BALFOUR Beatty's construction management firm, Heery, has won a £22 million deal to restore the famous Cutty Sark tea clipper.
The company will oversee an extensive two-year conservation project to restore the renowned ship, which is dry berthed at Greenwich in south London.
The 135-year-old vessel is a major tourist attraction and one of just three surviving 'composite' vessels. Its hull was built with elm and teak planks fastened to a wrought iron frame.
But the iron frame has suffered from corrosion. Heery will manage restoration works using electrolysis treatment and mechanical cleaning, as well as strengthening the hull with steel supports.
The client on the project, charity Cutty Sark Enterprises, also plans to lift and suspend the ship 2.5 m higher in the dock to enhance its setting and improve visitor access.
Heery senior project manager David Brooks said: 'Raising the ship is important because it takes the weight off the keel, which wasn't designed to bear the load.'
Funding for the job comes from a £13 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and private donations.
Heery will have to keep the ship open to the public throughout most of the conservation project, with a new visitor centre detailing the works open to the public from April. The job is expected to be completed in October 2008.