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Contractors World 2011 Volume 2 Issue 7
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Heavy-duty formwork expertise on display at new theatre

A project to create a new, 1,500 seat theatre building on a site with a restricted footprint and limited access was the challenge facing contractors on a new theatre under construction in Bordeaux.

Work started on the project several years ago but ran into funding difficulties resulting in a legal ruling allowing the original contractor to leave the site. The site subsequently changed ownership and work has now resumed.

The new theatre in Bordeaux, France, is being built on a site surrounded by existing buildings and Harsco was asked to provide a support system to carry formwork for the construction of a number of 1.8 m (6 ft) wide, 2.14 m (7 ft) high, 32 m (105 ft) long in-situ concrete beams. These beams had to span the stage area and also support a further 5 floors of apartments and office accommodation being built above. The girder systems supplied by Harsco varied in length, the longest being 32 m. This had to be lowered, relocated, and in some cases altered in length before work on the next beam could begin.

Working on behalf of Portuguese contractor, BUILDIN, Harsco devised a bespoke H33 braced truss-girder system which was sufficiently flexible and reliable to satisfy the demands.

The H33 beam system has been proven to have high load-bearing capacity needed for this type of project. Its weight-to-capacity ratio makes it ideal for where long spans are involved.

The system worked but for a severe lack of working space on the site meant that Harsco had to adapt the traditional methods used to construct such a system.

Harsco beams for French theatre“We actually did much of the construction work on the girders about 10 km away from the site itself,” explains Harsco’s Ingo Schnelting. “This meant that we could prefabricate the girder sections under more controlled conditions, which made it far easier to ensure that they complied fully with the drawings. That way we were able to avoid any unexpected problems on site and be confident that the girders would fit neatly into place.”

To enable transporting and deliver to the site, some dismantling of the girders was necessary. However, this also minimised the disruption to other trades that would have been caused by fabricating the units on the site itself. A lack of on-site storage space meant that a just-in-time schedule for these deliveries was necessary this had to be co-ordinated with special permission from the city authorities to operate extended length transport vehicles.

“We had to remain flexible in our approach to every aspect of this project,” adds Ingo Schnelting. “The different lengths of concrete beam that the building required meant that we sometimes had to remove the girders from the building and transport them the 10 km back to the construction area. There we were then able to re-configure their length before delivering them back to site and use hydraulic jacks to raise them into place, ready to support the formwork required to make the next beam.

For more information click here:     • Buildin
• Harsco Infrastructures





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