Parliament House is one of the most iconic buildings in Australia. With a forecourt reflecting Australia’s ancient beginnings, an architectural design made to respond to our climate, environment, vegetation, and light levels, and a foyer incorporating the colours of the Australian landscape, it’s as much a functional building as it is a national symbol.

In the interest of preserving its gorgeous design, any changes in the site’s construction needed to be handled with a great deal of care. So when we received a request to install a new ramp, we knew that the project would be a challenge.

The specs
The project’s specifications ramped up the difficulty even further

Firstly, the ramp had to be removable. Not only that, removal had to be easy; should the government decide to split the ramp from the building, it had to be done without any major interventions or modifications at the risk of damaging the building’s features.

Secondly, the railings needed to be welded out of brass, a metal that’s notoriously difficult to weld. It’s extremely dense, and due to its high zinc content, it absorbs heat like nobody’s business.

And thirdly, the railing shape was complex. So instead of just using mandrel bends to support the railing stock and bend it in a couple of places (as is common in railings), the entire railing stock had to be made out of them, making for a difficult weld.

Overcoming the hurdles
Obviously, we didn’t back down from the challenge. Our welders pride themselves on being able to handle anything for a reason. To ensure the brass was up to par and to make removal not damaging to the building, we elected to use partial welding. Our method involved combining mechanical locking with a specialised adhesive.

And while shaping and welding a series of mandrel bends into a full-fledged stock wasn’t easy, our team, through attention to detail, unparalleled expertise, and a great deal of patience, got the job done right.

The results
So, Canberra’s stunning parliament house now has another ramp. One that meshes with the site’s aesthetics and won’t harm its facade. Keep an eye out for it the next time you visit the parliament house.