Having provided climate control solutions for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Active Air Rentals was called upon once again to assist with the 2018 games in the Gold Coast; in what would become the single largest temporary climate control project ever undertaken in Queensland, and the second largest in the whole of Australia.
A project of this magnitude required a team with experience as well as access to a wide range of climate control and power equipment, and the flexibility to get the work done regardless of any obstacles.
“We had the same team working on the 2018 games that had previously worked on the 2006 games,” explained Active Air Rentals Director, Shane Hardey, who himself was part of the 2006 project team. “What makes us unique is that we have an extensive range of both climate control and power equipment – more than most may realise – as well as highly experienced staff. Yet we’re agile enough to work within an event’s ever-changing schedule. We like to say ‘we’re big enough to take on any sized project, but we’re small enough to be flexible,’ and that was really highlighted with the Commonwealth Games.”
The project took over 12 months and countless meetings with the games organisers to complete. Providing a complete turnkey service meant not only planning and designing a solution, but also installing and commissioning the equipment, and maintaining the equipment throughout the event.
“We provided both climate control and power solutions, so planning upfront was key. With so many moving parts and the critical nature of the event, there was no room for error,” said Shane.
The project required over 50 individual pieces of equipment (not including ducting, fitting, or any other ancillary items) and over 20 staff and contractors from start to finish.
Designing the Solution
Designing a solution was no easy feat. Working with the existing structure of the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre – a building which stands at 150 m long by 80 m wide and a height of 20 m – presented its fair share of obstacles. For example, the ducting had to be suspended 18 m off the ground not to obstruct the lighting truss system. Adding to this was the need to provide climate control without disrupting the athletes’ performances.
“The last thing you want is a draught impacting a sport like rhythmic gymnastics with their ribbons and need for precision,” explained Jonathan Towe, Active Air Rentals Project Manager.
State-of-the-art 3D modelling was used to map out potential air velocities within the space. Working with a European company, we were able to provide a visual representation of air velocities falling off as the distance from the duct increased. The model was used to design the perforations and consider the effect of cooling performance versus draughts.
Our in-house staff of engineers, project managers, and technicians used this information to set up the airflow and duct inflation exactly as outlined to meet the design parameters. This required specially manufactured air handlers to be built which could be configured to top or side discharge, provide high-static output, and had a capacity control built-in.
Determining the Equipment and Capacity Requirements
To accommodate the immense size of the structure, three sets of equipment were required to serve as the primary source of air distribution; each set consisted of a 750 kW chiller and two 350 kW air handlers.
With such a vast number of people occupying the venue, a large volume of fresh air was crucial to meet Australian Standard 1668-2. This required additional 150 kW air handlers to be introduced in each set to pre-cool fresh air before it hit the primary air handlers. With high humidity and temperatures expected, an additional 200 kW chiller was set up to service the pre-coolers and provide additional redundancy.
A total of 15 ducts were installed to distribute the air evenly throughout the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre; this resulted in 1.5 km of duct being used in the building. To keep the weight under control, fabric was used along with 18 m risers which required specially designed air handlers to inflate correctly.
The Athletes Village dining and kitchen areas
When it came to the Athletes Village, the ducting was replicated on a slightly smaller scale; the key difference being the ceilings which were significantly lower.
“We used the same air-flow modeling to design a high volume, low-velocity fabric ducting system that would evenly distribute the air in a cafeteria area the size of a supermarket,” explained Shane. “Unlike the Coomera Centre, we were not able to bring ducts into the building at regular intervals to distribute the air evenly. Instead, we had to use a complex fabric duct layout that included 90-degree bends and tee pieces. The three 300 kW air handlers were serviced by two chillers and plumbed into a common header to provide up to 70 percent redundancy, and the temperature was controlled using remote three-way valves on the air handlers.”
The joining kitchen area was serviced by a selection of packaged units and more traditional ducting. In total, close to 1500 kW of cooling capacity was used in the area.
A turnkey solution means fewer headaches for the project managers
From a project management perspective, the Commonwealth Games provided a multitude of logistical, regulatory, and timing challenges. With a critical path program set procedures as well as strict OH&S processes and paperwork requirements, to tier one contractor requirements.
“It was a challenge from the start to deliver a fully designed system of this size within games timelines, meet all state regulations, and work within the existing building structure,” said Peter Viles, Mechanical Services Lead for GOLDOC, “but the professionalism shown as we progressed through the processes is a testimonial to the great effort of the Active Air team.”
An often overlooked aspect of designing a solution of this type is the aesthetics. “This is an area where our attention to detail really shines through,” explained Brad Sweeny, Active Air Rentals Director. “Most other suppliers don’t put as much care into how their equipment is laid out and the aesthetical impact it can have on an event. The solution doesn’t just have to be functional; it needs to look good as well. The last thing you want is visitors to be greeted by a huge mess of equipment and cables.”
As with any major project, timelines were fluid with bump in and out deadlines being brought forward on a number of occasions. Flexibility and forward planning meant that equipment was on standby and ready to go as soon as the green light was given.
“We love the challenge of a large scale event, and we’re extremely proud of the job our team did with the Commonwealth Games and the feedback we have received from everyone involved,” said Shane.
If you’re after a climate control and power solution for your event, speak to us today to find out how we can help. Contact your closest Active Air branch today.
“I just wanted to put on record our appreciation at GOLDOC for the outstanding work carried out by Active Air at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. The temporary air conditioning solutions that Active Air provided us with were fantastic. Both yourselves and your team performed exceptionally and gave us a great product that we were very happy with.
On more of a project level, Fred and I worked together for the past year and the only feedback I have is incredibly positive. Fred helped us not only with his expertise and knowledge of temporary air conditioning, but with his hands on, friendly, honest, reactive and “whatever the client needs, we can do” attitude. Honestly, we have said it numerous times within our organisation that Active Air were an absolute pleasure to work with. We always felt that we could rely on Active Air to help us with any sort of issue, no matter how urgent it was- and Fred was key to this. I have enjoyed getting to know Fred and Active Air as an organisation on a professional and a personal level. I believe that Active Air would be an asset to any event in the future, large or small, and I would wholeheartedly recommend your services for any event organisers in the future. I hope I can work with Active Air again in the future.”
Ed Cappellina, Contracts Services Lead, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC)
“Would just like to give you guy a great big THANK YOU for the great efforts on delivering a successful Temporary Climate Control System for those big venues of the Commonwealth Games. It was a challenge from the start to design and deliver within those strict Games and State regulations, time and access restraints but the professionalism shown as we progressed through the processes is a testimonial to the great effort of the Active Airs Team. We can now only reflect on the great work that has been done and as we go onto new tasks and Projects. Thanks again and all the very best for the future.”
Peter Viles, Mechanical Services Lead, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC)