The rear access from 533 St Kilda Road to Alfred Hospital was in need of a new access ramp and stairs. The previous timber had rotted and had become unsafe for wheelchair access. Harris HMC Constructions won the tender to build the access route, and Perg Dek the chosen builder.
Given patients and others requiring wheel chair access used the path daily, safety was a key requirement. The architects, GHD Architects specified a minimum slip resistance of P5/R12 (wet surfaces). This meant that the timber in combination with the chosen timber treatment oil needed to pass this requirement. Glenn Buttie, builder, Perg Dek advocated and educated the architects on Cumaru, a timber he now prefers to other hardwoods for its durability, workability and also aesthetics. Importantly, after testing and advice from Porta, Cumaru was found to be suitable for Bare Feet / Wet Area application Raw or with CuTek CD50 coating, ideal for this project building a landing, stair treads and ramp steepers. Glenn especially liked the grain of the timber, its density compares more favorably than other Australian hardwoods.
Solution – Hard wearing & Attractive Access
The result is an attractive and sturdy access ramp and stairs for doctors, patients and employees between the buildings. Glenn, who now promotes this timber to his customers found Cumaru to be a timber that “cuts well, drills well, had no leeching and no shrinkage”, uncommon in other timbers such as Merbau that leeches which he has used before. The price of Cumaru, given its strength was also preferred. Glenn also experienced no splintering, and drills well when using counter sunk nails.
The project used a combination of posts, handrails and decking, total of approx. 300 lin m. The wider and deeper decking boards, 145 x 21mm were chosen to achieve an attractive finish as well as being more sturdy underfoot. It is an unusual dimension compared to the typical 19mm or 32mm thickness often used in Spotted Gum and Merbau. Glenn shared that whilst Spotted Gum is popular supply is drying up and experiences splintering.
Glenn’s tip for users of this timber are to pre-oil the timber before installing, and pre-drill with counter sunk nails, as he does with all the Australian hardwoods.