Lightweight and easy to move around
Strong and dimensionally accurate
Fast and efficient installation
Impressive strength-to-weight ratio
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The Block 2019: Skylights | Steel Framing Case Study

The skylights know no limits on The Block 2019

While the contestants have been busy transforming The Oslo into five luxury townhouses, behind the scenes a team of seasoned suppliers and partners have been quietly working away on creating architectural skylight modules using frames made from TRUECORE® steel.  

Early on this season The Block architect, Julian Brenchley was concerned that not enough light was going to get down to the lower levels where the main kitchens are located. The original plans had allowed for a skylight void of 1.2m x 1.6m, but after a meeting with VELUX® Australia, it was agreed that this void could be increased to a massive 2.4m x 4m for houses #2, #3, #4 and #5*. 

With such a huge space to work with, the VELUX® Australia technical team got to work designing a unique skylight configuration for each of the houses. Says Robert Cussigh, National Sales Manager at VELUX® Australia, “It gave us a chance to highlight the different ways that skylights can be used, to get people to think more creatively with how they can transform their own homes”. Continues Stephen Parry, Marketing Manager at VELUX® Australia, “It’s also about trying to offer the contestants something unique and when a potential buyer walks through, they see something different in every house.”

The next step was to determine how to build these skylight modules on a site that is notoriously limited in space, has extremely fast turn-around times, lots of foot traffic and high safety standards. The Block 2019 Site Manager, Aidan O’Shannessy, identified immediately that it would not be possible to take a traditional approach. Says Mr O’Shannessy, “There were a lot of complexities around how to safely get these skylights installed so we came up with the idea of having the frames preassembled and pre-flashed offsite, and the skylights preinstalled so that we could crane them on in one hit.”

Dynamic Steel Frame – the fabricators of the TRUECORE® steel framing being used on The Block already, were then engaged to see if this idea was possible. Recalls Managing Director, Peter Blythe, “They asked whether we could prefabricate them [the skylight structures] into craneable modules to which we said yes, and the rest is history.”

Once each module had been designed and assembled at Dynamic Steel Frame’s Dandenong factory, a team from Peter Elliott Roofing came in and flashed the exterior of each module. Owner, Peter Elliott who has over a decade worth of experience working on The Block was amazed at what VELUX® Australia and the team had come up with design wise – “one of them was in the shape of a pyramid, another the shape of a dome, there was a flat one too, and the most interesting module was in House #5 which has every single skylight on a different angle”. Following the completion of the exterior flashing, each skylight module was then lifted onto the bed of a truck, driven to site and craned into position. Often with a crowd cheering on the crane-workers as they placed them perfectly on each townhouse! 

All four teams involved agreed that TRUECORE® steel was instrumental to the success of this project. Says Mr Elliott (Peter Elliott Roofing), “It’s one of the things about TRUECORE® steel, it offers many opportunities for prefabrication offsite, to speed things up once onsite.” 

Mr Blythe (Dynamic Steel Frame) also confirmed “the advantage was it [TRUECORE® steel] is light and extremely accurate. It has allowed us to create a model on screen and manufacture that precise model to the millimetre. It’s then enabled us to just drop the VELUX® prototype on the screen first before we manufactured the product.”

Another advantage of creating the modules using framing made from TRUECORE® steel says Mr O’Shannessy (Site Manager, The Block 2019), is that “TRUECORE® steel allowed us to be able to span quite long distances with large openings, so structurally it performed really well in this application”. 

A total of 32 VELUX® skylights were included across the four modules that were built using framing made from TRUECORE® steel. It was a real team effort to get these made says VELUX® Australia’s Mr Cussigh, “Everyone was working together, whether it was the guys over at Dynamic Steel Frame, Peter Elliott Roofing or Site Manager, Aidan O’Shannessy. Everyone just worked with each other to get the project done. It was a learning experience for most of us, and a positive experience at the end of the day”. 

Watch this fantastic video of the completed skylight modules pre-installation

Plus read more about TRUECORE® steel on The Block 2019

Sources (in alphabetical order):


*House #1 changed their floor plan early on in the series which resulted in their skylights following a different floorplan. 

Disclaimer - The content of this case study is based on statements made by the sources listed above and is a reflection of their views and experience on the above Project.