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Specialists Awards winner: Project of the Year (subcontract up to £500,000)

No ordinary refurbishment - but how did this winning project clinch the award?

Winner: Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding – South Crofty Tin Mine

The refurbishment of South Crofty Tin Mine was no ordinary refurbishment project.

The unusual shape of the mine’s visually striking New Cooks Kitchen headframe, coupled with the Grade II-listed status of two engine houses on the site, meant considerable care and innovation were required from whichever company took on the job.

Local family business Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding was that company, focusing on quality over price to win the contract.

The headframe’s unique shape, caused by it having two winders operating skips or cages in the same shaft, meant the scaffold needed to cover it would be huge and complex.

The scaffold comprised a temporary roof erected over the entire headframe, totalling 1,246 sq m for the main external slopes and a further 1,884 sq m of vertical sheeting.

In all, the scaffold was 16 lifts high with a temporary roof on top – a massive structure topping out at 32 m. Time constraints were tight at both the erection and dismantling stages.

“This was an enormous job for a small regional company that was technically challenging and demonstrated real innovation. Their pride and joy in the project was evident and infectious”

Judges’ comment

The team had 11 weeks to put up the scaffold but completed in just eight, with another two to erect the sheeting – while it took just four weeks to dismantle when the programme allowed for six.

More than 9,000 system components, 20,000 fittings, 3,300 tubes and 8,000 boards were used on the headframe scaffold alone.

It was not just the scale that posed a challenge. The team battled extreme winds and rain but still kept the project on programme.

All of the scaffolding was boarded to protect people working below, while light sheeting was used to ensure it was not too dark inside – all measures to improve the safety of the workers, an average of 10 of whom were working on the scaffold at any one time.

In particular, the sheeting involved was a new product rarely used in the UK before and required a significant investment by the company before the project began.

The judges were impressed that it was “prepared to take calculated risks and invest in the business”, particularly for a family business of 41 employees.

The other aspect of the project, the two listed engine houses, were no easier despite being smaller in size.

The team had to change the method of work, as the buildings’ unstable nature meant men could not be put inside. Instead, the scaffolds were erected on the outside first and then downwards inside to mitigate the risk of collapse.

Numerous VIPs, including transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, visited the project, and many local artists and residents took great interest in the scheme.

The judges stated: “This was an enormous job for a small regional company that was technically challenging and demonstrated real innovation, particularly through the use of materials and their programme management.

“Their pride and joy in the project was evident and infectious.”

Highly Commended: AR Demolition - Press Halls Stoke/Derby

AR Demolition has deconstructed a number of press halls since 2010, but this project required two to be decommissioned within a relatively short timeframe.

The buildings, in Stoke-on-Trent and Derby, called for meticulous planning to remove old printing presses safely and on schedule.

At Sentinel Press Hall in Stoke there was only 1.5 m between the top of the presses and the roof, so the company’s special projects teamdesigned and fabricated a new gantry crane to assist.

The judges praised the project for its “ingenuity, sustainability and the entrant’s sheer determination to get the job done, despite costs and delay”.

They added: “The fabrication of a gantry crane especially for the project demonstrated great innovation, reduced manual handling and created a business asset for themselves in the process.”


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