Temporary Works: short-term solutions for long term benefits

Construction projects are becoming more challenging – particularly as space becomes limited, aesthetic ambitions become more lofty and existing frames or features are retained.

So temporary works are becoming more prevalent, requiring high levels of expertise, experience and engineering.

Temporary works are engineered solutions employed to support the delivery of complex construction projects and developments. They include solutions to:
• support or protect existing structures or permanent works;
• support plant or equipment;
• support or protect the vertical sides or side slopes of an excavation;
• provide access to a development.

Temporary works are vital in ensuring stability or strength, managing deflection or fatigue and reducing risk. As the name suggests, they are impermanent features meaning they must be planned around safe removal during the course of construction, although some temporary works remain in place for the entirety, or even beyond the life, of a construction project.

There are a number of different temporary works solutions from scaffolding for low-level buildings or crane supports for multi-storey or complex building, to falsework and formwork.

For steel structures there are a number of temporary works solutions. Temporary bracing, connections and local stiffening support the fabrication and erection stage of steel construction. Similarly, lifting lugs, trestles or launching gear are used to support the erection stage.

Which solutions are required for a steel construction project will depend on a number of variables, best advised on by experts in structural steel.

Delivering award-winning solutions

Our contribution to an award-winning development in Greater Manchester demonstrates the benefits of temporary works in steel construction.

The Embankment development, bridging the cities of Manchester and Salford on the banks of the River Irwell, comprises two nine- and ten-storey office blocks sitting above a three-storey car park. Working with BAM Construction and engineers Ramboll we delivered 5,350 tonnes for this multi-stage steel construction.

Its location presented a number of challenges, including sitting within a Grade II listed sandstone façade wall, on the site of the old Exchange Station, and surrounded by roads, railway lines and the river. Additionally, the car park remained open throughout the works, meaning site safety and non-disruptive works were vital.

As well as providing a frame which makes maximum use of space, the steel structure restrains the listed façade wall – the same masonry podium that once support Exchange Station now provides an attractive entry to the 442-space, steel-framed car park. However, this façade wall created challenges as it meant the car park and building’s grid structures could not match. Transfer structures recalibrated the two grid structures while steel cores for the structures allowed for a lighter frame to sit atop the car park’s frame.

Temporary works were vital to this project. For the duration of phase one of the steel construction, the façade wall of the car park was propped and transfer beams and a temporary slab were installed where the ten-storey block would soon sit. In phase two, 40t of temporary steelwork was installed to allow for the temporary slab to be broken out and a new slab poured. A 500t-capacity mobile crane was brought in to erect the site’s tower crane – to meet the limited confines of the site’s location. Additionally, once the first three levels of core and main building were constructed, metal decking was used to give surface on which to work off for the next three levels.

These temporary solutions delivered permanent benefits – ensuring we were recognised as experts in structural steel and supporting the achievement of a BREEAM rating of excellent for the development.

Visit our Projects page for more examples of our expertise and experience.

Temporary steel used to prop up the slab of car park

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