When AT’s main contractor, NZ Force, was looking to build three large canopies on the ferry terminal as part of the America’s Cup upgrade, they turned to Vanluk Design, a company that creates patented customised cavity flashings for weathertightness.

This small, agile company is renowned for responding to customer requirements with innovative solutions to problems around achieving effective cladding seals when wall penetrations are irregular or at different angles.

Their story began some 12 years ago when John and Alex of Vanluk did some building inspection work, looking at the effectiveness of wall penetrations for pipes and cables in building paper. All were using tape and other makeshift solutions to maintain the airseal.

…It was a pretty hit and miss affair. The effectiveness of the flashing relied on the skill of the person installing it,” said John…

“The failure mechanisms were many, including poor workmanship, incompatible materials, improper use of sealants. We thought, surely there must be a standard cavity flashing available somewhere.”

But there was nothing suitable available worldwide. So, they produced their own design for the MG50 made from injection moulded rubbers for basic pipes up to 40 mm in diameter.

Before long, there was high demand for larger diameter pipes and cables plus difficult shapes such as beams extending through walls at angles. Vanluk responded with manufacturing techniques that accommodated all types of conditions. The MG 100 was born to fulfill this need using self adhesive closed cell foam. 

The low energy surface ensured sealants could adhere to the penetration, and the edge of the cladding but not the MG100, allowing the sealant to stretch between the adhered surfaces in line with the sealant manufacturer’s recommendations.

Rather than simply launching products straight onto the market, they were tested with various claddings to E2/AS1 and AS/NZS 4284 and appraised for durability by a recognised Australasian corrosion expert Les Bolton. This meant MG50 and MG100 met the 4 d’s – deflection, drainage, drying and durability. Les took these products to the University of Auckland for an opinion who said lesser materials could be considered. John and Alex chose to continue using the highest grade materials available.

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The E2/VM1 and AS/NZS4284 tests for weathertightness to different claddings have continued over the past 12 years.

“It gives local authorities comfort that the product achieves compliance for composite panels, HPL, solid aluminium, large format porcelain tiles, Cedar, cement board and a variety of other claddings,” says John.

It’s becoming rarer for people to put a penetration through a building and dress it with tape now this solution exists. Having a standard cavity flashing system gives consistency resulting in unnecessary complexity and expense.

While Vanluk keeps a stock of circular penetrations from 4 to 150 millimetres diameter, they can also tailor solutions for beams, channels, angle plates, scuppers and unique penetrations for louvres, balustrades and other applications.

Clients love the MG50 and MG100, says John, because they’re easily the quickest way for somebody to put something over a penetration and you don’t need a high level of skill so it can be done by just one person.

If you’re looking for standard products, they’re available immediately. However, custom-made pieces are normally ready within 5 days and trickier things within a 10-day timeframe.

The MG100 Jigsaw Joint came about when the AT project needed penetrations around circular columns up to 850 millimetres in diameter one of the biggest circles the company has made.

“Rather than make it all in one, we made it in three sections which is much more economic than a full circle at this size,” says John.

The MG100 Jigsaw joint allows an MG100 to be split, which is especially useful for large penetrations or to enable installation over a penetration that does not allow a slide fit. The joint is reinforced with a suitable tape which makes single user application easier than ever.

Product development is ongoing, says John. “We’re always adding innovative design and manufacturing techniques to broaden the scope of the MG100’s use. Along with that we’ve developed associated products such as escutcheon plates.”

Escutcheon plates are used for aesthetics, to cover up eccentricity of holes, thicken the edge of thin materials like 0.5mm steel (for sealant purposes) adding functionality, design and beauty to a project.