By Martin Walker
Steel specialists SCH Site Services has been involved in the design and build of an exciting new leisure facility on Aycliffe Business Park.
SCH has been working on a meticulous installation project at ROF 59 – the new leisure facility on the former Presswork Metals site – while they are also due to work on a number of other interesting contracts.
ROF 59 was a wartime munitions factory which has been developed into an activity centre.
The developers are keen to maintain as much history as possible in the project and work has uncovered a few historical treasures.
Because of SCH’s reputation for building complex and challenging structures, they were asked to work closely with local climbing specialists, Rock Antics, to design and construct a state-of-the-art climbing wall in the heart of Aycliffe Business Park.
The collaboration has produced a 20-metre high structure with a 13-metre overhang, giving a 28-metre wall face to climb which is unique in the UK.
“The sheer size and scale will challenge the experienced climber and will set new boundaries within the industry,” said SCH managing director Gary Finley, pictured inside the new facility above.
“We worked closely with its partner engineers to design the wall taking into consideration the size of the existing structure and ensuring that their final design was both fit for purpose and able to be safely and easily be installed in the building.
“The steelwork has been welded together to form large truss sections giving the shape to the rock face.
“The structure has been made up of 2,698 steel section parts and is held together with 4,110 nut and bolt sets which are all installed by hand.”
When it came to installing the wall, SCH had to take a different approach to normal.
Gary explains: “We’re used to working from the outside of a project, but this time we had to ensure we could install the sizeable wall from the inside of the building, using our fleet of mobile cranes to fit into the tight space within the tower.
“Our skilled on-site team had to meticulously pick each truss to ensure the next truss could be installed without being obstructed by the next.
“Space was very tight and the height of the wall meant we had to use a larger Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP), resulting in less floor space to work which proved to be a more difficult operation.”
ROF59 wanted to create an industrial feel to the interior of their activity centre and SCH have worked very closely with the owners of ROF59 to design and create a range of furniture for their new project.
All of the furniture and handrails have also been designed and fabricated from steel in SCH’s production facility in Aycliffe.
“We’re very excited to be involved in the development of such an exciting new project and wish ROF 59 every success in the end of June launch of their new leisure facility,” added Gary.
Meanwhile, SCH Site Services have also won a contract to work on an extension to the CUBE Food hall at the Metro Centre for Sir Robert McAlpine and INTU Properties.
It’s a new and exciting improvement to the Cube food hall located next to the Odeon cinema which will see a considerable increase in the amount of restaurants – while they have already started strengthen the existing structure so it is able to accommodate the new extension.
• For more details about SCH Site Services and what they do, go to www.schsiteservices.co.uk