Geda aids massive monastery renovation

03 September 2018

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St. Michael’s Monastery in Bamberg, Germany, soars majestically over the city. However, the landmark is now hidden behind thousands of square metres of scaffolding. 

Nine transport platforms from the manufacturer Geda Dechentreiter are supporting the significant scaffolding and repair works.

The renovation started back 2012 on St. Michael’s, which was founded by Bishop Eberhard of Bamberg in 1015. Built on one of the seven hills of Bamberg, the former Benedictine Abbey with its monastery is a UNESCO world heritage site and can be seen far from the city limits.

However, the monastery is in danger of collapsing. It quickly became clear that the ravages of time had left their marks on the venerable buildings and the entire abbey and church had to be comprehensively repaired.

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The dimensions are huge. The church alone is enveloped by 12,000 m² of scaffolding, the equivalent to almost two football pitches. The works on the monastery façade have been divided into three construction phases. The renovation on the approximately 2,800 m² façade surface and the brewery and gate wing of the monastery are already completed. In addition to the immense scale of the natural stone work, 240 windows have had to be repaired and the roof and drainage have been renewed.

The second construction phase involves the repair of a further 2,400 m² of natural stone, before, in the third construction phase, 2,700 m² of façades in the inner courtyard of the monastery and in the cloister can finally be repaired.

In parallel to the façade work on the former monastery site, repair work on St. Michael’s Abbey with its world-famous ceiling painting, the Garden of Heaven is progressing well.

These are mainly static repairs. Experts agree that it is primarily the structures added during the baroque period that are responsible for the ailing condition of the structure. Firstly, the roof structures, façades, arches and the masonry were made stable and then in the subsequent building phases the enclosing walls, arches, the organ and the drainage were updated to a modern standard.

The project will cost an estimated €50 million and is being carried as part of the federal programme, ‘National urban construction projects for investment in the future’, which is contributing €12.5 million, the largest share of the costs.

In addition, The Upper Franconian Trust, The Bavaria Compensation Fund, The Bavarian State Foundation, The Bamberg Public Hospital Foundation as the owner of the monastery site, as well as donors and sponsors are supporting the repair works.


The scaffolding works alone took many months. The tender process for the building site was conducted on a Germany-wide level, and it was Bamberg-based Karl Gerüstbau that was successful in securing the contract.

The Karl Group installed all the scaffolding on the external façades of the monastery site and in the internal and external areas of St. Michael’s Church. For the façade works alone, the company installed 10,000 m² façade scaffolding, 1,500 m of bracket scaffolding and an extensive 600 m protective scaffolding for the roofers. The abbey has 5,000 m² of internal scaffolding, 16,000 m³ of birdcage scaffolding and 1,500 m² of surface scaffolding.

To ensure the rapid assembly of the scaffolding on the walls of the Michaelsberg and to transport both the craftsmen and the necessary materials efficiently and safely along the scaffolding structures, nine transport platforms from Geda are playing their part.

Safely and quick

The transport platforms are being used both for assembling the scaffolding and for the renovation work on the façade of the monastery site and also on St. Michael’s Church.

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Two of the six Geda 500 Z/ZP units have been installed on both church towers rising up to a height of 73 m. Roofers, stonemasons and sheet metal workers are tackling the crumbling structure at those lofty heights.The Geda 500 Z/ZP was specifically designed for daily use in tough conditions and is extremely flexible. The device has two separate controls enabling it to be utilised as a construction hoist with a payload of up to 850 kg and as a transport platform for five persons and loads of up to 500 kg.

Due to minimal space requirements, the high load bearing capacity and numerous types of use, the construction hoist is designed to save save time. With a lifting speed of 24 m/min in material mode and 12 m/min in person mode, fast transportation is possible.

The compact nature of the 300 Z/ZP is also an advantage, at 0.85 m wide, allowing easy transport to and at the construction site. Using its fork lift pockets, the complete unit can easily be transported with a pallet truck or fork lift.

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With two separate control units, the 300 Z/ZP can also be used either as a pure construction hoist for transporting materials or as a transport platform for materials and up to three people. With a lifting speed of 12 m/min, the GEDA 300 Z/ZP can lift up to 500 kg or three people up to heights of 50 m.

The Geda Unimast system can be used with all Geda rack and pinion hoists from 300 to 2,000 kg load capacity.

Repairs to 2025

Originally the monastery site was to be re-opened by 2021 in time for its 1,000 year celebrations. But it has become clear that the works will drag on a bit longer, with the restoration work now scheduled to last until 2025.


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