London Paddington Roof Refurbishment

Winner of 2016 British Construction Industry Awards Temporary Works (Buildings) category 

Keeping a mainline London station operational throughout refurbishment works

Safely restoring a heritage structure in a live environment

Bespoke, innovative and technically complex temporary works solution

Client: Morgan SindallNetwork Rail
Value: £20m

Innovative Solution

An award-winning, innovative solution, the temporary works at London Paddington enabled the restoration of the station’s historic, Grade I listed arched roof. It saw the busy mainline station kept fully operational, with passengers and train operators able to use the station safely as strengthening work and repairs were made to Brunel’s famous curved glass roof.

Working closely with the wider design team, Network Rail and English Heritage, BakerHicks provided temporary works checking and designs. Key services included:

  • Checking the design concept and calculations on the suspended scaffold temporary works
  • Designing the temporary works to safely remove the old cast iron decorative scrollwork on the underside of the arch ribs and where damaged replacing with GRP facsimiles
  • Assessing the existing foundations for the additional loads imposed by the temporary works; settlement of the structure was a critical constraint and only archive information was available

Bespoke Concept

With a footfall of over 35 million passengers a year at Paddington, the works needed to be as unintrusive as possible, allowing the station to function as normal. A bespoke suspended access scaffolding solution, with moving platforms on runway beams and a large span crash deck, allowed the works to be safely carried out with the station below free to operate with minimum disruption. Our engineers ensured this structure was safe for use, checking the concepts and their compliance with the design brief, and if the codes chosen were reasonable to use and the outputs given reasonable to expect.

Dating back to 1854 and having been built on multiple times, there was limited information available on the platform construction, resulting in significant engineering constraints. As a Grade I listed building the finished solution also had to maintain the original design features, placing further constraints on the engineering. This required careful planning and working closely with English Heritage to create a temporary works solution that enabled the refurbished station to retain its original features. The limited weight bearing load of the suspended scaffold structure also required careful planning and close collaboration with the wider design team to ensure the weights on it were managed at all times, including where people  were on it, keeping them and those below safe.

The project and the temporary works used were a success, completed in the limelight of operating in one of the UK’s busiest stations.

Keeping 35 million people a year flowing freely through the station was achieved with panache, leveraging the possibilities of the project. The live rail environment, fragile Grade I Listed train shed and the immense scale brought huge risks, but these were flawlessly handled, right in the public gaze, by a team integrated from top to bottom and committed to delivering a station fit for the 21st Century. Mr Brunel would have been delighted. An outstanding all round solution.
Judge’s Comments
2016 British Construction Industry Awards