When Blacktown’s Westpoint Shopping Centre upgraded their parking building, a lot of propping was required.

In August 2018 the owners of Westpoint Shopping Centre in Blacktown, Western Sydney, found some anomalies with the columns in the car park of their building. The decision was made to strengthen the columns in half of the building, while the rest of the 300 car parks continued to operate as usual.

The works started in December 2018, and they required significant propping around the columns to ensure the loads on them could be offset while the repairs and strengthening was completed by the construction engineers. Coates Hire’s Services provides this type of specialist propping solution for a range of construction company customers across Australia.

Mark Hutchison, Coates Hire Engineer – Temporary Works, says the columns could carry very little weight while they were being rectified. So the engineers required significant propping around each column, creating a load-path from the ground floor and upwards through the 2.2 metre high levels.

“The structure had to be made safe for customers while the works were completed,” says Hutchison. “The car park is being used by shoppers while it's being repaired.”

Coates Hire was initially engaged to prop four columns prior to Christmas, with a further 18 columns added early in the New Year. This equated to the installation of 616 props, 1,584 timber sleepers and 220 Universal Beams (aka. ‘H’ beams). They were installed while working closely alongside other trades and under the customer’s strict program.

Hutchison says that based on the exceptional work undertaken by the Coates Hire Services installation team, lead by Installation Manager, Neil Gujare, Coates Hire Services hope to also secure the Block 2 installation works which will consist of propping a further 62 columns, requiring approximately 1736 props.

Hutchison says that with so much hire equipment required, and such a delicate job while the car park remains operational, Coates Hire was a perfect  fit for the project.

“We have a lot of specialist equipment and we have our own qualified engineers and certification process,” says Hutchison. “We can mobilise very quickly, so in jobs where serious loads have to be safely propped at short notice, the customer can rely on us.”

He says the project has another seven stages of rectification work over 2019.

“It’s a good feeling knowing we have the specialist equipment, the expertise and reputation to create a safe work area for our customers.”

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