Abbey Pynford Achieves Gold in RoSPA Health and Safety Awards

Abbey Pynford are pleased to announce that we have achieved a Gold Award in the internationally-renowned RoSPA Health and Safety Awards, the longest-running industry awards scheme in the UK.

We have been handed this prestigious award in recognition of our practices and achievements in helping its staff and clients get home safely at the end of the working day.

The RoSPA Awards scheme, which receives entries from organisations around the world, recognises achievement in health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

Adrian O’Grady, Managing Director said: “we are delighted to be recognised for this award as it demonstrates our ongoing commitment and attention to Health, Safety and Welfare, which is integral to all we do. The diverse range of systems we offer have been developed with safety in mind; from safe systems of work for underpinning excavations to alleviating trenches on sites with our Housedeck system.”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of qualifications, awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards are the most highly-respected in the health and safety arena, with almost 2,000 entrants every year, and allow organisations to prove excellence in the workplace, demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of not only employees but all those who interact with it.”

The majority of awards are non-competitive and mark achievement at merit, bronze, silver and gold levels. Gold medals, president’s awards, orders of distinction and the Patron’s Award are presented to organisations sustaining the high standards of the gold level over consecutive years.

Competitive awards go to the best entries in 24 industry sectors including construction, healthcare, transport and logistics, engineering, manufacturing and education.

There are specialist awards for health at work, environmental management and fleet safety, and excellence trophies for the best international, new entry, workforce involvement and organisation operating or based in Scotland. RoSPA’s top accolade is the Sir George Earle Trophy.

Headline sponsor of the RoSPA Awards 2018 is NEBOSH – the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health – for the 13th consecutive year.

We will be presented with the award during a ceremony at ExCeL, London on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

For more information about the RoSPA Awards visit

What it Takes to Build the Worlds Tallest Buildings

The tallest buildings in the world take a lot of effort, planning and building materials to construct but do you really know how much goes into these absolutely massive structures?

At Abbey Pynford we decided to take a look at exactly what goes in to them and how long they take and the results aren’t surprising!

19th Anniversary of Belle Tout Lighthouse Move

March 2018 marks the 19th anniversary of Abbey Pynford moving the famous Belle Tout Lighthouse back from the edge of a cliff where it nearly met its end due to coastal erosion.

The history of Belle Tout

Due to many shipwrecks occurring in the area, a wooden lighthouse was constructed on the top of the cliffs of Beachy Head in 1928. This was successful in helping ships to avoid the coast, so much so that a more permanent lighthouse was commissioned to be known as Belle Tout. The Belle Tout Lighthouse was constructed in 1832 on the site of the previous wooden lighthouse on the top of the cliffs.

The constant corrosion of the cliffs reduced its effectiveness until it was decommissioned in 1902 to be replaced by another lighthouse built at the base of the cliff. From then on it had a very interesting history:

1903 – In 1903 it was sold by Trinity House and changed hands many times.

1923 – The lighthouse was purchased by Sir James Purves-Stewart, a surgeon and author.

1939-1945 – It was evacuated during the war and used for target practice by Canadian Troops, being damaged by shells.

1948 – It was taken over by the council due to its historical significance.

1956 – It was then leased out to Dr Edward Revill Cullinan who modernised the building including installing features such as septic tank, mains electricity and water.

1962 – The lease was then sold again and it changed hands many times.

1986 – In 1986 the BBC purchased it and used it in the making of Fay Weldon’s “Life and Loves of a She-Devil”.

1996 – It was purchased by Mark and Louise Roberts to convert to a family home.

1999 – Due to the constant corrosion fears that had blighted the lighthouse since its construction, Abbey Pynford were asked to help intervene and move the lighthouse.

How it was moved

Our Chairman, Paul Kiss, explains the process of moving the incredible structure to BBC News.

The lighthouse weighs 850 tons, so moving it to its new foundations was no easy task. Twenty-two hydraulic jacks were used to carefully lift the building onto four steel-toped concrete beams. The jacks were then used to push the lighthouse along the beams which were constantly greased to keep the building moving.

Belle Tout was successfully moved 17 metres (56 feet) back from the edge of the cliff but with the cliff continuing to erode the lighthouse will need to be moved again and with the current rate of erosion at 60cm each year this is likely to be in 25 years although it could be sooner.

Abbey Pynford Shortlisted for 2 Awards at the Ground Engineering Awards 2018

Abbey Pynford are proud to announce that after making it through the first round of judging we have been shortlisted for 2 awards at the Ground Engineering Awards 2018.

Sustainability Award
The Sustainability Award shortlisting is for our design and build Housedeck ground floor and foundation system and in particular its sustainable credentials compared to alternatives.

UK Project with a Geotechnical Value of up to £1M
We’ve been shortlisted for this award in recognition of our work creating a challenging new retrofit basement in Mayfair, within the client’s budget and accelerated programme.

