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Murchison Hut – History

Murchison Hut


Information about the experimental membrane coating applied to the hut in the summer of 2013

Murchison Hut had shown signs of leaking, with blown beading on the walls and roof, holes in the cladding and the remnants of spouting and other fixings. The structure was cleaned up, all holes filled with a low temperature, flexible overpaintable mastic. The beading bedded into the mastic and refixed using TEK screws. Once the existing structure was sealed and watertight the aluminium was primed with a vinyl etch primer, and the beading and joints were sealed with the Ecotex membrane. This membrane is cutting edge technology, being weather tight, U/V resistant, flexible, waterbased and very high solids allowing fast curing even when the temperature is low.
The roof was then coated liberally with the rubber membrane , and whilst this was wet a polyester non woven fabric was embedded into the cating and the liquid membrane applied to completely impregnate and cover the textile. Generous amounts of the fabric was left for the edge overlapping and the detailing along the walls. The roof was allowed to cure overnight, the only emission from the curing process is water and it was weatherfast after 30 minutes even at alpine temperatures. The following day the walls were treated in the same manner and a ridge cap applied to the roof, with at least 200mm of overlap over the layer applied the previous day. On day 3 the walls were finished off for detailing , the spae fabric from the roof was folded up and fixed tightly under the eaves, the whole area then sealed with the rubber membrane, the whole hut was then coated with a lightfast U/V resistant acrylic paint in pioneer red, which will help protect the membrane, and make the hut fit within the standard colour scheme of Aoraki/MtCook National Park huts. The end result has wrapped the hut in a 5mm coccoon of flexible waterproofing, which will with minimal maintenance protect the facility for many years to come at minimal cost to the club (around $1000 plus chopper costs).

Experimental membrane being applied 2013

History Timeline

2013 – Experimental outer membrane applied.
2008 – Decision made not to carry out major work on the hut and plan for replacement within ten years.
2005 – Concerns raised over moisture levels inside the hut.
2004 – Agreement signed with the Department of Conservation for management of the hut.
2003 – Major work party completed by the North Otago Section.
1978 – Aluminium cladding added as protection due to a sand blasting effect by sand and ice being noticed on the original plywood cladding.
1977 – Hut constructed in February. The hut is designed in two separate parts with a screwed and bolted joint across the middle. The thought at the time was that with the site being prone to movement, the hut may have to be air lifted out at some stage. Each half would be about 1 tonne. The triangular steel frame the hut sits on has been re-levelled once.


Old Murchison Hut


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