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Home and Building, Volume 37 Number 6 (1975)


page 53

The house panels have an overall thickness of 50 mm, and comprise two skins of asbestos cement sheet filled with an expanded polyurethane foam. Panels are available with windows fitted already glazed, as well as with plumbing fittings in a variety of configurations. Nearly all are drilled for the inclusion of electrical wiring, and one panel even has a 100mm conduit to take the conglomeration of wires which run from the average home switchboard.

The modular panels have efficient insulating properties, and the foam core is fire resistant and self-extinguishing.

The same company has developed a continuous metal deck roofing to provide maximum protection throughout the life of a building. This decking, widely used throughout the building industry, is supplied for the prefabricated houses. Using" concealed fixing techniques, the decking has proved versatile, flexible and economical for large and small projects and a wide range of roof styles.

A number of Australian companies are producing variants of this type of roof decking, which is available in galvanised steel, prepainted galvanised steel, aluminium and copper to a proven standard of structured strength durability and economy.

For inside buildings, an Australian company has developed a rigid building slab for ceiling and partition applications. The boards available in many pre-fabricated painted and textured surface's, are strong, offer thermal and sound insulation, and a high degree of fire resistance. Two inches thick and four feet wide, the board is available in stock lengths to 16ft., or custom cut. Offering tremendous design flexibility, it requires only a one inch support around its perimeter and is ideally suited to many types of ceiling sysems and partitions.

Australia is a major aluminium producer, and the high strength-to-weight ratio, workability, corrosion resistance, high thermal and electrical conductivity, energy reflective and non-magnetic properties make this a versatile material, which is widely used in the building industry.

A major Australian aluminium fabricating company offers a comprehensive design-and-advice service to licensed manufacturers throughout the world. This company can supply a complete range of high quality aluminium extrusion systems for the manufacturers of windows, curtain walls, doors, insect screens and other building products.

They also provide expert advice on the establishment of factories and supply its licensees with detailed designs for hundreds of different aluminium windows.

Designs for aluminium-framed windows to suit both domestic and commercial architecture include double-hung awning types, casements, inward-opening awnings, sliding windows, fixed panes, and vertical and horizontal pivot reversible types. These can be manufactured in a wide range of sizes to suit local demands. Many of the windows have in fact, been specially designed for tropical and sub-tropical regions.

In the domestic range, the company has designed light-weight, single-glazed windows suitable for bungalow-style houses. For tropical and sub-tropical areas these are superior to windows with heavy, thermal-break frames and double-glazing. For commercial applications, the company's double-glazed windows provide a highly efficient thermal barrier. Venetian blinds can be fitted between the panes of glass to eliminate glare. The commercial style windows are readily developed into curtain-wall sections incorporating mullions and spandrel panels for high-rise buildings.

Other building products made by the company include steel and aluminium louvre frames, in 4 in., 6 in. clip sizes; aluminium balustrading in a wide choice of patterns; and "sun blades" to shield the exterior of buildings.

Aluminium is important in many areas of the building industry — in 1973 the page 54building and architectural market consumed 35 per cent of Australia's total usage of the metal.

Apart from window frames, the major items for which aluminium is used are wall cladding, curtain wall construction, shopfronts, balustrades and hand-railing, doors, roofing guttering and downpipe, accessories (such as Venetian blinds, flywire screens, sun louvres) and insulation materials.

However, aluminium sheet in the form of roof and wall cladding is finding increasing use in the building industry for both industrial and domestic applications. Building renovations are an important market for this product. While in low-cost modular housing and industrial buildings the uses of aluminium appear limitless.

A new finish developed by an Australian aluminium fabricating company is a permanent, anodised bronze, designed to complement contemporary building materials. This is the first economically priced, lightfast colour anodic finish produced for extruded aluminium products, the surface is hard and dense to resist abrasion and corrosion.

A new development in the ever popular louvre window is the louvre surround window, where the outer frame incorporates louvres fixed and fitted as the normal window.

Modern aluminium windows used in high rise buildings have special design features to avoid rain penetration, a problem in areas of high wind velocities and squally rain, or in very high buildings.

This is achieved by a pressure equalisation principle, or the rain screen principle, in which the outer building fabric eliminates those forces which drive rainwater into a building.