Jason O’Mahoney explains how the Y-Lift fast-tracks Hebel wall installation
With his father working in the building trade and three brothers who all became builders, Jason O’Mahoney was a natural to establish a career for himself in the industry.
And with that background it is not surprising that as well as going into the construction business, he also acquired a keen ability to recognise quality building products when he came across them.
This was the case with Hebel, with which Jason began his long-term association after completing a building apprenticeship in his home town of Echuca in Victoria.
“When I finished my apprenticeship I came to Melbourne,” he said. “I started working for a developer, supervising the installation of Hebel external and party wall systems in residential units. From that, I realised what a good product it is, and decided I wanted to start my own business using it.”
After discussions with CSR Hebel, Jason did just that, establishing his Hebel installation business, Powerwall Solutions, more than ten years ago.
Specialising in the installation of Hebel party and boundary walls in low rise multi-residential projects, Powerwall works on projects for clients including Mirvac, AVJennings, Henley and Prime Constructions, among others.
Winch system improves speed and efficiency
Hebel panels are well-known to be quick and easy to install, but the work has become even quicker and easier for Powerwall with the Y-Lift which Jason developed. He worked over a number of years to build and refine the system which increases the speed and efficiency with which his work crews can install the Hebel wall panels.
The Y-Lift system, for which CSR has since bought the patent rights, utilises a winch which slides into tracks on a gantry. The Hebel panels are secured and lifted by the winch into the required position from where they can be lowered easily between newly constructed party walls or boundary walls with little physical labour entailed.
As well as facilitating the process, the Y-Lift system saves valuable time compared, for example, with the more traditional method of installing Hebel party walls in low rise multi-residential buildings.
“Without a system like the Y-Lift, you have to build each wall frame, then install the Hebel before building the next frame, and so on,” said Jason. “This means the ‘chippies’ – the carpenters – have to go away after building one frame section while the Hebel is installed, and then come back and do the next frame. The Hebel installers, in their turn, have to come back several times, installing the panels frame by frame as each frame is built.
“With the Y-Lift system, the builder can put the whole frame up without stopping and starting, leaving a cavity for the Hebel panels. We then come in before the roof sheets go on, set the gantry system up and use the winch to place the panels.”
Powerwall crew can install up to 80 panels per day
Without the need for the carpentry and Hebel installation teams to work single frame by frame, productivity on the site increases noticeably.
With the winch lifting and lowering the Hebel panels into the cavity left in the wall frames, a Powerwall crew can install from 60 to 80 panels a day, depending on the job.
“It’s an easier way to do it, and saves a lot of the time consumed by the stop-start method,” Jason said. “It’s also better from an OH&S point of view, because you can let the winch do the lifting.”
Powerwall has 10 Y-Lift units, enabling them to have some always in use while others are undergoing regular services. “When things are really busy we can have up to six working,” Jason said.
After years of working with Hebel, Jason is more than ever convinced that “it’s the best party wall and boundary wall system out there.”
“It can be hard to change a builder’s ways, but I’d like to see more people go for Hebel,” he said. “It has a lot of benefits. It provides excellent acoustics and fire rating, and it puts less weight on the foundations.
“And it’s very easy to install, especially using the Y-Lift which saves costs and gets the work done quickly.”