Flax Mill, Shrewsbury UK

Project facts

Description Flax Mill, Shrewsbury
Client English Heritage
Challenge Protection and shoring during the repairs on the heritage building

SGB (Formerly Harsco Infrastructure) once again demonstrated its ability to solve complex technical challenges by its involvement in the Ditherington Flax Mill Conservation project. SGB provided an integrated scaffolding, shoring and temporary roofing solution for the multi-million pound project to refurbish what is recognised as the world’s first iron-framed building.

This Grade 1 listed building near Shrewsbury was originally built in 1797 to house the process of transforming flax into linen. Today it is seen as the forerunner of the modern steelframed skyscraper.

“However the building had been derelict for some years,” says SGB’s Project Manager, John Deacon. “English Heritage then decided to refurbish the building and that’s when we became involved.” English Heritage acquired the site in March 2005 and was able to stem the deterioration that had been caused by neglect over the previous twenty years. They identified some serious structural problems in the Main Mill building, and after a tender exercise in 2006, Harsco was selected to provide a scaffold framework which secured the building while solutions were developed and funding sought.

SGB worked closely with English Heritage and the various other parties involved and embarked on an intensive exercise to design a suitable scaffolding and shoring system. This had to provide access for the refurbishment work, while also supporting the external walls, and had to be achieved without imposing any load on the fragile building.

The result was a scaffolding and access system that was erected around the building, plus a temporary roofing solution that covered the building’s 16m x 70m span and gave protection against the weather so that refurbishment work could continue unhindered.

 

"The nature of the original building meant that this was a complex and challenging project. However we have a great deal of technical expertise within SGB, and the solution that we devised and implemented really does demonstrate our ability to rise to detailed technical challenges. It shows exactly how we’re able to provide a fully integrated solution that meets the many different requirements of an unusual and demanding project."

John Deacon, Project Manager

However, the old and decaying nature of the structure meant that we had to remain flexible enough to adapt to the conditions we found on site as the project progressed. As with any project though, our primary focus was on delivering the maximum levels of safety for the people who were going to be working on the building."


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