An unusual demolition project on the banks of the River Thames has been completed safely and successfully, thanks to a bespoke scaffolding solution provided by SGB,a BrandSafway company. The company created a highly unusual scaffolding system, part of which was regularly covered by the river water during the demolition process.
“This was a challenging project due to the location of the building, which was built out into the river, from a site close to Blackfriars Bridge,” explains SGB’s Southern Design Manager, Brendan Fox. “Fortunately, Tideway knew that we have experience of designing this type of structure for other demolition and construction projects on the banks of the Thames. That experience was a key point in allowing us to create a successful scaffolding solution.”
The SGB system included the addition of large steel brackets to the concrete columns on which the building stood. These were then used to support a series of beams which provided a solid base on which the scaffolding could sit. “This meant that the lower parts of the scaffolding would regularly be covered by water as the Thames ebbed and flowed with each tide, and so the system had to be able to accommodate the force of the water flow,” adds Brendan.
The presence of the water also created the need for the scaffolding to adapted on a day-to-day basis, with the team on-site having to remove and the reinstall the toe-boards every few hours, so that they were not damaged by the flow.
The SGB system was also designed with a number of other key requirements in mind. “The scaffolding had to be constructed in such a way that it could be reduced in height, as the demolition work gradually lowered the height of the building,” Brendan continues.
“The demolition materials had to be removed from the site via the river, so our design had to include various protection and containment features which would prevent those materials from falling into the water. We also had to allow for the presence of a large barge carrying an 80-tonne crane which was floated in alongside the building. “Safety is the number one priority for every single project we work on, but the location of this project meant that it was a particularly challenging consideration,” concludes Brendan. “Once we had finalised our design, it was subjected to a BS5975 Category 2 internal approval procedure. It then had to pass the client’s own strict approval procedure before work could commence, ensuring that it offered the absolute maximum level of safety to those people who would complete the demolition work.”
Picture caption: Access specialists SGB. created a highly unusual scaffolding system for this demolition project, part of which was regularly covered by water from the River Thames