Articulated Bar Bus

Tonkin Consulting was commissioned by an owner of a Mercedes Benz – PMC commuter articulated bus to convert the bus into a mobile bar. The project was to include a complete fitout including bar facilities, couches, furniture and a balcony installed on the roof of the vehicle.

Tonkin Consulting was engaged to provide engineering advice, certification for the balcony structure and certification that the bus met the Australian Design Rules for on-road use with its modifications. The client provided an initial sketch of the balcony structure which was assessed to Australian Standard 1170.1 Minimum Design Loads on Structures – Balcony Loading. In addition to the structural assessment, the balcony was assessed against dimensional, seating and load requirements for the vehicle under the relevant Australian Design Rules.

In order to assess the frame, a 3D Computer Aided Design model was constructed to enable Finite Element Analysis to be conducted. Loads were applied on the model in accordance with AS1170.1 to simulate the resultant stresses in the structure. The model was then used as a basis to design the joint detail and connections of the balcony structure to the roof of the vehicle. The balcony was supported with columns extending from the roof to the chassis rails of the vehicle and jacking points were specified to ensure stability when the vehicle was deployed as a bar.

The project was successfully completed in time for the bar bus to be deployed to the general public at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. 

Project Summary


Private Client


Adelaide, South Australia



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