The Vipac Difference – Wind Loads & Effects on Buildings
Channel 9 News recently interviewed Vipac to highlight the importance of Wind Engineering as buildings get taller and conditions windier. Click here to watch the footage. Vipac is recognised as a voice of authority and an industry leader for a multitude of reasons, including:
- Vipac was the first to implement the Force Balance Method (FBM) in Australia.
- When Vipac’s first wind tunnel was established, it was the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Our state-of-the-art facilities include two open-circuit boundary layer wind tunnels, a full scale field testing site and an onsite Model and Fabrication Centre.
- Vipac’s in-house laboratories, wind tunnels, acoustic and climatic chambers, solar simulators and vibration equipment enable our engineers to prototype, model and fabricate customised elements. This enables the testing of unusual materials to prove their feasibility to clients and value-add to projects.
- We can test wind conditions of severe hurricane zones, such as the northern region of Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
- We are a member of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
- Vipac is quite possibly the only facility with acoustics and vibration consultants on the same site as our wind tunnel, as well as full scale façade testing capabilities. This enables us to adopt an holistic approach to engineering, enabling one point of contact for our customers.
Our name stems from the words: VIbrations, Pressure and ACoustics. We have 30+ years of wind tunnel and 40+ years of engineering dynamics experience. Our projects have ranged from Hobart to Hong Kong, and Christchurch to Cairo. Some of these buildings had structural loads assessments, while others received predicted dynamic response analyses.
Why do you need to test?
The Building Codes are inherently conservative, as we all wish them to be. Application of the Code Based pressures in a building cladding design often results in a façade that is stiffer and heavier than it needs to be, if we were considering the wind resistance alone. Extrusion wall thickness and glass thicknesses can be tuned and material savings made. For example, on a building in Sydney savings were near A$1M. At Vipac, we have two Wind Tunnels (2mx3m and 4mx4m working cross-sections) and a variety of sophisticated computer programs.