GLASS REINFORCED CONCRETE
Charles Rickard learnt his GRC expertise originally with Dr David Hannant at Surrey University 1970-1975. On establishing Rickard and Partners in Australia in 1984, GRC quickly became a word synonymous with him. He was technical secretary to the Cement and Concrete Association in the nineties when he wrote the Australian Code of Practice for GRC. In 1987 he ran a GRC Plant in Texas USA building facade panels for a variety of jobs such as the San Antonio Marriott Hotel.
Charles became known as ‘Mr. Big’. The Big Ram, Goulburn NSW in 1985 was followed by the Prawn in Ballina (87) and Oyster in Taree (also 87). In the 90’s he designed the entire 37m high Merlion structure for Sentosa Island, Singapore. He also did a full size dry land replica of Sir Stamford Raffles’s ship for Pulau Ubin Outward Bound School. In 1998-99 the Body Zone for the London Millennium Dome followed.
The technology used has evolved enormously since the Big Ram in 1985. These days, computer surveying allows accuracy to within 10mm for any given model. We are able to create a 3D model of a small scale sculptured object and then recreate to an enlarged scale.
GRC has a wide range of uses. Charles has played a role in all of them. Here in Sydney, Mascot Engineering build a range of drainage chambers based on his original 1980 analysis. In the late 80’s he designed GRC sandwich panels for James Hardy for the sound barriers on the Warringah Freeway. For 140 Sussex St, Sydney the GRC panels encapsulated marble facing, a skill he learnt while working in the States. In 2003 he designed a free standing covered walkway, entirely built in GRC, for the Queens University in Doha, Qatar. The steel frame technology developed originally by Lafayette in Chicago, USA has been used by Charles on a number of projects both in Australia but also in the Middle East. A notable example is the Rialto Tower forecourt in Melbourne.
Many contractors prefer to avoid the cost of structural steel and design their panels with only GRC Rib Stiffeners. Charles pioneered the use of incorporating continuous glass filament to improve strength for projects such as Royal Prince Alfred Medical Center in Sydney and also Science Technology Park in Doha, Qatar.
Charles is a consultant Independent of any GRC manufacturing organisation. He offers a full design service anywhere in the world. He enjoys Australian and British chartered status which facilitates that service.