Monday, July 13, 2015

News: Vertex on a high at Earl's Court

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Rotherham-based Vertex Access has been called upon to tear the roof off Earl's Court, the historic London exhibition, conference and events venue.

From offices at Templeborough, Vertex Access provides industrial rope access operatives for a variety of operations as an alternative for expensive methods such as scaffolding. The use of abseiling techniques can often be the most practical way to achieve tasks that would otherwise involve considerable expense, time and impact on the building.

The centre, which dates back to 1886, closed in 2013 to make way for a redevelopment which will replace the West London entertainment hub with luxury flats.

Deconstruction activities began at the start of 2015, initially focused on the internal structure of the buildings, which had a capacity of around 19,000 and has hosted many exhibitions, concerts and events, such as The Brit Awards, The London Film and Comic Con and Summer Olympic Volleyball in 2012.

The centre was rebuilt in 1937 and in response to a demand for more space, the exhibition centre then expanded, with Earls Court Two opening in 1991.

In an era when health and safety knowledge wasn't as advanced as is currently is, the use of building materials such as asbestos was popular. Asbestos was commonly used amongst other building materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, and the roof of Earls Court was constructed using the material.

Further developments in health and safety have since highlighted the dangers in asbestos, which led to its use being banned in the UK in 1999. The dangers arise when asbestos containing materials become airborne and unstable from damage and deterioration, which can also occur during demolition.

Lead contractors Keltbray called on Vertex Access operatives to remove asbestos concrete sheets from the roof.

Some areas of the roof allowed for use of access cradles but for areas where this was not viable, rope access techniques were used. The Vertex team is completing the works ensuring that damage is kept to a minimum. This is so that the dangerous fibres do not break off from the fragile sheeting and become airborne, posing an unnecessary risk to operatives and nearby workers.

Vertex website

Images: Vertex Access

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