A surprising and innovative solution
We’ve recently completed a successful two week trial period using rope access operatives to undertake these works. The initial idea was a result of a series of project meetings and the decision taken in consultation with our scaffold contractors who’d worked with this team previously.
This is the first time the National Trust has used abseilers on such a high profile salvage project and so it’s a learning curve, but one that’s going well. It’s an original and unusual solution to the tricky task of clearance inside a building whilst working from a scaffold. Good progress was made during the trial, the rate of clearance was impressive and our rope access operatives will now continue working with us until the building is cleared.
Our operatives are highly trained and qualified with skills and safety practices developed in the offshore oil and gas industries. They have bricklayers, pointers, carpenters and decorators all on staff. Conservation work is newer to them and so they’re working hand-in-hand with our curators, archaeologists and conservators to ensure that vital expertise is shared.
Sky high salvage
The vast free standing scaffold acts as a huge climbing frame, an abseiler’s paradise allowing access to all the necessary areas of the structure, large and stable enough to take their weight and that of the debris they’re hoisting. They’re working on ropes up to 20m from the ground and using hoists they can lift timbers and debris up to a tonne in weight. We’re able to have four operatives working at any one time in different areas of a single room, effectively quadrupling our efficiency when compared to a single crane and operator working at a time.