Whakarongo was a small country school in search of a new school hall. For a long time, the students of this New Zealand school just outside of Palmerston North had to walk along a busy main road to get to the community hall some distance away. The school board saw the need for a brand new hall closer to the school itself that would ?t in with the beautiful leafy setting but that was affordable and well adapted to the school’s needs. A prefabricated Hyspan portal frame construction with a timber ground floor was the ideal solution.

Once fund raising for the new school hall began, Mr Brian Gold?nch, chair of the schools building committee, had his eye out for suitable and cost-effective options. Working as a contractor at Linton Military Camp, a New Zealand Army base, Mr Goldfinch saw the army trainees erect a trades workshop and a new generator shed using futurebuild Hyspan LVL. The ease and speed of construction prompted him to contact futurebuild to assess the suitability of this Pre-Fabricated Hyspan portal frame for the upcoming Whakarongo project.

From beginning to end, futurebuild was involved closely with the project. Assisting with design and pricing in the early stages is part of the service provided by futurebuild New Zealand, ensuring that clients understand the LVL materials and can make fully informed decisions on materials and design. The project assistance was provided by futurebuild’s commercial market manager Alan Ross and two staff designers. ‘The geometry of this structure, 20 metre clear span with a 4 metre wall height, ?tted within our range of Standard Portal Frame Designs. This allowed for a budget estimate to be passed to Brian within 24 hours which in turn allowed a comparison of our LVL design with alternative solutions’ says Ross.

Client and supplier then worked closely together to come up with ?nal drawings and material take off before the project was taken through to construction of the portal frame.

Construction was also a team effort involving the 2nd Engineer regiment of the New Zealand army and army trainees. The engineers brought the project to its closing stages, while for the trainees the combination of timber sub-floor and Hyspan portals provided a great opportunity for training.

The sub floor was built using treated timber piles bedded into a concrete pad foundation, with timber bearers and joists.

The project utilised the kind of carpentry not ordinarily seen in the big steel portal sections of many New Zealand commercial buildings and this gave the opportunity for the army trainees to enhance these skills using a range of LVL products.

Ultimately, using Hyspan was cost effective for Goldfinch and the school because of the ease of construction. The result is a large school hall with a woody feel at a good price. The committee and the students are happy with the hall which sits beautifully in the tree filled playground and features lovely high windows and a colour scheme that suits the surrounds.

- Infolink Architectural online