UBIX® temporary roof system protects archaeological dig at England’s oldest hospital

The innovative UBIX temporary roof system from Combisafe International has once again proven its exceptional versatility, providing protection to a 300m2 archaeological dig site and a team of archaeologists at St Barts in London – England’s oldest hospital.

As part of the £1 billion redevelopment of St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London Hospitals, the sites are being redeveloped into state-of-the-art facilities as part of a PFI (Private Finance Initiative), led by a consortium including Skanska. With a targeted completion of 2016 and facing a potential 12 week excavation on part of the site, Skanska turned to Combisafe for the creation of a temporary roof solution. This system would allow the archaeologists to work unaffected by the weather, and in turn enable Skanska to continue with vital construction works as soon as possible.

At the site, the Museum of London Archaeologists (MOLA) has uncovered evidence of two Roman ditches dating to AD 200. To aid the excavations, Combisafe was chosen to provide a roofing solution to keep the dig site dry and provide weather protection for the workers. To cover the 20m x 13m trench, Generation Hire and Sale supplied two UBIX roofs measuring 12m x 12m and 14m x 12m, which could be moved using Combisafe’s innovative RunWay track system.

“The sliding roof over the trench has already proved its worth on several occasions. Without it, during rain the ditch fills would become saturated very quickly to make the ground slippery and almost unworkable,” said Robin Wroe-Brown, Senior Archaeologist at MOLA. “Thanks to the roof we have been able to continue in all weathers.”

As it was the first time Skanska had used the UBIX system, the company’s small team of three operatives was assisted by Combisafe installation specialists. With the use of the UBIX system, Skanska was able to benefit from its quick and easy handling and simple erection. Requiring no specialist tools or lifting gear, it was easily assembled by the small team, and with boltless fixings and loose components eliminated, all parts snap together for a rapid assembly process.

Designed with safety as the top priority, UBIX is the lightest and most economical temporary roofing system on the market. Using just a small number of components, it can be installed quickly, safely and economically, making it perfect for the fast application and total coverage required for the bespoke project at St Barts. Despite it being their first experience of the system, the Skanska team completed the UBIX installation in just 16 working hours.

For an even more efficient erection process and easier opening of the roof, the two UBIX roofs were mounted on the RunWay system so that one roof can roll over the other.  Using custom-designed roller wheels, with a safe working load of 3500kg, it allows all erection work to be carried out from safe, guarded working platforms, from which fully-assembled roof bays are rolled out easily into position along the track. When roofs need to open, even large scale UBIX structures can be quickly and safely rolled by this method to allow for plant, equipment and materials to be craned in and out of buildings as required – with safety a key aspect at all stages of design.

 “Combisafe and Generation Hire and Sales have been extremely cooperative and proactive through design, procurement and in assisting with the erection,” said Bill James, Senior Project Manager at Skanska. “I did have a nervous moment when I heard the rain in the night but am pleased to report that thanks to the UBIX temporary roof system, the archaeological dig is still dry this morning.”

By providing the company’s innovative UBIX roof system that will protect vital work being carried out at one of the world’s most famous hospitals, Combisafe has further enhanced its reputation for providing cutting edge temporary roof systems, in addition to its market leading safety at height solutions.

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