Constructing the Mercedes Benz of buildings with a little help from Fielders SlimDek 210®

Mercedes Benz’s three-pointed star is synonymous with quality engineering, luxury and prestige, and has been for generations, so it stands to reason that a building bearing this logo should also be at the forefront, not only in terms of its design, but in the standard of services it provides existing and prospective Mercedes Benz owners.

Mercedes Benz Autohaus in Newstead, Queensland, is a building that’s definitely worthy of its silver Mercedes Benz signage. From its prime position overlooking the revitalised Breakfast Creek Wharf precinct, the five storey structure is an architectural landmark for the area. The building also has the honour of housing the brand’s first ‘Autohaus’ in Australia – the Autohaus tag is reserved for Mercedes Benz’s benchmark dealerships and incorporates a variety of additional facilities and experiences.

Along with the sales and servicing infrastructure you’d expect from a premium car dealership, the Newstead development also features a customer care lounge, an automotive museum, expansive showrooms, staff training facilities, various shops and cafes, a rooftop restaurant, dinning and function area as well as a garden pavilion.

The $110 million project was carefully designed with a complex architectural vision that combines glazing, steel, aluminium composite panels and off form concrete as key materials, with all finishes executed to an extremely high level. The site has car parking for 192 vehicles and with showrooms located on levels three and four, there’s also a car lift within.

Over 21,000m² of Fielders KingFlor® SlimDek 210® composite steel formwork was used on the project, delivering engineers Projex Partners and builder, John Holland Group, considerable advantages, according to Fielders National Engineering Manager, Marko Stankovic.

“The unique trapezoidal shape and deep rib geometry of the SlimDek 210® profile enables large unpropped spans up-to seven meters to be achieved. This is a game changer, as no back-propping enables immediate fit-out of floors below the day after concrete is poured,” Marko said.

“In this project, SlimDek 210® spanned fully unpropped between precast, prestressed concrete shells that were used as part of a post-tensioned band-beam system. The unpropped capability of SlimDek 210® improved speed of construction, removing the traditional labour intensive and time-consuming process of propping and stripping formwork required for concrete pours. From a safety and accessibility perspective, the worksite is also significantly cleaner and uncluttered.”

Marko said that using SlimDek 210® also significantly reduced the amount of concrete required in the construction of the building.

“A lot less concrete volume is required in the slab when using SlimDek® – up to 60 per cent less than alternative formwork products; this not only saves in concrete costs but results in a lighter overall structure which has flow-on savings in columns, foundations and lateral stability systems,” he said.

To help achieve this outcome, SlimDek 210® features Fielders’ proprietary ReLok® Technology. ReLok® is a unique corner embossment system that creates a mechanical interlock with concrete slabs, ensuring a strong mechanical bonding between metal and concrete; it also means less steel reinforcement is needed in the slab. On some floors, the attractive finish of SlimDek 210® saw the material left exposed as a painted soffit.

Aside from supplying the SlimDek 210® product itself, the Fielders team provided an important support function, according to Marko.

“As one of our service offerings, shop drawings were prepared by Fielders and enabled all SlimDek 210® sheets to be pre-cut to the right length. This significantly reduced the need for site cutting with angle grinders, resulting in considerably less waste and clutter than traditional formwork methods. This resulted in improved safety outcomes and less bins on site.” Marko said.

“Additionally, the Fielders team was instrumental in the design coordination process. All SlimDek 210® sheets were shop-drawn in Revit (Building Information Modelling software) and fully coordinated with the other disciplines such as structural, architectural, mechanical, hydraulic and other services. Our free engineering advisory service extended through the construction phase too, where our experts were regularly on site assisting the deck installer with installation queries and providing on-going support to the builder.”

To see the completed Mercedes Benz Autohaus, visit 194 Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead, Queensland.