Playford Bowling Green Canopy
Location: Elizabeth, SA
Completion Date: April 2018
Size: 5575 sqm
Fabric: PVC Mehler FR900N
Photography: © Drew Lenman | Orange Lane Studios
MakMax Australia was involved with the design, fabrication and installation of Playford Bowling Club canopy, the largest tensile membrane canopy structure over a bowling green in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition to bowls, the venue is also used to host corporate and social events.
The Playford Bowling Club has become a see of blue with the addition of their re-carpeted bowling area, installed in early 2021.
The Playford Bowling Green Canopy design needed to provide a column and obstruction free playing surface, necessitating a large span structure. Structural layouts were optimised based on the best value solution considering installation methodology, fabric design, steel tonnage and foundation size. Parametric design tools were used to run and check multiple structural models and configurations to enable speedy assessment of different options that could be presented to the client for review.
The MakMax Hawksbill Bowling Green Canopy is a sawtooth-style structure, created with inclined parallel arches, braced to each other, utilizing valley cables between the arch pairs to provide the fabric with shape and stability. The arches are supported by perimeter columns; the largest loaded area at the arch-column connections had to be carefully stiffened to ensure adequate load transfer while also anchoring the valley cables.
The structure required significant co-ordination with other contractors (builder, greens installer) working on site over the 12-week program. Both steel and fabric deliveries were coordinated using a just-in-time methodology so that items arrived on site as the install crews were ready for them, in the order they were required. This minimised double handling on site and the requirement for excessive laydown and storage areas. The bulk of the installation occurred in late January and early February when temperatures in Adelaide were extreme – greater than 45 degrees on several days; which necessitated careful planning for fatigue and heat management so that works could be completed safely without compromising productivity.
The size of the structure meant that installation also involved working with larger fabric panels than is usual for a bowls green cover.
The 5575 square metre PVC (Mehler FR900N) Playford Bowling Green Canopy covers a total of 21 rinks (120m length), lit with state-of-the-art LED sports lighting, allowing year-round utilization of the bowling greens, irrespective of the weather conditions.
Mehler FR900N PVC was chosen for Playford due to its excellent top coating, providing longevity of the fabric structure, while still being an economical alternative to other fabrics. PVC coated polyester membrane was the sensible choice, providing a medium design life with excellent self-cleaning properties and a high tensile strength.
All fabrics seams were RF welded, thereby creating ‘structural fabric joints’ to create the large fabric necessary. Closures for the field joints were attached in the factory to reduce the amount of onsite work required and to provide a greater degree of confidence in the weatherproofing of the details.
The choice of material meant that weldability of the PVC material was particularly straightforward. Patterning was undertaken to maximise fabric usage and to minimize weld lengths per area; this project was extremely efficient from a fabric usage perspective and the majority of ‘wasted’ material was used for doublers and flashings on the project.
“The MakMax canopy structure installed over our three bowling greens is of tremendous benefit to our club. During the hot summer months, when the majority of the pennant competition matches are held, our members and visitors are shielded from the direct sun. This not only makes the games more enjoyable, but also protects the bowlers from the potentially damaging effects of UV exposure.
The canopy also allows our club to remain open and programme events year round, without regard to weather conditions. During winter we run very popular twice-weekly social bowls sessions, allowing our members to socialize and enjoy their sport outside of pennant competition. Finally, the MakMax canopy means we are well placed to secure tournaments and championships, especially those held during the spring or autumn months, because events at our venue are not at the mercy of the weather.
We have recently hosted a championship that at short notice had to be moved due to adverse weather and further events are scheduled. We would highly recommend MakMax for any clubs considering erecting a canopy structure over their bowling greens.”
Steve Attridge, President, Playford Bowling Club.