Impact-resistant steel cladding from BlueScope Lysaght was installed in a challenging application at the Tropical Health Research Facility on James Cook University’s Townsville campus.

Set to make a vital impact on global tropical health and disease control, the architecturally striking Tropical Health Research Facility is one of three facilities that comprise the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), and are located at the Cairns, Townsville and Thursday Island campuses of James Cook University (JCU).

With Northern Queensland affected by endemic tropical diseases and being part of a region where infectious diseases are exceptionally prevalent, the AITHM will be on the frontline of infectious disease risk and response for Australia.

Townsville’s Tropical Health Research Facility is a world-class infectious diseases research facility incorporating Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2) and Level 3 (PC3) laboratories and biological facilities, specialist laboratory support spaces and offices. In a structure where safety and security are so critical, quality of workmanship and materials was crucial; the task of securely cladding the facility was, therefore, entrusted to Townsville-based cladding experts, Matz Roofing.

With over 20 years of experience in roofing and walling residential and large commercial projects, Matz Roofing prides themselves on their workmanship as well as using only quality steel products from Lysaght. Even with this experience, the task of cladding the five-storey building was a 12-month project during which several challenges were addressed.

According to Matz Roofing Director Matt Newman, since the laboratories contain vaccines and deadly diseases, the building is run at pressure. Matz had to install a vapour barrier using a sarking layer that fully sealed the building to stop any leakage. A wall wrap product was used before battening it out and sheeting it. On the floors where the labs were situated, they fixed two layers of Lysaght .55 BMT flashing coil around the entire level as a debris impact barrier so that nothing could pierce through in a cyclone or severe weather event.

With the necessary inner layers in place, Lysaght Spandek steel cladding was installed in the COLORBOND steel colour Surfmist on the roof and in the COLORBOND Metallic steel colours Rhea and Celestian on the walls to enhance the striking design of the building.

Featuring an attractive and contemporary trapezoidal profile, Lysaght Spandek cladding is lightweight, strong and economical for roofing and walling in both commercial and residential applications, particularly in tropical climes, as the bold ribs offer high water carrying capacity. Especially relevant for this application, Lysaght Spandek cladding has been debris impact tested and proven to perform in Lysaght’s NATA accredited laboratory.

Matt Newman says about 70 per cent of the external building surface has Lysaght Spandek cladding, with the rest in concrete; since it was debris impact tested by Lysaght, it was specified for the project to ensure the facility could withstand the worst tropical storms.

Matt Newman was pleased to have the trusted experience of Lysaght behind him once again. He explained that the Townsville facility project was very intricate with a lot of windows and penetrations and a few peculiar angles, all on a five-storey structure. Leveraging a great working relationship with the Lysaght Townsville team, Matz Roofing was able to complete the installation on time.

The Lysaght team was equally pleased to once again work with Matt Newman and his team; along with the Lysaght .55 BMT flashing coil, Lysaght supplied about 2,800 square metres of 0.48 BMT Spandek cladding for the AITHM Townsville Facility.

Aware that Matz Roofing was executing a difficult project, the Lysaght team ensured the quick turnaround they required on material supply, and as always, took great care with production and delivery of COLORBOND Metallic steel cladding to ensure a flawless result on the project.

Matt Hardy, Lysaght’s North Queensland Sales Manager added that it was a pleasure to have such a strong relationship with a client who was so passionate about quality product and so patriotic about using 100 percent Australian material.