Installation is the third step in TILT’s design-supply-install-maintain approach, and we are currently in this phase for the UTS Central project. It’s an exciting few months because it is when all collaborators on a project realise the success of the first two steps.
From our perspective, the focus very much remains on maintaining the continuity of design intent, which is why we use the same team of industrial designers and engineers to install the manufactured product.
The key to successful installation is good communication and collaboration with the builders. As changes and delays can have cost implications, the better the relationship we have with the on-site team, the more effective the response can be to any challenges that may arise. At this stage of a project, we view ourselves as sub-contractors on their work site, so it’s important to co-ordinate with other services and equipment, work to the builder’s time frame and partner closely with their team to get the job done on time and on budget.
As with most projects, the success is in the planning. In the months prior to installation, there are a range of activities that occur. Site conditions can be difficult to predict and there are many unknowns that we must make educated assumptions about to mitigate risk. These include time and motion studies; consideration of access for trucks on site; assessment and availability of equipment required to move the products efficiently; weather scenario planning; site access to the area of installation plus managing the sub-contractors that TILT co-ordinate as part of their team. The more well planned the installation methodology, the smoother the process goes and for the UTS project, we used 3D scanning of the building to allow for planning around the structure to avoid managing site variations on the run.
Delivery of the manufactured elements on to the site is always interesting. Although very much entrenched in the building phase with less involvement required on the part of architects, it’s an opportunity for their team to see and experience the outcome of their design phase. Their first glimpse of the magnitude is always eye-opening – seeing the design off the page, being ‘unfolded’ and viewing its inner workings once assembled means the scale becomes real for the first time. This aspect can be both challenging and exhilarating because seeing the pieces up close and out of context is not how the design is intended to be experienced. Once installed, however, the intent is realised, and the investment value becomes clear.
For TILT, installation is not the end. Our next step in the project is the commissioning stage which includes the electrical, mechanical and functional elements of the operable screens followed by handover and training to UTS. Stay tuned.