University of Queensland Scan the Maryborough Fire Station

"When can we scan the Maryborough Fire Station?"

This was the unusual request that came into Maryborough's Hyne Timber from leading research institution, The University of Queensland (UQ).

UQ used a number of laser scanning technologies to map and photograph the existing building and surrounds of the 1950's Maryborough Fire Station over the weekend.

The task was conducted as part of initial work to develop a detailed proposal for Hyne Timber's Market-Led Proposal (MLP) to design and build a new fire station and emergency response centre using sustainably grown engineered timber.

Scanning technology has been successfully used in complex activities such as the preservation of world heritage sites and exploring the interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Now the Maryborough Fire Station can be added to the list ahead of a trip to India later in the year where the School will be undertaking scans of informal settlements in Ahmedabad.

UQ's Centre for Future Timber Structures spokesperson, Dr Dilum Fernando said the scanners are key tools of the Digital Cultural Heritage initiative run by Dr Kelly Greenop and her team at the UQ's School of Architecture.

"The rotating hand held scanner emits laser beams to continuously scan the Fire Station building.

"As the operator walked through the building with the scanner, 2D measurements were converted into a 3D field of view, collecting over 40,000 range measurements in just one second.

"We will now look to use the scan data to create a 3D model of the existing building to bring more innovative solutions throughout the design and construction process by a range of experts, researchers and students.

"The scanner is perfect for mapping complex, non-orthogonal environments which are very difficult to record using conventional survey equipment," said Dr Fernando.

The use of this scanning technology in Maryborough also presented a unique learning opportunity for a number of PhD students to learn how to use the equipment and for all involved to understand how it may apply to benefit the design and construction industry into the future.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Fire and Rescue personnel who were on site to assist us with facilitating the scan. Without their cooperation and support, this unique opportunity wouldn’t have been possible" Dr Fernando concluded.

Project partner Hutchinson Builders' Team leader, Russell Fryer said 3D scanning is an emerging technology within the construction industry that will enable designers to more accurately document interfaces between new and existing structures.

"UQ have requested this use of scanning technology to create a 3D model especially where we may have the added complexity of working with an existing brick façade.

"Opportunities to combine this with the use of lighter weight timber structures to extend existing building heights in our cities is just one area we see as having potential," Mr Fryer concluded.

The project's Architect, Kim Baber also made the point that this technology goes hand in hand with developments in sophisticated prefabricated timber processing technologies.

"Entire timber structures are designed and prefabricated off site to within a tolerance of 2mm.

"Such high levels of precision in both the scanning of the existing site conditions combined with contemporary prefabrication of both the Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) new building components will significantly increase the reliability and the efficiency of construction," Mr Baber said.

Hyne Timber are currently working on a detailed proposal for government consideration following announcement of the project in June 2017. The company has partnered with other leading companies and organisations including UQ, Hutchinson Builders, XLam and Baber Studio to scope requirements for the project and aim to submit a Detailed Proposal during 2018.

Hyne Timber have been a research partner with The University of Queensland, Centre for Future Timber Structures for many years. The Centre has officially endorsed involvement in the Market Led Proposal, labelling it an 'exemplar project'.

The proposed project also aligns with the Fraser Coast Regional Council's progressive Wood Encouragement Policy, the first Council in Queensland to introduce such a policy at the start of the year.

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