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Cabramatta Bowls Club
Cabramatta Bowls Club

Cabramatta Bowls Club


LSAA 2013 Design Award Entry (#4301): Cabramatta Bowls Club

Entrant: MakMax Australia

  • Category: 4 ID Number:  4301

  • Location: Fairfield Rd, Cabramatta NSW

  • Client: Paynter Dixon Constructions Pty Ltd

  • Completion Date: October 2011

APPLICATION OF PROJECT: Long span sporting arena roof.


Sun safety in sport is a growing concern across all sectors of our community. Providing a playing surface protected from harmful sun is vital to the continuity of some sports. The sport of lawn bowls in particular have realised this is especially true for their aging demographic and shrinking membership.



Our client requested a sustainable solution to a host of issues threatening membership and revenue at their bowling club. The Sydney based club like many other lawn bowls clubs faced dwindling membership due to sun exposure and the reliance on games only being played during the day, rained out games, high cost of green maintenance and the inability to host night events.

Environmental savings are made in the cost to maintain the covered space, because Sheerfill II PTFE transmits approximately 16% of natural day light the interior space does not need to be artificially lit. Complementing the use of natural light is the shape of supporting steel. The tri-chord truss design allows for easy mounts of lights for night time use. These lights are mounted to project vertically onto the membrane roof’s underside. The natural reflective properties of PTFE membrane allows evenly disrupted light to fall on the playing surface.


Our team of engineers and along with the national association for lawn bowls devised a green cover package that alleviates many of the core problems facing the sport of lawn bowls at a club level. By packaging the tensile membrane roofing product with synthetic greens and lights for night play, we’ve created a multiuse facility that serves in increase the use and validity of these existing community spaces.

Benefits include:

  • 24 hour venue, ready for use day and night

  • guaranteed play – rain hail or shine

  • Low running costs as opposed to a steel roof, no daytime lighting or air-conditioning required.

  • Community integration – opening the club to funding and activity opportunity through the wider public.

  • Increased revenue through added membership, no lost games, and added corporate and night functions.

  • Specialised stain resistant coatings on the fabric means this cover will stay white and bright for decades to come.

Some of the challenges faced while designing and installing this 2,000sqm PTFE structure over one bowling green included space: Traditionally a bowling green butts up to the boundary of a club’s allotted land with little room to spare. This meant our engineers needed to pin point the position of footings and services in order to fully cover the green. Also special consideration during installation of these tight footings meant some access equipment needed to be operated from the street, adding traffic control to the list of site specific challenges. Overall the installation of the PTFE roof with specialised stain resistant coatings went without incident, other greens situated next to the work site were unaffected, the club was able to operate as usual without lost time or revenue.


The fabric for Cabramatta Bowling Club was chosen by MakMax engineers. Saint Gobain’s Sheerfill V(5) PTFE membrane was decided upon for its high tensile properties, long life span, as well as low maintenance. MakMax sourced this material from Saint Gobain via an internal purchasing department.

Environmental savings are made in the cost to maintain the covered space, because Sheerfill II PTFE transmits approximately 16% of natural day light the interior space does not need to be artificially lit.


Prior to patterning a biaxial stretch test was performed on the batch of fabric used on this project. By analyzing the data retrieved from the fabric’s reaction to tension along both the weft and warp of the weave MakMax engineers were able to design the shape of the structure as a whole ensuring optimal tension and strength in all parts of the membrane. Without this process and the data it produced there is no guarantee that the fabric component of the tensile membrane structure is being accurately patterned to suit the fabrics tensile parameters and supporting steelwork tolerances. The process of testing tensile strength in fabric in house at MakMax is part of the ISO 14001 Quality certification.

Due to the tight time frame and large panel areas MakMax required a larger fabrication facility than was available at the Brisbane head office. For this reason MakMax called upon the Japanese arm of the global business, Taiyo Kogyo Corporation. The entire fabric areas was fabricated in Mizuho Japan and shipped to Queensland for quick a standard quality assurance procedure. From the membrane made it to site at Cabramatta for installation.


MakMax was involved in collaboration between multiple disciplines during the design and construction stage of this project. At the earliest instance MakMax and Board members of Cabramatta Bowling Club discussed the possibilities of fabric types and installation methods. Further into the construction process MakMax was involved in liaising with synthetic greens supplier regarding the parameters of steel installation in relation to the tolerances of the playing surface. Dealings with Hydraulic engineers regarding the underground drainage system and plumbing contractors was conducted.

The maintenance schedule at Cabramatta Bowls Club consists of a 6 point inspection and cleaning plan to be carried out every two years. From 2020 the inspection period will extend to every 3 years.

One inspection will encompass the following areas:

  • Membrane tension

  • Function and quality of the bracing cables

  • Quality and condition of fabric edge clamps

  • Damage by alien influence, vandalism, use foreign to function

  • Seam bond stability 

  • Heavy build up on the surface (dead leaves, insects etc.)

  • Cleaning will then take place as per the requirements of the Sheerfill II PTFE membrane.


Our client is ecstatic with the result. The club has implemented a new training programme, using the new green facilities as a platform for guaranteed sessions and revenue. The club has also been able to attract some of the world’s top bowlers to represent them in completion because of the progressive image and variety of playing environments the venue now has to offer. MakMax is interested in providing a full service to clubs through the improvement of facilities. We actively engage with sporting clubs and organisations that include MakMax products in their facilities by attending charity events, tournaments, and providing sponsorship to said clubs during events and celebrations.


  • Structural Engineer: Xiang Du, Fabspan

  • Builder: Paynter Dixon Constructions Pty Ltd

  • Fabricator: MakMax Australia

  • Installer: SydRig

  • Steelwork: Steelman