How Active Air Took On Queensland’s Biggest Ever Temporary Climate Control Project

Commonwealth Games 2018


Our extensive range of large-scale chillers, including several 750 kW chillers, were utilised along with our air handlers and high-quality fabric ducting.


The solution we designed also required power generation and electrical distribution.

End To End Solution

Our team provided a complete end-to-end solution; from the initial design overseen by our qualified engineers, through to management of delivery, installation, monitoring, and pack-down of equipment.

Qualified Staff

Our qualified in-house engineers were able to design a solution to meet the requirements…

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.

  • “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. Thanks again and all the very best for the future.”
    Peter Viles
    Mechanical Services Lead, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC)

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 Shane.

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

An end-to-end 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.

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