Cook Medical Tension Structure


Cook Medical, a manufacturer and distributor of medical devices, needed to expand their operations beyond their warehouse into the carpark. Versatile Structures were tasked with designing and building the structure. We had to ensure that the new structure would free up space, eliminate congestion, and maintain the critical access points for maintenance contractors and mechanical servicing.

Designing a workable geometry was a critical challenge for the Versatile Structures team. The existing geometry challenges of the building and access points for maintenance contractors and mechanical servicing had to be maintained. The team had to work within a fixed maximum height and base level geometry, limited scope for column-clear accessibility, existing cantilevered awning, and existing structure connections. We also had to align column locations and the upper-level superstructure to existing carpark line markings to enable useability of the space. The design called for a slight curve on the front edge beam to maximize water shed and fabric stability while also bolstering structural integrity.

Checking the design was correct was another key project planning component. The team decided to do a complete set out of the structure on site before manufacture to ensure all calculations were on point. They spent 10 hours on site setting all the points and running numerous checks. A couple of minor discrepancies were uncovered based on the tilt panel rise and fall, and an unfactored earthing rod that was impacting a plate. The team modified the design prior to fabrication to avoid any issues on site.

Fabricating the steelwork itself was a challenging task for Versatile Structures as the steelwork design was so customized and large that they couldn't assemble it fully in the workshop. They set datums on the fabrication floor along with R.L’s and erected the structure in segments, checking and adjusting plates, factoring the minor rolling deformations that occur with large RHS sections and meticulously checking every measurement, plate orientation, and angle.

Planning was paramount before commencing installation as the team was working for a large multinational client. They had to work out a site plan that would allow access for emergency deliveries to occur, and staff to be able to get to and from work with a limited number of carparks available. Steel deliveries were set to times where there was no potential impact and stored in an appropriate order to allow a streamlined install for the following day. Due to the planning, the steelwork was installed completely within 7 hours on site. All pieces were connected without the need for rigging gear to pull pieces into position. The largest member, the front edge beam 250SHS 18m Long, was lifted into place with less than a 2mm deviation from the columns set position. The fabric installation was also successful, utilizing multiple fabric panels due to the tensioning methods and abrupt changes in geometry required on the Eastern Aspect.

In conclusion, the Versatile Structures team's experience and expertise in design, fabrication, and installation helped to create a successful steel structure for Cook Medical's expansion project. They overcame the challenges of a peculiar shaped outdoor area, underground services running every which way, limited workable geometry, and fabrication of customized steelwork. Their attention to detail and careful planning ensured that the installation was completed within the specified timeframe and with the highest level of safety.