When it first opened in August 2012, Brisbane’s Supreme and District Courts, also referred to as the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, featured 45 courtrooms and accompanied 68 judges. It is the largest court complex in the country and spans 19 glass-paned levels of floor space.
According to Director of Capital Works for the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General, Nick Dower, the security and accessibility of these documents is absolutely critical to the dispensation of justice in the state.
Construction of the $570 million complex commenced in October 2008. Unique to the building was its glass design, which according to Queensland judge, chief justice Paul de Jersey reflected the transparency of contemporary justice.
Today, the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts represent a new generation of courtroom aesthetics – one that is marked by high ceilings, openness and abundant light. This starkly contrasts to the craped and enclosed environment of the previous courtrooms.
To complement these new look courtrooms, the Queen Department of Justice enlisted the help of leading storage and materials handling specialist, Dexion to revolutionise what was an outdated storage system. The solution offered by Dexion not only reflected the changing needs of a contemporary courtroom; it also addressed the issue of capacity in future proofing.
Dexion’s solution involved one of the largest installations of Compactus units in the country – a total of 19 automated Dexion Eclipse Compactus and another seven Dexion Mechanical Assist together formed over 3,000 lineal metres of file storage.
Mounted on anti-tilt tracks, this automated high-density mobile storage system is as easy to use as an elevator. With the simple press of a large button, the intelligent carriage system parts at the selected aisle. A red button is pressed to halt the system in case of an emergency. Frequently accessed aisles can be configured into the system for easy entry – this is particularly beneficial when long running court cases require frequent file access.
According to Dexion’s National Sales Manager, Michael Cumner, “Fitted with Dexion Ultima shelving, Eclipse provides the flexibility required. Whilst most of the units store standard sized documents, others need to store oversized evidence such as firearms. We could adjust the height, width and number of bays to suit specific locations.”
The basement, where most of the Court’s storage is located, features a mix of twelve tandem and triple carriage width Eclipse units. To accommodate items of different sizes, each unit contains between 12 and 84 bays of Ultima shelving, spaced over five or six levels per unit. Being a basement, natural light is limited, so the programmable integrated lights turn themselves on as a particular aisle is opened and a person enters. The light then switched off when they exit and the unit is automatically closed. This resource efficient lighting system is an important contributor to the Courts’ 5-star sustainability rating.
The Eclipse also features ‘Works in a Drawer’, which discreetly houses the control centre of the systems technology in the front dress panel allowing easy access for service or programming.
Cumner explained that the safety features of the Eclipse were also vitally important to the department.
“The Eclipse offers significant OH&S benefits to court staff that standard mobile shelving systems do not. The Eclipse’s ‘Aisle Entry Sensors’ provide a closed-loop safety system of light immune photo sweep sensors at waist height on the entry into each aisle. A secondary safety system, ‘Zero Force Sensor’ projects multiple light immune infrared beams across an open aisle to detect any human movement in closing aisles, automatically locking down the Compactus until the aisle is cleared,” explained Cumner.
These sensors, which are installed in mobile shelving installations that span thousands of metres of floor space ensure the safety of all staff utilising the system,” added Cumner.
According to Dexion’s Project Manager, Glen Rider the team encountered some inherent challenges as a result of the sheer scale of the project.
“The task of installing so many units, often up to eleven and twelve stories high, provided the greatest challenge for us. The building had 19 storeys, many with restricted access and strict unloading schedules. With careful planning and effective communication, Dexion worked collaboratively with the Lend Lease team, completing the project on schedule and on budget,” said Rider.