New Civil Defence building uses innovative flooring system


Cupolex, the structural dome flooring system common throughout Europe and the United States for residential, commercial and industrial foundation applications, is being used for the new Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre in the Waitakere City suburb of Henderson.

When asked why they opted for the Cupolex flooring system, Maurice Harris of Harris Foster Consulting, the firm that secured the structural engineering work for the project, cited several reasons.

Obviously, the foundation of a Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre needs to withstand some extreme forces of nature.
“At the same time we had to provide a cost-effective solution for the main contractor,” Mr Harris explains.

The Cupolex dome’s unique shape allows the system to achieve the necessary strength, and reduce the amount of concrete and reinforcing steel required.
The 100% recycled plastic used in the manufacture of the domes was another influencing factor. “It sits nicely with Waitakere City’s focus on environmentally friendly, sustainable building,” Mr Harris adds.

Big difference to bottom line

Because the project is being done for the Waitakere City Council, cost-effectiveness was an important consideration. The council needed to be seen to be using ratepayer money responsibly, without compromising quality. Cupolex delivered on both counts.

Tim Farman from Cupolex points out that the system is easy to install.
“The domes simply interlock to create a self-supporting system that acts as permanent formwork. One hundred and fifty square metres can be laid in just two man-hours, so labour costs are reduced,” he says.

Builders at the Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre site back his claims. They say that laying the Cupolex Domes has been fast and easy, and they’re keen on using the system for future projects.

Freight costs take a tumble

Freight costs took a tumble too. “The components for this floor were delivered on two pallets which equates to minimal freight costs,” Mr Farman says. “And there’s minimal space required to store the components on site.”

He adds that there is zero waste associated with using Cupolex.
The “R”, or thermal resistance, value is twice that of traditional hard fill, calculated at 2.4m2K/W.

Cupolex is a patented Italian design and is manufactured here in New Zealand under license. Since the system’s introduction to this country 18 months ago, growth has been strong.
Cupolex has been used in a variety of commercial and residential buildings, from Oamaru to Doubtless Bay.

For more information, contact Cupolex Building Systems Ltd on 0800 CUPOLEX (287 653), or visit their web site at