Specialist firm Plant Movements Ltd from Hailsham in East Sussex organised and carried out the lift in conjunction with helicopter operator HeliRig.
It took the Super Puma helicopter less than an hour to hoist the four modular chiller units, each weighing five tonnes, into position. But planning for the operation had taken Plant Movements almost six months.
Managing director John Miller explained: “A helicopter had to be used because the site wasn’t suitable for a crane. It meant having to make arrangements with a whole host of different parties including the CAA, police, the local authority, environmental health and the estate owners. We even had to involve HMS Belfast, which is permanently moored on the Thames alongside the building, because the attraction couldn’t be open to the public while the lift was being carried out.”
Plant Movements had a team of eight people on site for three days making preparations for the lift including laying an aluminium trackway to protect the paving.
The new chillers had been specially designed in modular form to suit the capacity of the helicopter. Before they could be installed, the old ones had to be dismantled and removed.
The helicopter has now returned to Norway where it is normally deployed on search and rescue duties. It will be called on again next month (October) for the second phase of the chiller replacement project when four further units will be installed.