Rope access experts complete £2.5m Queensferry Crossing contract

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Aberdeen-based inspection and maintenance firm, Rigmar Services, has completed a six-month, seven-figure installation on the new Queensferry Crossing, over the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh.

The £2.5m project to complete the installation of the 288 cable stays on the three main towers was the largest to date for Rigmar’s civils division, which launched three years ago when the firm realised the potential to diversify its skills and expertise into new markets.

Working 24/7, Rigmar’s specialist access team was deployed to the Queensferry Crossing project with a peak labour force of 50 multi-skilled technicians, which ramped up from February, enabling the completion of the project in time for the official opening.

The team worked at maximum heights of 210m above the water line at high tide, utilising their rope access, rigging and mechanical knowledge to support the final construction of the structure.

In addition to the primary cable stay workscope, Rigmar’s rope access rescue team also carried out perpetual safety audits of the work site and provided 24/7rescue support on the project.

Completing the main contract, from initial evaluation and safety audits, through to project planning, mobilisation and installation, the firm has recorded morethan 55,000 hours on site with zero lost time accidents or incidents.

Rigmar Services specialist access manager, Steve Bunting, who has overseen the project throughout, said: “Working on such a prestigious project has given us superb visibility in the civils industry and fully confirmed our commitment to this market.

“Throughout this project our work scopes continued to increase as the client gained confidence in our OPITO/NVQ qualified riggers, and their ability to reviewengineering drawings and generate lift plans to deliver installation and decommissioning scopes. With our vast rope access experience, we are focussed on providing complete solutions for any access challenges.

“It has been a remarkable project for the Rigmar team to be involved in and it’s been an honour working the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) and their vast network of highly experienced sub-contractors on this once in a lifetime project.”

Alexei Bond, principal engineer for HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction, part of the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors consortium, said: “To meet the challenging programme, Rigmar provided a high number of skilled rope access personnel to work at night, allowing work to be completed simultaneously on all available work faces without impacting on other critical activities.

“The Rigmar site team took responsibility for ensuring that all the quality inspections and documentations were completed to the required standard, they also provided a detailed daily report allowing the progress of the work to be closely monitored. Throughout, there were no safety related incidents, which is a considerable achievement given the nature of the work and the extremely exposed work location.”

The Queensferry Crossing is the second high-profile contract that Rigmar’s Specialist Access Division has worked on in the past 18 months.

The firm provided expert engineering and access services for the construction of NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels in 2014/2015, utilising its QuikDeck system, which is a temporary suspended access platform, with an installation build process that is up to 80% faster than traditional scaffold, with significantly higher load capacity.

Mr Bunting added: “Working on the NATO headquarters, which was the largest infrastructure project in Europe at the time, gave Rigmar Services the credibility to secure the Queensferry Crossing contract. We have also recently completed a bridgecontract in Wales and are about to begin using Quikdeck® on another bridge project in the Scottish Highlands. The specialist access division is currently delivering a significant contribution to the group’s turnover and we are continuing to enhance our service offering across a variety of markets.”

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