Our projects

Building the future while preserving the past with façade retention

History Centre, Durham

Helping to combine the old with the new, our temporary works expertise proved critical on the new development ‘The Story’ at Mount Oswald, required to support the Grade II listed manor house while a contemporary extension was constructed.


Development of Durham's new history centre
Facade retention scheme on newly refurbished Grade II listed building
Complex temporary works scheme

Products used on this project

The challenge

The new venue is set to transform the way the history of County Durham is told, bringing together archive, heritage and registration services into a local history hub. The centre will be located in the newly refurbished Grade II listed Mount Oswald Manor House, with the addition of a modern extension.

Kier was the main contractor on the project, appointed by Durham County Council to deliver the contemporary new-build extension and sympathetic refurbishment of the historic manor house. A key part of the refurbishment works was a complex temporary works support scheme, required to support and protect the existing building façade and roof, enable the surrounding construction works to continue, and ensure the safety of both the structure and those working on site. 

Speaking about the project, Ozan Kurtulus, Site Manager at Kier, said: “The temporary façade retention was a critical element of The Story construction project, as well as being one of the most challenging. As a result, it was clear that we needed support from a temporary works supplier who had clear specialist expertise in this field to help us deliver the temporary propping scheme safely and efficiently – which is why we went to Mabey Hire. 

“Retaining a structural façade on a heritage building, such as this, is especially challenging, requiring careful coordination between the temporary steelwork, existing walls and timber joists, and the new structural components. Working with Mabey Hire gave assurance that they would deliver the works safely and to a high standard. The team at Mabey Hire designed the propping scheme, including all engineering calculations and on-site checks, helping to mitigate any risk.”

Our solution

Utilising our wide range of temporary propping equipment, the bespoke design included the use of Mass 25 Towers. One of the most versatile modular propping systems available on the UK market, the Mass 25 system has been designed with maximum flexibility in mind, using a large range of off-the-shelf components. Thanks to its robust design, manufactured from galvanised cold-formed steel, it can support loads of up to 340kN on a single leg.

Hany Ghazy, Major Projects Sales Manager at Mabey Hire said: “The beauty of this scheme was the early engagement with Kier’s team that allowed us to develop the internal propping towers to support the manor house roof and also retain the façade wall too. A more efficient and optimised solution, with less steelwork required overall, this also resulted in the site being less congested, providing Kier’s site teams with more space to work and operate in.”

In addition to designing and supplying the façade retention scheme, our in-house installation team was also responsible for installing the temporary propping on site.

Ozan commented: “Mabey Hire’s install team were really accommodating. The site supervisors worked co-operatively with Kier and were able to draw on their experience to overcome any challenges throughout the works. The install was a success.”

It looks like you are working with our

So that we can assist you further, could you share a few details and your download will start straight away.