The fine art of roofing Evening Times

The fine art of roofing Evening Times


The work is being carried out by one of the biggest scaffolding companies in the country.

SGB has spent the past few weeks putting specially designed scaffolding in place around the historic building.

Project manager John Watson said: "It is a unique design for a unique building.

"Our inhouse design engineer Chris Rogers came up with a scheme that caused minimal damage to the fabric of the listed building.

"The scaffolding had to be attached to the actual building, so that was quite a challenge.

"Chris also had to design scaffolding ties which are unique to this project, so there are a lot of firsts."

Once the scaffolding was in place, a 75 tonne crane was brought in to start the delicate job of lifting temporary roof panels into place.

The three sections of the fire damaged roof are all a different design so 12 individual panels had to be designed and constructed to ensure the building is kept watertight.

Each roof section is 5m wide, 30m long and weigh between 1.2 and 1.8 tonnes.

They sit on the scaffolding, which has gone up and will cover the whole of the building, from the front door, on Renfrew Street, to its west end, on Scott Street.

Mr Watson said: "The street outside the Art School is only 6m wide and the roof sections 5m wide, so that only leaves half a meter at either side, so it is very tight."

Work started on Monday but was hit by high winds and driving rain.

However Mr Watson said yesterday that his 10-strong team had managed to claw back lost time.

He added: "We started the temporary roof structure on Monday but, unfortunately, in the morning, there were high winds so we lost half a day but we pulled it back by working later than normal."

Mr Watson said he hoped the final section of the temorary roof will be in place by Thursday at the latest.

It will then be covered with plastic, ensuring it is watertight before the worst of the winter arrives.

The fact the city enjoyed one of the best summers on record has helped to dry out the building.

But Mr Watson said: "The longer the rain gets in the more damage is going to be caused, so it needs to be watertight."

Douglas Anderson, the Art School’s project director for the reinstatement of the building, said work so far is on schedule.

He added: "Getting the temporary roof on is an important stage in the whole thing and was one of our main tasks.

"The building is very exposed and we don’t have heat or light in there and the worst scenario would have been a wet summer.

"We have another contractor coming on board towards the end of the month when we will be clearing out the debris which has remained there since the fire.

"We will sift through the library to see if there is anything beneath the ashes which might be saved.

"After Christmas we will concentrate on securing a design team which will start next year and put together a design brief.

"It will probably take a year to collate everything."

Mr Anderson hopes the restoration will start in 2016 and take three years to complete.

He added: "The priority is to get it right.

"There will be a lot of debate about how we tackle this.

"Do we go back to 1906, when the building was constructed, or to just before the fire, because work has been done to the building over the decades."

A blaze ripped through the historic building in May this year but fire crews salvaged 90% of the structure and saved up to 70% of its contents.

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