowing that we’d be limited in space and competing for every single millimetre in those ceiling cavities, the siphonic system was definitely the most efficient way to get our routes to work,” he said.
Chi says that the siphonic system needs to be carefully planned, as the spacing between dropper pipes is very precise to create the hydraulic pressure needed for the system to prime and function. That meant a lot of coordination was required between hydraulic services and structural.
“Every little turn, every tailpipe, and offsets had to be considered. There were a couple instances where we had to design the structure around the siphonic system, otherwise penetrations would be required through a steel beam, for example – which we aim to avoid.”
In these cases, Chi worked with the structural engineer for a solution. “They were accommodating. And when we couldn’t, Marley was also very accommodating,” Chi said.
James Rodger, Building Services Manager at Southbase Construction coordinated the design/build on the project along with DL Good Plumbers and the hydraulic consultant.
James received the novated design from Athfield Architects and together with D.L. Goods, created a 3D model using Navisworks 3D visualization software, allowing the project team to fine-tune the system well before the install was scheduled to happen.
“Having Marley on board really early on, and DL Goods doing the coordination design, meant we had a really bulletproof design. So, we knew exactly where the fittings were going, there were no clashes, and there was no rework.
“And Marley were really good. Any changes, Marley would be really quick to respond, and tell us what we could and couldn’t do,” he said.
An additional benefit of getting the roof drainage system in place early was protecting the worksite during the record weather events that hit Auckland during the build.
“The main thing if you’re getting rain events during construction is you need to get water off the roof and away from the building. It was really handy for us – we didn’t have to do any temporary drainage, we could use a permanent system,” James says.
“From a contractor perspective, it was a very smooth process. Communication was good. Marley was very good to work with. The end result was a good outcome for the project, for us, and for the client and for the contractor.”
The Massey IC project was one of the largest Marley Akasison installations to date, but even though the massive building has only recently been handed over, the system’s effectiveness – even through record downpours, plus the ease of installation and exceptional support by the Marley team has won over the entire project team. In fact, Athfield Architects has already begun investigating it as an option for a major public building project. Stay tuned!
- Developer: Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa
- Architect: Athfield Architects Limited
- Main contractor: Southbase Construction Limited
- Plumbing subcontractor: D.L. Good Plumbers Limited
See more Akasison projects here