Two Scaffolding Association members join forces on Grade I listed building

Two Scaffolding Association members GWC Scaffolding Solutions and Jon Scaffolding Services Limited combined to provide access to the 17th-century main house at the St Clere Estate, giving DBR Leadwork the platforms and protection needed to conduct a full re-roof as well as repairs to chimney stacks and parapets.

The St. Clere Estate has a rich history, dating back to the 12th Century when it was called West Aldham and belonged to Sir Thomas de Aldham, who fought in Richard I’s third crusade. In the 14th Century it was renamed St Clere’s and has since had association with famous historical figures including Henry VIII and William Shakespeare.

More recently it has provided the backdrop for film productions such as James Bond’s ‘The World is Not Enough’ and the TV series ‘Gangs of London’.

The building has undergone changes over the years, but as it now stands, the house is three storeys, plus basement and attic with a 5-bay front façade, central porch and parapet, with a high pitched hipped slated roof that is surmounted by a row of tall, linked brick chimneys.

GWC Solution’s engineers, Dan Van Ackeren and Thomas Riding, proposed installing a duo-pitch apex style roof to cover the building’s wide span, so Mark Waterman, a specialist in these types of works and Managing Director at Jon Scaffolding, selected the versatile and speedy UBIX roofing system.

This can be erected very safely and ergonomically and because of its lightweight construction it was felt that it was a better solution than the traditional CI sheeted roofs.

Temporary roofs are notoriously difficult to design economically, especially when located in an exposed and unsheltered area such as Kemsing.

Being a Grade 1 listed building, one of the biggest challenges was being able to restrain the structure without using physical ties.

Using the latest wind and frame analysis software Dan and Tom were able to design a free-standing structure using buttresses with 1 tonne kentledge IWC’s and utilizing tie beams that double up as temporary platforms that are used to erect the roof safely.

To aid stability they were able to butt the existing building, but understandably strict protection measures were required. They proposed using a base plate with thick strong carpet type material attached to offer the protection – English Heritage liked this concept and instantly approved.

Adding to the team’s design considerations was a 10-meter-long underground septic tank, positioned directly beneath the front entrance.

This, along with surrounding smaller buildings, forced the design of a series of beams to transfer all vertical loads into other locations.

“IBC containers and 50,000 litres of water were used to provide enough kentledge to support the structure through the 20-week project which needed to survive several heavy storms in a very windy countryside location.

We were truly grateful that Nigel Passey, Director of DBR Leadwork, entrusted us with this project – it was one of the biggest projects Jon Scaffolding had undertaken at the time and we were keen to prove our capabilities on projects of this scale, especially given the building’s Grade I listed status and the project’s complex design.

Tom and his team at GWC are a different level of scaffold designers. Every project is designed to suit both the scaffolder and the client’s works – I can’t recommend them enough, they make everything work and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Mark Waterman; Managing Director at Jon Scaffolding

“Scaffolding Design and the procedures involved have been evolving throughout the past 10 years, and GWC Solutions pride themselves on understanding the client’s needs, whether it be a simple scaffold design, scaffolding inspections or a fully functioning interactive 3D walk through BIM model.

This was a wonderful project to be involved with and we consider ourselves very privileged to be a part of it.”

Tom Riding; Design Engineer at GWC Scaffolding Solutions

GWC Scaffolding Solutions was established in 2011, formed by Graeme Coote – a third generation scaffolder. Approaching the 10-year mark, GWC has grown and is now immensely proud to employ some of the best scaffolding engineers in the industry. They have a very well-balanced core of staff from many different backgrounds, all with varying levels of expertise and skills.


Jon Scaffolding Ltd was incorporated in 2013, initially with just Jon working by himself. The company has since grown from strength to strength and now operates with 20 full time employees and a fleet of 10 vehicles.


This article was originally featured in the 15th printed edition of AccessPoint, you can read the full magazine online by clicking below;

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