Innovative Thinking for Traditional Values

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-By Aleisha Parr

Effortlessly blending modern technology with time-honoured building techniques, Rintoul has a corner on the market as one of Australia’s largest and most respected interior construction specialists. As an associate company of construction giant AW Edwards, Rintoul has been servicing the needs of commercial, governmental and private clients for almost fifty years. Through its extensive selection of quality in-house specialist services, the company is able to work with discerning clients throughout the entire build process to create elaborate and unique outcomes.

Established in 1962 as an associated company of AW Edwards, Rintoul set out in the industry with the support of A W Edward sand the potential of an expansive market. As part of the AW Edwards family, Rintoul enjoys a healthy relationship with the building contractor and its subsidiary, Edwards Hydraulics, frequently completing large projects in tandem with the two complementary companies. Over the last fifty years, Rintoul has also distinguished itself on its own merit as a provider of high quality finishes, having catered to some of Australia’s most demanding and highest profile clients. Says Rintoul General Manager, Ben Naylor, “We are an industry leader in terms of our quality and our ability to produce large projects and detailed work.

“Everything we do is virtually in-house; we do our own timber milling, our own veneer pressing, painting and French polishing, our own cutting and our own metal work.” In fact, Rintoul offers its clients a total joinery package, through its 6,000 square metre state of the art production facility located in Seven Hills, Sydney. In order to allow for so many separate and specialised techniques to each be conducted in controlled environments, the facility has been divided into six areas: timber milling, timber veneering, joinery, metalwork, painting and glazing. Each of these distinct areas is closely supervised and serviced with exceptionally talented and well-trained specialist staff.

Beyond the standard staff consisting of a General Manager, Production Manager and Office Administrative staff, the company also maintains a diverse roster of skilled workers. “We employ two estimators, a 3D CAD software operator, metal workers, our own timber machinists, joiners, cabinet makers, French polishers and apprentices and carpenters for site installations.” Mr Naylor says the staff is more like a family, working closely together and with many employees having been with the company in excess of twenty-five years.

“We’re a long-term employer and we value our employees and stick with our employees.” This level of support for staff has manifested itself in extensive opportunities for training and skills upgrading, helping to ensure that not only are each of Rintoul’s projects afforded the utmost in heritage level quality and craftsmanship, but also enjoy the latest advancements in technology. “Rintoul’s ongoing investment in technology means the facility is home to a host of machinery and operating equipment that is second to none. Our team of tradespeople work on a range of projects at all levels of scale and complexity… nothing is too big, too detailed or too complex for the Rintoul team.”

The company prides itself on its innovative approach to construction, which is especially important on some of the more complicated heritage projects which Rintoul prefers to take on. While the fine art of hand-tooled craftsmanship is slowly making its exit in an industry where many such skilled workers are reaching retirement, Rintoul’s long history through AW Edwards has kept many of those traditions alive at the company. However, as our society advances, so too do our needs, requiring new perspectives for old constructions. Rintoul has invested in cutting-edge technology to ensure the cohesive and complementary merging of its time-honoured techniques with modern advances in building technology.

“Innovative thinking is to do with the way we process jobs,” explains Mr Naylor. “We use unique 3D software so we actually model a job in 3D so it can be visualised before it is built. So the innovative thinking is in the way we plan a job, the way we operate a job so that an architect can actually see the job finished as a 3D image on the screen rather than as a 2D image on paper.”

This unique approach recently brought much acclaim to Rintoul and its team for its extraordinary work on The Concourse, an historic centre for the performing arts, community celebrations and civic ceremonies. The project involved a number of distinct areas including the concert hall and concert hall foyer, theatre and theatre foyer, library, and civic pavilion. While the entire project was a standout for the company, with stunning finishes and dramatic flourishes, the Concert Hall is perhaps the stand-out element. Says Mr Naylor, “There are very few companies in Australia who would be able to complete this element of the project.”

The Concert Hall is inspired by traditional European theatres and offers two levels of seating within an intimate but grand setting. All of the walls had to be constructed as well as their panels, which are a mixture of straight, curved or waved American Rock Maple veneer. Comprised of a pancake system, the panels are each either 300 or 600 millimetres in height, with each veneer piece perfectly aligned and centred within the panels. As a design and construct project, the Concert Hall required a significant amount of creative input from the Rintoul team, including acoustic wall design and construction as well as the integral balustrade construction, which were also a part of the wall construction. The entire project was designed and developed through Rintoul’s 3D software process over a year long period.

“It’s just unique – these jobs come in only once every twenty or thirty years, these sorts of designs are not around every year or two years,” Mr Naylor explains with a note of awe in his voice. “It’s like building the opera house, they only build that once.”

The project has been nominated for two prestigious awards, the Australian Timber Award and the Master Builders’ Association award for Best Use of Timber.

Looking to the future, Ben Naylor says that while the company likely won’t be seeing another project as extraordinary as The Concourse for some time, Rintoul will continue to work on its characteristically grand projects, taking full advantage of its reputation for excellence and its massive specialty facilities. While the industry will continue to be competitive, the niche carved out by Rintoul should ensure its continued success into the next fifty years.

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

June 1, 2020, 6:08 AM AEST