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Cyclone Shelter Release Lowrie

Cyclonic CAT5 Shelter



As northern Australia braces for a forecast ‘above normal’ cyclone season this summer, one of the country’s few cyclone shelter specialists has released a radical new design.

It aims at increasing lives saved and minimising injuries within mining camps and remote regional communities which have been pummeled by the severity of Australia’s cyclones in recent years.

Perth-based shelter and electrical/switch room manufacturing specialist, Lowrie Constructions Limited, says at the heart of the new design approach was to meet upgraded expectations for ensuring workplace safety and health had the highest priority in those remote Australian areas subject to nature’s worst impacts.

“We have entered a new era of employment and industrial regulation which requires contractors, mine owners, and manages of remote communities in our far north, to take full responsibility for a safe workplace and local community environment,” Lowrie Construction’s General Manager, Mr Adrian Poyner, said today.

“The approach of the 2010-2011 cyclone season in northern Australia has coincided with recent landmark court determinations recommending significantly higher standards of safety and shelter for employees on mining sites, during severe adverse weather conditions,” Mr Poyner said.

“There have been fatalities and serious injuries in recent years during the passage inland of cyclones and these losses are a timely if sobering reminder of the dangers of working in these remote and extreme conditions,” he said.

“The edict that ‘every employee has the right to return home from work uninjured’ holds as much relevance today as it has historically – but moreso in our cyclone prone areas from Cairns to the Top End and through to the Pilbara and far north of WA.

“These regions are home to an intensifying number of mining and exploration operations and therefore the number of personnel that have to be located and housed for longer periods ‘on the ground’.”

Mr Poyner said the resources boom had exacerbated the need for much higher capability cyclone shelters as the location of mining personnel on site was increasingly, a 24/7, 12-month a year necessity – regardless of the extremes of Mother Nature.

This had led to the design by Lowrie Constructions - one of Australia's most innovative suppliers of Specialist Transportable Buildings – of the new CAT5 Lock Down Unit.

The ‘CAT5’ nomenclature refers to the ability of the Lowrie shelter to protect those within from cyclones rated up to Category 5 – the worst case scenarios for such storms on Australia’s meteorological barometer.

The CAT5s can protect life for up to 36 hours potentially through extreme conditions to ensure that employees are safe and that site safety has not been compromised.

“Critically, the CAT5 now means that employees do not have to be evacuated hundreds or thousands of kilometres south for days on end – a procedure which historically is matched by high transport costs and loss in productivity,” Mr Poyner said.

“Onground operations can resume almost immediately the cyclone danger has passed, and for project owners, avoids years of costly potential litigation through the courts if injury has occurred through lack of adequate safety shelters.”

Day-to-day shelter use

Lowrie’s CAT5 has been engineered as a Super Structure that can be applied to a range of multi-purpose transportable buildings to withstand the most severe cyclonic conditions but offering adequate protection to personnel remaining on site. The design allows the buildings to be in day to day use for such things as kitchen/lunch/dining/recreation rooms or for classrooms and training centres.

As a cyclone approaches, the sections can be effectively locked down until the danger has passed.

The CAT5 floorplans can house between 25 to 400 personnel and smaller versions can be truck mounted for emergency use by field teams working away from the main site.

Standard shelter specifications include temporary power pack, emergency lighting, basic medical room, kitchen, main seating area, communications hub, toilet facilities, an entertainment area, supply store, water tank and its own air conditioning system.

The Lowrie cyclone accommodation units employ steel plates within the wall structure to resist high level wind loads and wind borne debris and are also designed as a refuge for evacuees from areas which may be inundated by sea water due to cyclone driven tidal surges.


Adrian Poyner Kevin Skinner

General Manager Field Public Relations

Lowrie Constructions 9WA) Pty Ltd (08) 8234 9555

(08) 9459 8855 (0414) 822 631