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Structurally Sound Balustrade Design for Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau School


Situated between the rapidly expanding Jack’s Point and Hanley’s Farm subdivisions in Queenstown, Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau is a brand-new primary school created to support the region’s growing community. Completed in January 2022, the school opened its doors in February 2022 with capacity for 450 pupils from new entrants through to Year 8 with plans for a total student roll of 900 once all buildings are complete.

This state-of-the-art school has a gym, an administration building, and classrooms for primary and intermediate-aged students. The outdoor area, which is situated at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range, has a sports field, several play areas, a netball court, and outdoor classrooms.


As always, safety is a top priority in educational settings, which means handrails and balustrades must be carefully chosen, designed and installed. Solutions need to be structurally sound and must not compromise on performance or design. As with all Ministry of Education projects, the client wanted assurance for the Hanley’s Farm school development that the end-product
would be fully compliant with the New Zealand Building Code and other relevant New Zealand Standards.

Thanks to the many years of research and development that goes into every pre-designed modular configuration, Moddex’s handrail and balustrade systems are 100% compliant with industry and Ministry standards, which is one of the reasons the architect specified them from the get-go.


Engaging early with Southbase Construction, Moddex drafted the handrails and balustrades from the architectural drawings and visited the site regularly to ensure everything would fit on site for installation and would be compliant once installed. “The key challenge was making sure the design was right for the application,” says Jens Balzat, Project Manager at Southbase Construction. “It was a matter of engaging with Moddex early enough so that they had the chance to do the design and make sure that it was right before we got to construction.”

Moddex’s two-phase design process, which includes Design Intent drawings followed by detailed shop drawings, allowed for early identification of compliance issues. In the early stages of the project, several issues arose relating to the substrate, where the initial installation set out was clashing with the reinforcing, and some last-minute changes relating to mounting and corner details.

With Moddex’s modular, pre-engineered system, these challenges were easy to overcome while still ensuring compliance. Every pre-designed modular configuration in Moddex’s system has been the result of years of study, development, design, and engineering, ensuring full compliance with industry standards and making it suitable for its intended use right out of the box.

“The modular design that they have lends itself to being quite flexible when you actually get to site,” explains Jens, in relation to the intricate corner details that posed issues early on. “We had Moddex on site, and got the majority of the work done, and we did a site measure when they first turned up for those ‘fiddly’ parts and got those parts redone before we left site. We were able to get that resolved quite quickly.

Moddex’s entire process is structured to ensure compliance is met and that any questions are raised at the appropriate time during the process and quickly addressed, saving time and money. To back up their claims, Moddex was also able to supply a PS1 Producer Statement, which assured the client that the product was NZBC F4 compliant prior to job commencement.

Specifying Moddex from the outset reduced ambiguity and ensured compliance throughout the process for all stakeholders, resulting in a solution that delivered on all fronts. “We were very happy with the outcome. We did not have to go back and redo anything, and nothing failed inspections.” says Jens. “Moddex delivers what they say they will deliver, they do what they will do and they turn up when you want them to turn up, resolving solutions as well.”

Builder: Southbase Construction
Architect: CO-STUDIO
Supplier: Moddex NZ

View more information on Moddex, including contact details.
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May 2023 EBOSSNOW Case Studies

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