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Unsafe Mackintosh masonry dismantled

July 11 2018

Unsafe Mackintosh masonry dismantled

Structural engineer David Narro Associates and contractor Reigart have begun the process of carefully dismantling unsafe sections of masonry from the fire-ravaged Mackintosh building as part of efforts to stabilise the site and allow the return of neighbouring residents and businesses.

Working in close collaboration with Glasgow City Council and Historic Environment Scotland the team have chosen a painstaking process of manual dismantling using a combination of mobile platforms and cranes in a process expected to take a number of weeks to complete.

In this manner the unsafe walls can be brought down block by block with hoists used to manoeuvre heavy, high-level stonework safely to the ground from where individual pieces will be sorted prior to transport to off-site storage.

Dominic Echlin of David Narro Associates said: “The primary aim of the initial works is to make the building safe and structurally stable. It is important to understand that our agreed approach is the safest way to dismantle the dangerous elements of the building and, importantly, ensure there is no damage to nearby properties or risk to those working on site.

“The contractor is starting today to reduce the height of the high-level walls on the south side of the building, carefully taking down damaged and unstable masonry. With the machinery brought to site the contractor can work on several ‘fronts’, so after a start today in the middle of the south façade, we will quickly move on to reducing height to the top parts of the south-east corner and east façade. Work will then follow on the west end and then parts of north façade. This sequence has been determined so we keep the building as stable as possible and the dismantling controlled throughout the process.”

The primary crane will be positioned on the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street with a second likely to sprout at the junction with Scott Street. Three further cranes will also be employed to facilitate the work.


Stephen R
#1 Posted by Stephen R on 11 Jul 2018 at 12:40 PM
The visuals provided by the BBC yesterday evening did not convey this 'careful dismantling' approach. The contractor appeared to be chucking cope stones off the east cable into the presumed empty internal void below. How might those be recovered and re-used? thought the idea would be mark-up and carefully set aside for future re-use?
Gandalf the Pink
#2 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 11 Jul 2018 at 12:58 PM
#1 - Stephen R

'careful' in that nobody gets killed by a wall that is unsafe and falls on top of them.

When it comes to demolition of an unsafe structure, the number 1 rule is you do not put your operatives in the position where a structure at risk of collapse can end up on top of them.

Sadly, much of the building needs to come down. The stones they are removing can't be lifted by hand back into a crane basket by hand and they would be very difficult and painfully slow to lift individually to get a sling under and lower them to the ground. The building can't be surrounded by a scaffold to allow access.

Pick and drop is the only thing they can do.
first fire remembrancer
#3 Posted by first fire remembrancer on 11 Jul 2018 at 13:56 PM
You're absolutely right about H&S obligation in relation to operatives as number 1 priority in relation to the downtakings.

However I was there 4 years ago watching them dismantle the stone gables over studio 58 above the library. They had guys on a cherry picker and a crane with a sling. Each were marked, put in the sling, and lifted down.

I'd have thought that significant pieces such as the copes would have been treated in the same manner to avoid them being cracked / smashed on impact, in order to allow these pieces to be put back on the reconstructed building.

I'm sure they all have it worked out though. The minefield of reconstruction awaits...and the GSA board and others still have questions to answer (including those surrounding the first fire in relation to negligence and delay to the commissioning of the nearly fully installed sprinkler system)....
Robin Bs Discount Store
#4 Posted by Robin Bs Discount Store on 11 Jul 2018 at 15:47 PM
#3 I'm like you. I cannot wait until these questions start getting answered.

We need to know why the notifier was a random passerby rather than one of the many fire precaution measures implemented by the contractor?

We now know that the contractor was grossly unqualified to be delivering a project of this magintude, but surely they knew that 24/7 fire warders included 11 o clock on a Friday night? Surely they didn't forget to switch the fire detection systems on.......
#5 Posted by JS on 11 Jul 2018 at 16:09 PM
#4, you sound like you know something....

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