Mater Child Care, Brisbane

A creative new use found for Invisi-Gard security screens.

The challenge: create a safe outdoor play space for a child care centre in a multi-storey building.

The solution: replace traditional balcony framing with Invisi-Gard stainless steel security screens.

Our day-to-day lives increasingly involve living and working in multi-storey buildings, meaning the high-rise environment has to be constantly adapted to accommodate a growing range of uses. Providing a safe outdoor play space for a child care centre on the fourth and fifth levels of a building was the challenge faced by the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.

The child care centre needed to incorporate outdoor play area using the only option available – the building’s balconies. The task became identifying the best way to create a securely enclosed space which would provide complete peace of mind for parents and those tasked with looking after the children.

The brief required the centre’s outdoor play areas to be enclosed with a product which would:

  • form a safe barrier which children could not climb or fall through
  • not impede views or natural breezes
  • be low maintenance
  • non corrosive

Easily meeting all of these criteria, Invisi-Gard security screening became the obvious choice for the play area perimeter.

Safety first
As a strong supporter of the ‘Kids don’t fly’ fall prevention initiative, Invisi-Gard was originally developed by Alspec as part of a range of window screening products designed to address the growing concerns of health professionals at the number of children injured in falls from windows and balconies.

Research by the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney found the key factors contributing to falls were: actions by children (climbing or jumping), inadvertent actions by the parents (such as putting furniture adjacent to windows and balustrades) and specific building components (too low railings or flyscreens which gave a false sense of security).

Invisi-Gard security screens addressed these factors by creating a secure barrier which could not be climbed or fallen through. The screen strength comes from the quality of the 316 marine grade mesh combined with an innovative locking system unique to Alspec which holds the mesh in the frame. The product is certified as meeting the Australian Standards for security screen doors and window grilles, which means it has the requisite high quality construction, passes the relevant safety and security tests and is installed in a way which ensures it will resist force and impact.

Visibility and airflow
Unlike traditional balcony fencing options, the high level of transparency offered by Invisi-Gard mesh maximises both light and airflow, providing an exceptional level of clarity and unrestricted views. The mesh is made from high tensile wire, woven using specialised weaving equipment and techniques to produce a more transparent yet stronger result than other types of mesh.

At the Mater child care centre the barrier was created by securing Invisi-Gard mesh within aluminium frames which were then fixed to a structural steel perimeter frame, all at a height sufficient to prevent being climbed. In this application Invisi-Gard screens effectively acts like a tall infill to the balustrade.

Low maintenance
As well as having fall protection and security credentials, Invisi-Gard has fire attenuation properties and is extremely resistant to corrosion. A key factor which differentiates Invisi-Gard from its competitors is its construction from the highest quality 316 Stainless Steel mesh. Known as ‘marine grade’, 316 stainless steel contains molybdenum, a substance which gives the steel a higher level of corrosion protection. Confidence in the durability of Invisi-Gard mesh is shown by Alspec’s 15 year warranty for the product.

Long proven as a popular window screening solution in the residential environment, this new application using Invisi-Gard to enclose an outdoor play area further demonstrates the versatility of this security screening product. And more importantly, while the children get to enjoy outdoor playtime from their new rooftop location, those responsible for them can be confident the children in their care are safe and secure at all times.