PB Scaffold Design Limited and JLP Scaffolding Limited brought their experiences together for a three-phase restoration project on Hull Minster as part of a multimillion-pound renovation project that aims to transform the building into a hub of history, heritage and community.
PB Scaffold Design and JLP Scaffolding teamed up to provide access for a three-phase programme of re-roofing, external masonry cleaning and restoration and internal repairs and redecoration to safeguard heritage monuments and features of Hull Minster.
Associate Members of the Scaffolding Association, PB Scaffold Design, are based in Leeds and have over 60 years combined experience in the scaffolding industry. Hull-based JLP Scaffolding, who are Assessed Members of the Scaffolding Association, specialise in roof access and renovations as well as new build projects. Their combined experience meant they were awarded the contract following a competitive three-way tender to Houlton & Sons Ltd.
The first phase of the project took place in November 2016 and was to provide access for the internal restoration part of the project.
This phase included some unique challenges – not only did the scaffolding have to be built around the building’s existing columns, but the floor in some locations is also only four inches thick with crypts located underneath, meaning restricted weight loads.
In addition, half the building remained in use throughout the works so a secondary structure was created to allow for the erection of a screen to stop dust and debris affecting day-to-day operations.
The second phase of the project was a nine lift, temporary roof scaffold spanning eight metres over low-level outbuildings on the South Nave Aisle, including two beam bridge works and two HAKI staircase systems for access and egress.
This structure was erected to enable a complete re-leading of the roof. This work was perhaps the most challenging, as Jason Smithson, Operations Manager at JLP, explained:
“The timescale was very short on this job – we had a two-week time frame to complete, with 24 x 450 aluminium beams that had to be drilled into the stonework, laced and braced, and a thousand boards that had to be hand balled up nine lifts to construct the roof.”
The final phase of the project was a temporary roof scaffold over the Broadley Chapel and South Vestries roof. It was a slightly smaller structure that spanned only six metres and had only four lifts.
This scaffold was required to provide access for roof work, including restoration and replacement of the woodwork as well as re-leading. The phase three structure also had to provide access and protection for masonry work that included sandblasting and re-pointing.
One of the major considerations was to protect the priceless stained-glass windows that began just below roof level. JLP achieved this by erecting triple handrails and full boarding in front of each of the individual windows. However, the biggest challenge throughout all three phases was the very nature of the iconic building and its priceless contents. As Jason said:
“We had to take extra care of the church’s historically important stained-glass windows and stone statues.
Everybody onsite had to remain alert and on-the-ball as careless mistakes were not an option.
For every moment of every phase, the lads were extremely careful and due to their professional approach it turned out to be a smooth operation from start to finish.”
Hull Minster was awarded £3.9million from Highways England’s Designated Fund for Environment and Cultural Heritage to conduct a vast range of work including archaeological excavations, the creation of a flexible visitors centre with an exhibition space and café as well as new facilities to make the choir vestry
a flexible education and learning centre.
Images: Derek Hussain, Humber Photography.
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