e struct news: issue 2

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This issue features a profile of an inverted winged roof seaside residence, an interview with James, our Geotechnical, Energy and Sustainability Manager and an explanation of Land Capability Assessments (LCA). It also reflects on the latest developments in the 6 Star Energy Raters' assessments and shows how the updated AS2870-2011 code for residential slab and footings design incorporates soil reactivity and tree effects into design.



    ONE CHOICE e-struct News

    Merry Christmas from all of us at e-struct News!

    Firstly we would like to thank each

    of you for your lovely feedback

    about our newsletter. We are

    pleased to know that were pre-

    senting you with pertinent issues

    and showing you a little of what

    were achieving as a company.

    Secondly we are delighted to let

    you know that the New Greek

    Orthodox Church The Holy Epiph-

    any is complete, the inauguration

    ceremony has taken place and

    generated such excitement in the


    Wising everyone a safe & happy

    break over Summer. The e-struct

    office will be closed between

    Christmas Day and New Years

    Day. See you in 2015!

    Project Profile: Flinders Rammed Earth Home

    We have supplied not only structural design services, but also soil testing, drainage de-sign and energy rating for this project. The clients have benefitted from the combination of structural, civil, geotechnical and sustaina-bility perspectives.

    We wish the retirees many years of happi-ness in their gorgeous home.

    this issue Project Profile P.1

    Dirt Diggers Corner P.2

    Staff Profile P.2-3

    CPD Report P.2-3

    I S S U E

    D e c e m b e r


    Theres something special about the Mornington

    Peninsula that draws so many to build their

    dream home. This area has a such holiday feel

    that appeals to everyone. So when the opportuni-

    ty to work on this original home arose in beautiful

    Finders, how could we resist fulfilling the design

    brief for two retirees dream home by the sea?

    This original design cleverly combines modern and natural materials resulting in inviting open space. The sweeping lines of the structure form gorgeous curves and contours drawing the eye up to the incredible roof which optimises the feel-ing of light and sky. This elegant home is both welcoming and stunning.

    Using rammed earth in non-load bearing con-struction is gaining popularity, as we seek green-er building materials that are also considered to have excellent thermal properties. The added bonus of using rammed earth aside from the beauty of the subtle layering of the colours and textures in the walls is the flexibility of this materi-al in meeting architectural design outcomes.

  • In primary school, James was the kid in the class-room who wondered how things worked. In high school, he refined his question to How does Maths enable things to work? So he set out to discover how to answer this by studying Mechanical Engineer-ing at Victoria University and he worked in this indus-try for many years for Ford and for BAE Systems.

    Growing up in the Dandenongs within

    earshot of Puffing Billys whistle, James

    was surrounded by lush bush land and

    given a lot of leeway and encouragement

    to explore this amazing environment. Hes

    always been a fan of the outdoors, so

    when the opportunity arose to combine

    this interest with a career at e-struct, i t

    was a win-win outcome.

    Q: What is an LCA? A: A Land Capability Assessment or LCA is a mechanism used to assess the ability for a parcel of land to cope with the effluent pro-duced from human waste. In other words, an LCA assists in working out how much liquid a property can safely absorb from a septic sys-tem. It is used in areas where mains sewer is not available.

    An LCA looks at several factors for assessment including land gradient (slope), rainfall, proximity to water bodies (or courses), soil type and profile & others. This information is then used in finding an appropriate septic design and summarised into a report for use advancing a project towards completion.

    A septic system can be viewed as having two parts. The tank that holds the black water (a combination of solids and liquids from human waste), the tank separates the solids which

    settle to the bottom and the liquids which are then released to the effluent field. This field has sever-al variants but can be summarised as a series of pipes used to disperse the liquids into the soil. An LCA is intended as a guide to the type and size of septic and effluent field required for an individual property. Councils are now beginning to place greater focus on septic design as part of any planned works either new construction or additions to existing builds for both residential and commercial use. The onus is on the owner to meet council requirements.

