15 September 2016, 11:21
It is one of the most famous cathedrals in England and has the beautiful name of The Cathedral of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St. Cuthbert of Durham. Durham Cathedral is one of the most important Norman structures in the world. For almost 1000 years the magnificent church has dominated the landscape of the city of Durham in the North-East of England. However, the view of the cathedral is now shrouded in scaffolding. With the help of two transport platforms from the manufacturer GEDA-Dechentreiter GmbH & Co. KG, extensive renovation work is being carried out on 66-metre high main tower.
Located not far from the Scottish border the imposing Durham Cathedral can look back on both a long and eventful history. The impressive bishopric dating back to the 11th century still houses the grave of Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, a famous figure in England. Significant also in terms of architectural history, the cathedral has the first ribbed vault in Europe that marks the transition to the Gothic period. The main nave of the cathedral is 61.3 m long and 22.2 m high. The church interior extends over 143 m and incorporates the entire width of the cliff above the City of Durham.
However, the ravages of time also make their presence felt on venerable places of worship. Extensive restoration work on the 66 metre central tower is pending.
Such extensive and costly overall renovations need detailed planning with reliable and professional partners. A basic condition for this is an efficient method of working while maintaining all safety regulations inside the famous cathedral so that services, tours and the general public are not endangered or negatively affected.
To carry out the restoration work the façade of the central tower has to be made accessible. The rental company Mechplant took the decision to use two transport platforms from the Bavarian manufacturer GEDA-Dechentreiter GmbH & Co. KG and provided the construction company responsible with the two devices. Mechplant, based in Bowburn, has developed over the last 40 years into one of the leading rental companies of construction site equipment in the UK.
Stephen Makinson, Managing Director of Mechplant, is convinced of the benefits of GEDA’s height access solutions: “In addition to the unique quality of the products, we also highly value the expertise and technical support provided by the GEDA team.” The height access specialists planned all the preliminary technical work for Mechplant such as the anchoring calculations and the space required on-site for the devices, etc.
The GEDA 1500 Z/ZP transport platform conveys people and materials upwards along a scaffolding tower to an intermediate platform.
The GEDA 1500 Z/ZP is equipped with two separate control systems and can be used both as a pure materials lift and also as a transport platform for people and materials up to a height of 100 metres. The transport platform control system has a hoisting speed of 12 m/min and this is activated for the transportation of people and materials. If only building materials are being transported it can simply be switched to materials lift mode with a speed of 24 m/min.
The proven two mast system of the GEDA 1500 Z/ZP ensures the platform remains stable when travelling and also ensures lower anchoring forces, since despite the high load capacity of 2,000 kg or seven people, the load distribution across two masts ensure that only low forces impact the external walls of the building.
Nor does the transportation of bulky building materials such as plasterboard or plywood boards etc. present any problems for the spacious platform.
To meet the requirements of every different construction site and materials to be transported, the customer can select from a total of 14 different platform options which extend up to load capacities of 2,000 kg. The practical modular construction means there are many different combination options. The “BS” 1.45 x 3.30 metre platform is being used on Durham Cathedral. Practical accessories enable the transport platform to be perfectly adapted to the on-site conditions.
Fast and safe refurbishment of the cathedral tower
Another member of the GEDA transport platform family, the compact GEDA 500 Z/ZP is being used directly on the belfry tower of the cathedral.
The GEDA 500 Z/ZP transport platform has been specifically designed for daily use in tough building site conditions and is extremely flexible in its use. The device is also equipped with two separate controls and, thus, can on the one hand be utilised simply as a construction hoist to transport materials with a payload of up to 850 kg and, on the other hand, as a transport platform for five persons and loads of up to 500 kg.
The 500 Z/ZP transport platform is an indispensable aid for a rapid assembly of scaffolding as well as for the subsequent tasks on the construction site. Due to minimal space requirements, high load capacity and numerous modes of usage, the transport platform saves time and guarantees optimum logistics in construction. With a lifting speed of 24 m/min in material mode and 12 m/min in people mode, rapid progress of the renovation work is ensured.
Five different versions of the platforms, with different loading flaps, enable the GEDA 500 Z/ZP to adapt perfectly to the conditions on site. The spacious loading platform, opening upwards, provides sufficient space for all types of construction material.
All GEDA transport platforms can as an option be fitted with the practical assembly bridge which permits safe and rapid assembly of the 1.5 meter long GEDA Unimast segments, as well as their anchoring to the façade or scaffolding, directly from the platform itself, up to a height of 100 m.
Safety is the overriding concern on every construction site. GEDA 1500 Z/ZP and GEDA 500 transport platforms are of course equipped with the usual safety equipment such as limit switches, speed-dependent safety gear, safety stop and overload protection.
The World Heritage Site will soon be gleaming again in its new splendour
Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle “as the biggest and most perfect monument of Norman architecture in England” have been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1986. However, Durham Cathedral not only has a religious backdrop – it also has a magical setting known to Harry Potter-Fans as the shooting location for the Hogwarts school of magic.
The two GEDA transport platforms will continue to provide valuable transportation services until the completion of the refurbishment works on the belfry tower. But in just a couple of months visitors from across the world will once again be able to marvel at the beauty of Durham’s landmark.