Hickory – Integrated High-rise Build Systems.
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Modern Construction ProjectHickory – Integrated High-rise Build SystemsModern Construction Projects301159Case StudyDate: 24/04/2017
Modern Construction ProjectHickory – Integrated High-rise Build SystemsIntroductionThe history of Hickory Group goes as far back as 1991 when it was founded by Georgeand Michael Argyrou, 4thgeneration builders who inherited the family business from theirforbearers (Hickory Group n.d., 1). Over the last 26 years, under the stewardship of the twobrothers, the company has experienced exponential growth, shedding its family tag andbecoming a nationally and internationally recognized name in the construction industry.Hickory’s reputation derives from a potent combination of dynamism and innovation that hasenabled it to expand its portfolio to include construction, crane logistics experts, manufacturing,structures, fit out and facades, among other divisions. Its extensive operations demand adedicated and diverse workforce that currently numbers over 550 workers across variousdepartments.Since it handles different projects with varying requirements, the company ensures itdelivers by adopting specific and turnkey approaches to each task. It also collaborates withsuppliers, customers and subcontractors to provide the best solutions to each project. Thecompany’s guiding principle is based on what it callsThe Hickory Way,an internal businessphilosophy that is underpinned by the following concepts: sustainability, safety and quality,social responsibility, inclusivity, innovation, empowerment, loyalty, inspiration, transparencyand mutual respect (Hickory Group n.d., 1). Using this template as a foundation, the organizationhas graduated from a small, family business to one of the leading construction companies inAustralia.Discussion
Modern Construction ProjectHickory Building Systems is the template on which Hickory’s integrated high-riseconstruction method is based. Abbreviated as HBS, it is an advanced structural blueprint thatconsolidates bathrooms, facades, core, shear walls and other components of a building into theskeleton which is then constructed ex-situ and alongside on-site processes (Hickory Group n.d.,1). So, what makes HBS different from conventional techniques? This next section will explainhow and why. One of the major features of HBS that sets it apart from traditional systems is itshigh level of flexibility. For example, it can be used to construct a wide range of high-risebuildings, including hotels, hospitals, apartments and student accommodation centers. Accordingto Hickory Group (n.d., 1), it also improves the efficiency of on-site and off-site buildingprocesses by between 30 and 50% while leveraging safety and quality and reducing energy lossand wastage of materials. In contrast to other mainstream systems that are available in the localmarket, HBS has no design or height limitations; this is exemplified by the fact that it isrecommended in the construction of buildings whose height exceeds 70 stories (Sayigh 2016,24).Proof that Hickory Building Systems eclipses any other construction technique can beseen in the La Trobe Tower, which is not only the first project in which the company hasimplemented its integrated high-rise structural methodology but also the country’s tallestbuilding to be constructed using prefabricated techniques (Build Australia 2016, 1). Thestructure’s first two floors are built using the conventional form and pour approach, while otherstories are constructed using HBS’s integrated structural system in which prefabricated units aretransported to the site and installed from cranes. How is this unique? Well, according to Baljak(2016, 1) instead of the blanket, one-size-fits all technique favored in conventional modularconstruction, HBS employs components that are not only scalable but also interchangeable.
Modern Construction ProjectWhile these components are similar to those used in traditional projects, the dichotomy lies intheir assembly, which is significantly more innovative.Baljak (2016, 1) states that using the company’s renowned building resources thatcomprise joinery, facades, bathroom pods and formwork, HBS has outstripped conventionalstructural construction vis-à-vis quality and precision, with structural tolerances reduced towithin millimeters. The HBS journey starts at the firm’s offsite premises where single structuralunits are fashioned from a predesigned concrete base (Baljak 2016, 1). This is followed byturning of the slab and integration of prefabricated wet parts, building facades and steel columnsin and on top of the steel skeleton. When the structural units have been interlocked to produce acomplete story, it can be topped with additional units as needed.Huang (2016, 29) states that since each HBS component offers immense core strengththat dwarfs traditional units, the structure can be built to a high-rise level without creating anystructural weaknesses. Visual modeling presents the layout of the concrete floors as a pancake,with floors stacked on top of each other and a system of vertical steel providing augmentationbetween each floor (Baljak 2016, 1). The reinforced vertical steel network is descended todovetail with that of the bottom floor, so that when complete the steel cage creates aconventional concrete story and column building, but at a much faster rate and lighter weight, allwithout sacrificing structural integrity.According to Baljak (2016, 1), when pitted against commercial rivals such as theUnitised Building System, which has been deployed in ventures such as One9 and Little HeroApartments, HBS triumphs in terms of delivery and application. For example, although theUnitised Building System is ideal for low-rise buildings, it is not directly congruent with high-