When Scaff Becomes Steps
As part of a $150 million government plan to improve access to six key Western Sydney railway stations, Penrith Station is undergoing works.
Ironically, performing these works created a temporary yet inconvenient scenario: a loss of accessibility. While the original stairs were removed, and new stairs and elevator facilities are being built, contractor Laing O Rourke identified the need for pedestrian commuters to continue to access the station whilst normal timetable services rolled on. And locals also use the station’s footbridge to access nearby Smith’s Paddock for leisure, from the shopping precinct side.
Not just merely maintaining public access, Laing O Rourke’s brief was to provide temporary elevated access, pedestrian detouring and safety measures that made the public comfortable, with the feeling of accessing genuine stairs.
Sydney scaffolding and height access provider, SafeSmart Access, were commissioned to the job due to previous engagement and the possession of a variety of componentry that would work together to create the solution.
SafeSmart’s own steel scaffolding system, ProScaf, was chosen as the main structure, due to its flexibility and ease of integration with other products, such as childproof handrails, stair nosing, TacTiles and anti-slip tape products. Marine ply was also used, as a tough, low-noise and waterproof construction material for stair treads.
The result was an effective temporary staircase that you had to look twice at to realise it was indeed temporary; perfect integration into the station’s aesthetic, even during construction.
SafeSmart’s Nathan Joyce is confident that the solution will be applied to the other five stations on the Main Western Line, as Laing O Rourke were pleased with the results.
“The station was able to continue as normal for most of the project,” says Nathan, “and commuters had no misgivings about using the stairs. No movement, and safe, even in poor weather conditions.”