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Case Study: External repaint of a religious icon

As one of the largest religious temples in the Southern Hemisphere, Nan Tien Temple is the religious home to many followers of Buddhism.

Though many Buddhist monks’ worship at the temple, it is also open to the public with thousands flocking to the tourist destination daily. This heritage-listed facility was constructed in 1994 and had received touch-ups since construction, however never a full repaint.

 

The challenge

The impetus for this repaint was the standard of the existing coating system, with inconsistencies plaguing the facility. While there were areas that had benefited from the touch-ups, there was an increasing amount of disharmony in the quality of the coatings around the facility. Discolouration and fading were evident on several surfaces highlighting the need for a full repaint. Our Wollongong team was engaged by the International Buddhist Association of Australia Co-operative Limited to provide this painting overhaul.

At an initial on-site inspection, we performed a condition report and suggested a scope of works. The discolouration permeating the facility was no easy fix, as all colours applied within this place of worship had to adhere to a palette determined by the Buddhist faith. To ensure that our colours were accurate we painted a statue within the temple and provided samples that were sent to Singapore to be independently assessed.

In addition to this challenge, our operations crew had to carefully curate a schedule of works that considered the pedestrian traffic. While working around pedestrians is common for our painters, this project presented a unique difficulty. No access equipment could be utilised while the temple was open to the public, with its opening hours 9 AM – 3 PM, Tuesday to Friday.

 

 

Solution

After having our colour palette approved, we consulted Dulux to determine a coating system that would be best to withstand this facility’s rigours. We applied a three-coat system of various Dulux products to provide protection and consistency to the unique substrates.

Our operations crew hosted weekly meetings to run-through the schedule of works for the upcoming week. Though there were some language barriers throughout, our consistent communication, followed up by emails ensured the temple’s representatives remained up-to-date with the project’s progression.

The access methodology relied heavily upon elevated work platforms including 80 ft booms to safely access all areas of the temple. The bulk of work utilising these devices were completed on Mondays when the temple was not open to the public. To supplement this, our operations team would arrive at 6 AM Tuesday – Friday to perform a couple of hours work at heights before the temple opened to the public.

Similarly, to the colour palette being subjected to religious practices, our operations team performed their day-to-day roles in adherence with Buddhist followings. This included consuming a vegetarian diet while on-site, no music to be played, specific uniform requirements, and the provision of custom religious mesh banners featuring Coy fish as seen below.

While operating on the 80 ft boom, we identified that bird droppings had accumulated and likely led to the deterioration of the previous coating system. At no cost to the customer, we supplied and installed bird spikes to prevent this from recurring in the future.

 

Results

After 12 months with six (6) painters on-site, the project was complete, with the temple left looking rejuvenated. The final product was incredible, with the refreshed temple glowing with its new coating. The opportunity to paint such a monumental structure is not one we will soon forget, and Higgins was proud to have helped maintain another Australian landmark.

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