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Mace project manager Carl Wright says the trouble free construction of the Great Court's innovative roof was 'a testament to the work put in by everyone involved in the design, detailing and planning.'

He adds: 'A major contribution was also made by scaffolder SGB. The combined access and support deck in the Court greatly simplified roof construction - and facilitated other key activities like the restoration of existing facades and cladding the reading room.'

Made up of metal profiled decking on a structural steel frame supported by Cuplock towers, the 20m high deck had to carry the full 800t weight of the roof before depropping could take place. Including the 330t of access scaffolding which provided working platforms for the refurbishment of the reading room's interior, SGB supplied the equivalent of more than 200km of tube, 20km of scaffold board and 1,000 modular beams to the Great Court project.

Getting all this in was simple compared to getting it out again once the roof was finished. Most of the components went out at night through the Museum's main entrance. The steel deck structure was lowered down and cut up into manageable sections. Wright says the only major trade actually restricted by the mass of scaffolding was the floor paving.

'I am more than ever convinced that engineering the programme to achieve early starts is vital on projects as complex as this, ' he adds.

'Investing in the technology that lets you start early reaps disproportionate benefits.

'This project had all the classic ingredients to go down as the worst job I had ever worked on. Instead, it turned out to be elating.'

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