Brief
Thanks to a recommendation from another client, in 2010 we were approached by ENI Oil & Gas to produce a proposal for a branded sky sign at their new Adelaide Terrace Perth offices. It was identified at that point that ENI would take possession of the new offices at August/September 2011.

The brief was very simple: the client required their sky sign to be on the west-facing side of their building. The sky sign needed to be easily visible and perfectly legible from St Georges Terrace. The sky sign needed to be highly visible at night, and the design had to be in keeping with ENI’s corporate brand style.

Process

Following a careful survey of the area and negotiations with both ENI and the building’s owners, it was agreed that the best possible position for the sky sign would be at the top of the blade feature that is clearly visible from St Georges Terrace. We then created our design proposal for the sky sign based on the structural drawings provided. ENI were very excited by our proposal, and forwarded it to their European head office for final approval. Once we had our approvals in place, we provided quotes for a number of options based on different design and illumination types. At this point we also submitted our proposal to the City Of Perth.

In keeping with ENI’s environmentally and socially conscious ethos, the client selected the option that allowed for the use of materials that could be fully recycled and that also featured energy efficient LED illumination systems.

We then began the sky sign engineering process in keeping with the structural drawings of the building, while at the same time arranging the safest signage installation method. As a matter of course, we also submitted our quality control systems and arranged for the client to inspect our factory ensuring that they were comfortable with the design and manufacturing expectations we had established in our proposal.

The manufacture of the sky sign was completed in four weeks, and we set about preparing for the installation phase. Unfortunately, this was delayed for three months by the builder who was extremely slow in approving both our engineering and our work processes.

Following this delay, we were able to begin the installation phase of the project – a process which involved some of Perth largest lifting equipment for what was planned to be a three to four hour install of the 5.8 metre by 5.8 metre sign. Having implemented our traffic management plan, two lanes of Adelaide Terrace were closed to accommodate the 50m EWP and 80 tonne crane. During the process of setting our holes and commencing drilling, we discovered a shortcut had been taken during the original construction of the blade at the top of the building and that a steel frame had been used for half the construction and concrete for the other half. This was not how the structure was represented in the structural drawings. This issue completely nullified both our engineering and fixing design, and we were left with no option but to abandon the install, pack up all of our plant and equipment and go back and re-engineer the fixing options. To say that the cost of this to us was substantial is somewhat of an understatement.

This set back ended up being a blessing in disguise, as we no longer accepted information provided by others. From that point onwards, we ensured that every piece of information provided by others was double checked and confirmed. It was extremely fortunate that we took this thorough approach as we discovered that a minor gas main did not appear in the Dial Before You Dig information provided by the crane company. This gas main would have been right next to the outrigger points of the 80 tonne crane. This discovery ruled out lifting the sign in one piece from street level to the installation point as we would have had to close down most of Adelaide Terrace at great expense to our client.

As we were in the process of re-engineering the fixing of the sky sign, it was decided that we would need to fix the sign from above. This required us to build a gantry scaffold, disassemble the sign, take it up to the building’s roof via the service elevator and re-build the sky sign in-situ. We were then required to recommence the approvals process with the building managers. Thanks to our rigorous processes and the large amount of detailed information we provided, the building managers approved the concept almost immediately and we were able to proceed as planned with our client’s blessing.

The scaffold was then built and the sky sign was broken down into components and transported to the building’s roof. The installation took only two days to successfully complete.

Outcome
The ENI sky sign is now a Perth CBD icon providing a clearly visible brand focal point for those driving down St Georges Terrace. The client was extremely happy with the end product and we were able to meet every aspect of their brief.

In retrospect, while there were a number of major setbacks in getting the sky sign on the side of the building, we decided it was a stroke of luck that we ran into troubles early on and then implemented a meticulous checking and double checking process. The cost blow out was significant. We decided that as none of the issues that arose were the fault of our client, that we would absorb the cost as an indication of good faith.