GRT Scaffolding support repairs and redevelopment of country house

The Frythe is a grand country house sitting at the heart of Wilshere Park in rural Hertfordshire, and is now being repaired, restored and refurbished to offer luxurious apartments. GRT Scaffolding Services Limited are supporting the development with scaffold design provided by Prime Scaffold and Structural Designs Limited.

The Frythe was originally a country house set in its own grounds, just south of the village of Welwyn, about 30 miles north of London. The Gothic revival mansion was built in 1846 for the MP for Great Yarmouth and has a fascinating history – during the Second World War it became a secret British Special Operations Executive factory known as Station IX making commando equipment, and for many years after it was a commercial research facility, operated in turn by ICI, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline.

The house and its surrounding estate have been under redevelopment since 2018.

GRT Scaffolding Services Limited are Audited Members of the Scaffolding Association, and they were appointed by main contractor Linden Homes, part of Vistry Partnerships, to support repair, renovation and redevelopment works.

GRT Scaffolding are proud of their excellent working relationship with the client, having worked together successfully on many projects.

The brief at The Frythe is to provide multi-level access solutions to the exterior walls, roof and nine large chimney stacks. Sister company GRT Builders are then amongst the trades moving on site to undertake the masonry package, with the primary focus on making good the existing brickwork, repairing and strengthening 175-year-old chimneys that had become brittle and ensuring the roof is watertight.

The building is partially occupied by tenants with other parts currently under redevelopment, and so GRT Scaffolding provided a considerate working plan that maintains good access at all times while also keeping residents safe.

Measures have been taken to respect and protect cherished gardens, residents’ access to their terraces and balconies has been maintained with the clever use of beam work and neighbouring houses have also been taken into careful consideration. Working hours have been reduced so that scaffolders are not on site while residents eat breakfast or their evening meal. These concessions were communicated to all parties so that progress was made in an atmosphere of harmony.

No heavy plant equipment – not a single fork lift or crane – has been used by GRT Scaffolding’s team of eight, who have worked for nine weeks to build the structure. Four working lifts have been constructed, taking operatives, equipment, materials, new stonework and replacement windows to all levels – with further elevated scaffolds built around each chimney stack.

Bespoke beam work was necessary to support scaffolding across flat roofs that failed load safety tests. The amount of boards used has been considerable, but GRT Scaffolding hold enough in stock to provide for such a project – a perfect illustration of their sizeable capabilities.

Once the 10-week repair and renovation program is completed, they will return for a month to decommission.

Karl Willard, Managing Director at GRT Scaffolding Services Limited, highlighted a key area in the company’s success with this project:

“Building and maintaining a professional working relationship with the main contractor has definitely helped smooth progress during the scaffolding erection.

Our Advanced Scaffold Foreman, Oliver Burton, has liaised with the client’s site manager on a daily basis to ensure that all developments are well communicated and that any potential inconvenience to the residents is kept to an absolute minimum.

Contracts Manager Ricky Clifford helped me with a lot of planning work before we started on site so that we could agree a scaffold design, book in the workforce, arrange deliveries, minimise disruption and meet the client’s schedule.

We’ve met every target to date and the trades are able to make their starts within their allotted timeframe. We’ll be on call to offer support if needed and we’ll decommission as soon as the client is happy that works are complete.”

Scaffolding design was supplied by the experts at Prime Scaffold and Structural Designs Limited (PSD), Associate Members of the Scaffolding Association. Their contribution has been critical in providing solutions that are sensitive to the building’s age, particularly with regards to the type of ties used, the ties’ locations and considerations for residents.

Planning for the project took eight weeks, with several meetings and site visits. Karl is enthusiastic in his appreciation for PSD’s input:

“PSD provide a fantastic service. Their initial plan was brilliantly conceived, they met us four times to refine the structure before we started work and they’ve always been ready and willing to revisit the site and advise on any design revisions demanded by changes on site. Their knowledge means that my team have been able to continue while amendments are added and re-issued.”

GRT Scaffolding Services Limited were formed in 2001, are based in Bedfordshire, and are a part of the GRT Group Ltd, a 30-year-old multi-services construction company with specialisms in scaffolding and brickwork.

Comfortable with projects of any size, the 100-strong GRT Scaffolding team work largely on new build housing with a 65 mile radius of Bedford. However, their proximity to the A1 and M1 means that they frequently work in London on large residential sites, high rise schemes and commercial developments.

To find out more about GRT Scaffolding Services Limited call 01234 766464

This article was originally published in AccessPoint Magazine, if you would like to receive future editions of the magazine for free you can join the mailing list here:

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