‘Topping Out’ Marks Big Ben Restoration Milestone

Restoration work on the Elizabeth Tower is now well under way after a final piece of scaffolding was slotted into place at a rooftop topping out ceremony. The major milestone in Big Ben’s conservation scheme saw the clock tower covered in 98m-high scaffolding.

In just over a year, tonnes of Layher scaffolding system have been expertly installed by PHD Modular Access on one of the world’s most iconic landmarks.

The Uxbridge-based PHD began erecting the structure in May 2017, using around 23,500 Layher Allround components to create the impressive scaffold.

With 47 working lifts and finished with a temporary roof, the scaffold is now fully in place to allow urgent and vital conservation works to continue. The scaffold will encapsulate the world-famous clock until 2021, when work on the Big Ben Tower is due to be completed. The upper section of the Tower will be uncovered as the project progresses. As the scaffold is dismantled, close inspection will take place of the finished works.

Ian Ailles, Director General of the House of Commons, said: “The steel structure encasing the Elizabeth Tower consists of nearly 24,000 elements, weighs 800 tonnes and has taken just over a year to complete. Despite a complex programme and challenging weather conditions earlier this year, we are on schedule, to the credit of all those working on this much-loved landmark, and we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Tower.”

Paul Hamer, CEO of main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd added: “As one of Britain’s most iconic buildings, it is a privilege to be entrusted with the preservation of the Elizabeth Tower. We are proud to help keep this landmark a centrepiece of our country’s rich heritage through our skills and technical excellence and celebrate this milestone in the conservation work.”

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