SGB provided a scaffolding solution that made a demolition project on the banks of the River Thames a success. The demolition was completed safely due to the highly unusual scaffolding system created by the company, which had part of it covered by the river water during the 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,” explained SGB’s Southern Design Manager, Brendan Fox. “Fortunately, Tideway knew that we have experience in 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 system created by SGB included large steel brackets being attached to the concrete columns on which the building stood, later on used to support a series of beams which provided a solid base on which the scaffolding could sit. Because the system was going to be regularly covered by water, it had to be strong enough to be able to accommodate the force of the water flow and adapt on a daily basis. The team on site had to remove and reinstall the toe-boards every few hours to make sure they were not going to get damaged by the flow.
“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,” explained Brendan. “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.”
Brendan concluded by saying that no matter how challenging a project is, safety always has to come first. Therefore, the system was subjected to a BS5975 Category 2 internal approval procedure and a client approval, before being used on the demolition work.