How piling mats help preserve heritage
Piling mats can help to allow work to continue on heritage buildings, both protecting the existing building while work is completed, while also enabling essential piling and underpinning to support any new additions to the building fabric.
A great example of this kind of approach is the London Screen Academy, a post-16 free school currently under construction at Ladbroke House in Islington.
Preserving history, promoting progression
Once completed, the new 16-19 school will teach specialist skills relating to the screen industries e.g. film and television, so students can progress into employment or higher education.
The project is being overseen by the government-owned property company LocatED, on behalf of the Department for Education, and the site itself presents numerous challenges.
For example, the original 1920s exterior is being retained for heritage reasons, while the new school is essentially built from scratch within its footprint. Adjacent public roads and party walls complicate matters further.
In a recent progress update, LocatED show a time lapse video of demolition work within the building as the central space is hollowed out to create new studios.
Timber mats can be seen throughout the video for a range of different applications, from creating temporary platforms for work to continue, to their use as ground protection mats on each level of the building during demolition.
In buildings such as this, piling and underpinning is often required in order to support alterations to the structure above ground – and piling mats help to allow piling rigs to be used safely.
Versatile, reliable shape and size
One of the advantages of Timbermat piling mats is that they can be taken into the building through a relatively small opening, but can be lifted and moved easily and joined to create a near-seamless working platform.
This is especially crucial in buildings with basements or cellars, or other voids below ground level, as a piling rig platform helps to spread the weight of the heavy equipment above so it does not break through any weak spots.
In this way, buildings can be renovated and significantly altered structurally, while retaining their outer facade so that the heritage of the premises remains intact, especially in historically significant locations or conservation areas.