In 2017 a fire caused by welding work at the Christie Hospital in Manchester destroyed the hospital’s Paterson Building, home to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. And while much of the research work was salvaged, the building itself was a write-off.
The following year Cancer Research UK, Manchester University and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust announced that a new building would be erected on the site at Wilmslow Road – bigger and better than its predecessor. The new building will be twice the size of the old Paterson Building and will house one of the biggest cancer research projects in Europe.
The main contractor is Integrated Health Projects (IHP), a joint venture between Vinci Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine.
The new building comprises four floors of research space above ground, and two basement floors below ground requiring extensive excavations.
Due to the depth of the excavation, temporary structural support was needed for the capping beam and secant-piled retaining walls and for this, IHP called in temporary works specialist Mabey Hire.
One of the few hire companies specialising in this type of equipment, Mabey designed a support structure that employed its proprietary Super Bracing Struts to brace the excavation across spans ranging from 3m to 24m.
A high-load-capacity strut system such as this occupies considerably less space than the traditional purpose-built steel frame solution and therefore Mabey’s equipment allowed space for excavation and concreting work to continue safely across the two basement floors.
As well as supplying the equipment, Mabey Hire sent a specialist team to complete the installation process themselves. This team is trained to install, maintain and dismantle the support structure in line with the requirements of BS5975, the code of practice for temporary works procedures.
Another big advantage of a modular proprietary system such as the Super Bracing Strut is the speed and ease with which it can be installed and dismounted. On the Paterson Building, this proved to be of particular benefit and IHP took advantage of Mabey Hire’s ability to remove its propping systems from underneath a large concrete slab once they were no longer needed.
IHP also asked Mabey Hire to help with crucial on-site monitoring. Using an automated robotic total station linked to a series of inclinometers, Mabey was able to detect any movement of the capping beam in three dimensions.
In addition to this, Mabey used its Livepin wireless load monitoring system to measure the applied axial load on the propping equipment in real time. Livepin is a stainless steel connector pin that employs a strain-gauge to measure the axial load on the system, and make continuous accurate measurements of load and temperature. This data is fed back to the company’s Insite web portal. If any changes are measured beyond pre-set parameters, the system alerts Mabey and specified client personnel via email.
IHP section manager Andrew Hazelton was suitably impressed by the Mabey Hire propping systems, as well as the on-site monitoring solutions. “We also benefitted from remote access to on-site monitoring levels and received notifications when there were any noteworthy changes,” he says.
Mabey’s contribution to the project was completed earlier this year. Since then the building work has progressed rapidly, with level 9 of the reinforced concrete frame completed at the end of October.
Piling for the bridge linking the new building to the existing Christie site is now underway, while curtain wall and M&E installation works have already started on the main building. Completion is expected next year.