Our projects

Conversion at university requires versatile propping solution

Simon Building, University of Manchester

The Simon Building is home to the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Manchester. The building was named after Ernest Simon, an industrialist and politician who became Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1921 and was later knighted in 1932.

The project involved the conversion of two large science laboratories into lecture theatres. In each room, two columns - each supporting 5 stories above - would have to be removed to provide an unrestricted view to the front of the new lecture theatres.


modular propping systems used


stories supported


tonne twin beams installed


Conversion of two large laboratories into new lecture theatres – each with two columns supporting 5 stories above them
Restricted access on site meant a compact solution needed to be designed
Mass 25 and Mass 50 modular propping solutions used as they are flexible, strong and man-handleable

Products used on this project

The challenge

Steel sub-contractors Walter Watson were brought in to design large twin beams, each weighing 20 tonnes, to be installed tight up to the existing ceiling level to support the weight. With space and access to the laboratories restricted, a scheme would have to be devised to allow the beams to be lifted to the required level without the use of cranes.

Our solution

Our engineers designed and installed a series of lifting frames to be built, and subsequently dismantled, around the new steelwork. These frames were designed using relatively lightweight components - Mass 25 propping frames and Mass 50 lifting beams - which could be manually handled inside the building.

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