London -- Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier, which was gutted by fire in 2008, is being rebuilt and contractor John Sisk & Son Ltd (Sisk) has used SPS Floors to rebuild the main structural floor.
The pier stands on the beach of the Somerset, UK town, and extends 400m into the Bristol Channel. The programme to restore it has been carried out through the winter and will be completed in time for the 2010 summer season, said a statement from Intelligent Engineering, UK-based developer of the innovative Sandwich Plate System. SPS technology uses an elastomeric polyurethane layer sandwiched between two steel plates as a construction material, giving several advantages, especially in terms of reducing weight at high strength, with insulation properties.
"We are delighted to have been working with Sisk on this demanding project. SPS Floors are delivering a high-performance, lightweight solution, which helped to reduce project complexity and keep the programme on schedule," commented Michael Kennedy, ceo of Intelligent Engineering, in the company statement.
The first SPS panels were delivered at the end of September 2009, and a total of about 200 panels (4000 sq.m) of SPS, were used to create the floor plate on which the new amusement arcade and an 85-m high viewing platform is being built.
The SPS Floor has been built directly onto the existing 105-year-old pier structure. The new pier design allows for a floor plate that weighs about 100 kg/sq.m and this could only be achieved because SPS weighs less than a third of comparable concrete floor systems, while delivering the same structural performance. In addition, SPS Floors act as a diaphragm, bracing the main structure of the building.
Once installed the SPS panels provided immediate load-bearing capacity for mechanical equipment, materials and people. As each section of floor was completed work could begin immediately on the main structure, with cladding following-on quickly to provide a weather tight structure. The progress of construction can be seen on a webcam, at http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/webcam/yearinamin.aspx.
Joint owner of the historic pier Kerry Michael said: "These innovative floor slabs are one of many creative solutions that we have had to come up with to solve the challenges that are created in building this extraordinary pier. I'm sure there will be many more improvisations before we are finished!"