    It should be noted that an LCA is not necessarily a planning requirement but a health department requirement and will be reviewed by council as part of the building process. To avoid unexpected extra expense part way into the development of your project it is recommended that septic re-quirements be established from the beginning. If in doubt, please call e-struct.

    Staff Profile James Blair,

    Geotechnical, Energy & Sustainability Manager.

    Dirt Diggers CornerWhats the Dirt on LCAs?

    Cont P.3

    6 Star Energy Rating Latest

    Developments Energy Rat ing i s cur -ren t l y goi ng through la rge changes. The Fed-era l & S ta te Govern -ments have mandated the mini mum qual i f i ca -t ions requi red to be a thermal per formance assessor (TP A) , more commonl y known as res -iden t i a l energy ra ter , has i ncreased. Thi s i s a common occurrence fo r many p rofessi ons wi th in the Bui l d ing I ndustry . The b ig d i f ference here is tha t the mi ni mum qual i f i ca t ion i s to be appl i ed re t rospect i vel y .

    What th i s means is tha t a l l cur ren t TP A s wi l l have to upgrade thei r

    qual i f i ca t ions to the new mi ni mum s tandard. Thi s

    new s tandard wi l l be requi red to be achi eved

    by the 1st Ju l y 2015. The cur ren t qual i f i ca t ion

    is a four day course wh ich i ncluded two days on energy ra t i ng theory

    and two days on so f t -ware t ra in i ng . The new mi ni mum level i s now a Cert i f i ca te 4 i n Nathers

    Written By James Blair, Geotechnical, Energy & Sustainability Manager

  • Find Moorooduc Hwy Plan Printing at our

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    Moorooduc Hwy Plan Printing

    AS2870-2011 was the newest revi-

    sion update for the design of residen-

    tial slabs & footings. NCC, Vol 2, Sec.

    3.2.4 references this code and speci-

    fies some new requirements to be


    The new code made some major

    changes to the design of slabs &

    footings which increased their re-

    quired stiffness. The other big change

    not readily known was the major

    changes to soil classifications. The

    introduction of Classes H1 & H2

    (replacing Class H.) The level of as-

    sessed soil reactivity of sites has also


    An example of a typical site classifi-

    cation where the previous revision

    (1996) would classify a site as Class

    M, App. D, Table D1 more likely

    makes the Site to be Class H1.

    The introduction of Appendix H,

    Guide to design footings for trees,

    has provided greater flexibility for

    designing slabs & footings for trees.

    Previously deep bored piers were the

    most used solution for tree effects,

    but the code provides systems that

    allow for more standard footings to be

    used (no bored piers.)

    This revised code has provided a

    more clear cut way of interpreting Soil

    s & dealing with other issues such as



    understand it

    do it

    record it...

    However, as Manufacturing in Victoria presented fewer opportunities for profession-al growth, James looked further afield and like many headed out to Western Aus-tralia, not for a Mining job, but instead surveyed the Pilbara to accommodate for the housing boom caused by the sudden increase in the population of workers. Immersed in ochre soil, he developed a strong interest in Geotechnical Engineering and was offered the role of Soil Tester in 2007 at e-struct, after extensive re-training.

    I am always amazed at the differences in soil within the same suburb and even with-in the same property. Its great being a part of the building process. Its very satisfying to be involved from the initial stages of a project and to watch it de-velop over time.

    If you get to know James, youll see how sustainably he lives. He does not believe in wasting anything and auto-matically considers how the choices he makes impacts the environment. Being an advocate for green living practices, James showed an interest in energy rating and so has undertaken profes-sional development to be-come our expert in this field.

    Working to a 6 star rat-ing is like solving a real-ly tricky equation, frus-trating at times but great when it finally un-ravels. I like the variety my work brings and the balance of office and field work works for me. It keeps life interesting!

    assessment . The d i f fe rence is a 4 day course changed to

    a most l i ke l y s ix month to one year par t - t i me course. The cost for most exi s t ing

    energy ra ters i s between two to three thousand dol l a rs . Thi s i s a b ig cost to most prac t i t ioners who a l so do