Form and function - Structural NZ
Form and function

Form and function

Creating a level-entry threshold solution that is both building code compliant and architecturally relevant was a five-year journey for this Kiwi company—but the result was well worth the effort.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

We Kiwis are big fans of indoor-outdoor flow—especially when it’s seamless—and a lot of our architecture reflects this. What you may not know, is that ‘seamless’ takes a lot of work to do properly and there are a whole raft of considerations that need to be resolved to ensure a safe and compliant outcome.

There’s more than aesthetics at stake. Issues of accessibility for people with limited or impaired mobility have also been a factor in the drive towards solutions that enable smooth ingress and egress.

“ThundaFlo was established nine years ago, initially, to provide products for the heavy-duty channel drain sector at locations such as petrol stations, truck stops and warehouses where there are immense loads from trucks and forklifts” says Thundaflo General Manager, John White.

The ThundaFlo E2 has been designed for ease of installation and so that the grating sits free of the building structure while at the same time being able to support very high point loadings such as those exerted by wheelchairs and hand trolleys.

ThundaFlo E2: level entry solution for architectural structures

“Around five years ago we started getting asked to produce a level-entry product that was NZBC-compliant for the residential market.

“While there were existing solutions in the marketplace, they were difficult to install as they required the channel to be formed in concrete prior to the installation of the grating, a two-stage time consuming process, which is also relatively expensive.

“After five years of trial and error, some call it learnings, the result is the ThundaFlo E2 Level Entry Threshold Channel Drain. It is an elegantly simple solution and yet, spending the best part of five years in development, shows just how difficult it was to perfect.

“For example, feedback from architects indicated they would like the drain grating to be discrete, in other words narrow, and this formed a large part of the design criteria, as did ensuring the E2 conforms to NZBC regulations for a fully supported, 200mm-wide channel with a built-in-fall.

Additionally, says John, the inside of the grating needs to sit free of the building structure while at the same time be capable of supporting loads from wheel-chairs and hand trolleys, which exert very high point loadings.

There are two styles of stainless-steel grating to choose from, either wedge wire or laser cut (pictured), depending on the look you want to achieve. The ThundaFlo E2 also comes in various grating widths to accommodate variable building lines.

ThundaFlo E2: versatile design; pedestrian and wheelchair loadings

Several major projects were supplied during 2020 and refinements were made to the system during that time with an official launch at the beginning of 2021 and John says it has been enthusiastically received by the market.

“There are two styles of stainless-steel grating to choose from, either wedge wire or laser cut, depending on the look you want to achieve. E2 incorporates a built-in fall of 1:200 and is available with an inline sump option that can be easily attached to the end of each channel section. Knockouts for side outlets are also available.

“The channel and grating are constructed from stainless steel for strength and durability. We considered offering lower-cost plastic grating. however decided to steer clear due to the risk of UV degradation down track.

“Another key factor for the development of E2 was the need for it to be easy to install onsite, so we’ve ensured a simple, one-step installation process, helping to reduce time spent on site and other associated costs,” says John.

The ThundaFlo E2 Level Entry Threshold Channel Drain comes in various grating widths to accommodate variable building lines. The 3000mm length sections can be easily adjusted on site as the channel sections can be telescoped into each other and the height is adjusted with Thundaflo’s positioning system which is also used extensively on the heavy duty system.

Much of the system is manufactured in New Zealand. While the stainless steel sheet used for E2 comes from overseas, manufacture from that point onwards is in New Zealand, which greatly assists in delivery times.

Learn more about level entry threshold channel drains for residential and commercial applications.

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