The Jodrell Bank Observatory is a British observatory that hosts a number of radio telescopes, and is part of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester.
The observatory was established in 1945 by Sir Bernard Lovell. It has since played an important role in researching the cosmos and has been a crucial tool in the education of the next generation of British Astrophysicists’.
The main telescope at the observatory is the Lovell Telescope, which is the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world at 76.2 metres in diameter, and this was completed in 1957. Interestingly, part of the gun turret mechanisms from the battleships HMS Revenge and Royal Sovereign were reused in the motor system for the telescope.
The Lovell telescope is also a Grade 1 listed building.
This project is one of Network Scaffoldings most interesting and challenging projects to date. Works commenced in June 2014 and are due for completion by the end of the year. The main contract works are to carry out essential steel repairs and maintenance, and recoat the entire structure. All whilst ensuring the full use and maneuverability of the telescopes at all times!!
Network Scaffolding Contractors were selected for this project at the client’s request; this is due to our extensive knowledge in complex designed scaffolds, expertise in working with English Heritage on Listed Buildings and previous experience of works undertaken by Network Scaffolding on Jodrell Bank itself. These successes we attribute to the intense pre-planning, an open-minded approach to the challenges, and to the commitment of our team on this challenging project.
One of the main obstacles faced by Network Scaffolding is that the dish has to remain fully operational, and therefore the entire scaffold structure has to move in conjunction with the supporting structure of the dish. In order to achieve this, the erection of the scaffold could only be carried out in specific, pre-planned windows, whilst the dish was stationary and each element of work had to be completed in these allotted windows to ensure the dish would always be operational when required. The scaffold was carefully erected to the two main towers and, with the use of a heavy duty and complex beam-work layout, a 40 metre long suspended scaffold was formed to the underside of the dish.
In addition to the main scaffold elements and access scaffolding to the lift shafts, a 35 metre high, system staircase was also erected; this again was constructed off heavy duty beams that were box tied to the existing steelwork to allow full movement of the structure with the rotation of the dish. These staircases were linked to the main scaffold structure with walkways at alternate lifts, thus affording the main contractor safe, convenient access to all the required areas.