Harsco finds solution for flax mill refurb
By Sarah Ann McCay11 June 2013
Harsco Infrastructure has provided an integrated scaffolding, shoring and temporary roofing solution for the multi-million pound project to refurbish the Ditherington Flax Mill near Shrewsbury, UK.
This Grade I listed structure is recognised as the world’s first iron-framed building. It was originally built in 1797 to house the process of transforming flax into linen. Today, it is seen as the forerunner of the modern steel-framed skyscraper. However, the building has lain derelict for years.
English Heritage acquired the site in March 2005 and was able to stem the deterioration that had been caused by decades of neglect. It 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 that secured the building while solutions were developed and funding sought.
Harsco worked closely with English Heritage to design a suitable scaffolding and shoring system. This had to provide access for the refurbishment work, while also supporting the external walls, all 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,” said Harsco’s project manager, John Deacon.
“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.”