Precast concrete was the go-to product to provide speed of installation, low maintenance and long-term durability for the Oaks Retirement Village, recently completed by Kalmar Construction in Warkworth. However, the ground conditions, consisting of colluvial and alluvial soil over shattered rock with an abundance of water, meant that standard precast cladding panels were too heavy for proposed steel-framed structure.
Brown Day Architects specified Litecrete lightweight precast for the 400-odd precast cladding panels and working in conjunction with Morconsult Structural Engineers, realised a deadload reduction of 340 tonnes compared to using standard precast concrete. The 150mm thick panels for the two 5-storey buildings generally featured simple horizontal and vertical surface rebates.
The ground-floor retail shop-front panels had added character with the use of coffered rebates. The 21 planter boxes attached at the first-floor level were also manufactured with Litecrete. There is an underground carpark which can be accessed from both buildings.
A further stage of the development will be the refurbishment of the historic hotel on the Queen Street side of the site, which will include a small courtyard and barbecue area at the rear.