I wouldn't say that the type of products we get involved with are by any means predictable, but when a call from Stonehenge came in, our creative minds boggled.
We were celebrating the successful saving of an endangered rhino using surgical equipment we had designed, when English Heritage made contact; the £27 million visitor center had a problem.
The blast-proof exhibition security door, weighing close to 1 ton, was moving on its pivot. A job for the people that installed it one might think. However, this was not that simple. The door had been built in situ as part of the building, so to avoid a major rebuild, a bit of ingenuity and bespoke equipment would be required.
There was barely 20mm of room to lift the 4m x 2.5m curved door and move it out of the way. The original hinge pivot mechanism was rated for a door less than 300 kg so in addition to a specialised lifting hoist, we designed and built a heavy duty replacement mechanism. Everything was modelled in CAD so that computer simulations could be used to verify the integrity of the solution prior to committing.
The building works would need to be carried out while the visitor center was closed and with careful monitoring of vibrations to preserve the artifacts. The method statement took into account a few night shifts and a date in the diary based on exhibition commitments, but as the coronavirus pandemic forced lockdown, the site was closed for an indefinite period. Faced with an unexpected opportunity, the race was on to procure parts, fabricate the equipment and get the job done quickly... Again!
As it was a journey of discovery we needed the help of local builder Phil Crockford to undertake the building works. Phil was no stranger to working with us. He had worked very closely with 3fD’s founder, Austen Miller, to resurrect one of Hampshire's heritage assets into its new role as a modern design studio. It is celebrated as one of Whitchurch’s most significant buildings by councillors, residents and the test valley planners. One of those residents is Adam Dickins, the facilities manager at Stonehenge.
With the works now completed and the door working superbly, without incident and in time for the 4th of July, Adam has affirmed his belief that we were the right team for the job.