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Sat 1 Nov 2008 04:00 AM

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What kind of projects does your company

Ben Chapman, managing director of Australian Turntable Company talks about the demand for revolving rooms and how to derive practical benefits from rotating towers.

Ben Chapman, managing director of Australian Turntable Company talks about the demand for revolving rooms and how to derive practical benefits from rotating towers.

What kind of projects does your company work on? We specialise in providing rotational solutions for a variety of clients whether it be showroom turntables for motor dealers or revolving restaurants in a high rise. We've just finished the largest revolving restaurant in the world in Iran six months ago.

Everybody is looking for something new to attract the investors and rotating is unique.

Now we're doing a job for The Pad in Business Bay (Dubai) where we've got 60 units of revolving bedrooms or lounge rooms. In the past we've also done revolving restaurants in Dubai and Qatar and we're in talks to do a few more.

You are Australian based but have you any plans to open up in the GCC?

We're a small family company of about 20 people working for us, but we're going through a strong growth phase at the moment and recognise that the Middle East is really important for that to continue.

So we're going to set up a sales office over here within the next six months. We know that we're missing out on a lot of work and a lot of projects by not being here. We offer a niche product that is not necessary in a lot of cases but places like Dubai make these things happen.

Are you worried about the global financial situation affecting business?

I think we will feel the pinch a little bit, but we help developers make a bit more money and utilise their space a lot more. So as long as there's development there's still going to be demand for our product.

And because we're a small company, we don't need hundreds of projects going on at the same time. Our move into the UAE is going to give us more than we need to keep our operation running.

How many companies specialise in this field?

We are probably in the top-three companies in the world, the fact that we're small doesn't matter -we're very innovative and have a strong drive on quality and customer service. There are a couple of other big companies, a British one and an American one, who we compete against, but there's so much work going around that there's enough for everybody.

What about rotating towers? Is this something you would be interested in?

We would certainly consider it and are actually in talks with people at the moment about doing it. We're pretty confident that we've got the expertise to handle the job without a worry. But we're not actively pursuing it, even though it would certainly be good for our company profile.

How difficult is it to rotate a building?

The way we see it, you just need to use bigger drives to do it. You certainly come across some issues with regards to the MEP and that sort of thing, but we know we can get around those issues.

What about the 80-storey Dynamic Tower designed by David Fisher where each floor rotates. Is this possible?

It's an amazing building and I think it's possible. There are examples of it around the world where people are doing similar  stuff - not to the level that he's doing it.

There's a lot of problems that are going to be put in the path of this building getting done. But I believe they can be worked through and it's going to be an awesome feat of engineering if he does.

Do you think we'll see more rotating buildings in the future?

Once the first building has broken through I think we're going to see a strong push around the world for this type of stuff. I know that there are other places like New York and Tokyo talking about doing the same thing. And there are also some benefits to do with management of the sun and solar elements.

What are some of the benefits?

There are rotating houses in Australia where you can direct your house in the position that is best for the sun. So in the summer when there is a really hot sun travelling over the sky, the house moves so the sun is against a certain side of the house, a thick brick wall or something similar to keep the heat out.

In the winter the sunlight can be attracted to warm the house. There are certain benefits for things like that and I can see it working for apartments as well.

If you take away the fact that it is new and unique, is it worth the trouble? Or is it a showpiece?

The first one will certainly be a showpiece. Everybody is looking for something new to attract the investors and rotating is unique. But as technology advances we might be better able to exploit the benefits and make it more viable.

The first one's also probably not going to be the best decision economically, but once it breaks the ice I think there will be leaps and bounds. We'll see what mistakes were made and from there make it a better investment.

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