Our Design Director, Mike Johnson had the following to say after being shortlisted:

“These award nominations recognise Abbey Pynford’s commitment to sustainability, innovation and engineering excellence across the spectrum of foundations and below ground structures, from design and construction of complex retro-fit basements through to tailored sustainable new build foundations.”

With one final round of judging to go before the awards are decided, we will be presenting our entries to the judging panel in April.

Congratulations to all those who have been shortlisted and we will see you at the awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London on Wednesday 6th June 2018.

LABC Hillingdon Technical Seminar – Key Points

We attended the LABC Hillingdon Technical Seminar today where John Patch, our Sales and Marketing Director, gave a talk on the reuse of Brownfield sites.

John spoke about how engineered foundations can aid in the economic development of Brownfield sites and the cost effectiveness and sustainability performance of our Housedeck system when compared to traditional foundations.

We heard from the LABC on their Warranty protection and they advised that a staggering 90% of their claims are in relation to water. This highlights the fact that basements have to be well designed with attention to detail and great workmanship along with maintenance and protection of waterproofing systems. We have engineers at Abbey Pynford that are CSSW qualified to provide advice and manage works on site.

The Building Excellence Awards were also mentioned, with Abbey Pynford Sponsoring the Best Educational Building category!

There were a number of other speakers and topics:

Building inspections

New regulations on security and electronic communications. LABC have produced an App for builders.  Building control pick up on over 450,000 errors a year on drawings before they even get to site.


Refurbishment of buildings and the improvements necessary in MEV installations to meet current fire regulations, specifically consideration of how installations can be suitably and safely cleaned/maintained. Particularly relevant post Grenfell fire.

820 fires in London alone caused or made significantly worse as a result of lack of maintenance to kitchen ventilation (from London Fire Brigade).

LABC Acoustics

Typical defects causing failure in Acoustic insulation and measures to avoid or remediate.  Detailing and workmanship on site highlighted as key areas.

Polypipe Terrain

Innovative systems for refurbishment projects including drainage, ventilation and pressurised systems and fire stops.


Insulation systems to help bridge the Performance Gap experienced between designed thermal efficiency and those actually realised.


Abbey Pynford successfully passes ISO9001:2008, BS EN ISO14001:2004 and BS OHSAS18001:2007

We have successfully passed our ISO9001:2008, BS EN ISO14001:2004 and BS OHSAS18001:2007 assessment without any non-conformance and demonstrated compliance with the latest 2015 standards for 9001 and 14001.

These standards represent Abbey Pynford’s commitment to quality, safety and environmental processes throughout our business

Well done to all of those involved.

What is Underpinning?

Ever wondered what underpinning is, when it’s required and methods of doing it? We’ve produced a handy infographic that shows the most popular types of underpinning.

If you would like to know more please get in touch with our underpinning expert Paul Bailey

Do you know how to be award-winning?

Abbey Pynford’s recently appointed Sales and Marketing Director, John Patch, has written about how to be award-winning.

“Doing a great job is not enough to ensure it is award-winning, you need to ensure you present it in an award-winning way too”

Read John’s full article here:

Hopefully with John’s guidance we’ll be on the path to success!


Housedeck Slab Ready to Pour

Another Housedeck slab fixed and ready to pour. Have a project needing a new foundation? Talk to us.

A 180mm void was required due to the potential for heave and was achieved by using our Deck Support Units (DSUs). As the DSUs are recovered a completely clear void is provided.

This project also required a cantilever section and a hybrid flat slab with local down stand thickenings was designed and installed by Abbey Pynford.

Structural works to London vaults

The existing vaults of many London properties, which typically extend beneath the pavement, offer an opportunity to provide additional space for storage or M&E plant. Typically these are low headroom, small spaces and difficult to use effectively.

As such Abbey Pynford Geo Structures are frequently asked to consider structural alterations of vaults; to lower the existing ground floor level, provide openings between adjoining vaults or both.

These works often involve some specific challenges such as;

  • Shallow existing foundations
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Restricted space and access
  • The strength and structural adequacy of the existing structure may be unknown
  • Lateral thrust at spring points and a reliance upon adjoining vaults
  • Rear walls of vaults retaining highways and subject to surcharge and cyclical loading
  • Internal walls acting as shear walls retaining the rear walls.

Vaults are often adjacent to public highways and therefore are subject to Technical Approval of Highway Structures from the Local Authority

Abbey Pynford Geo Structures can call upon the extensive experience of our in-house Chartered Structural and Civil Engineers along with our extensive Geotechnical knowledge to provide bespoke solutions for these situations.

A recent project within London’s West End that Abbey Pynford Geo Structures were involved with required two vaults to be lowered and the internal supporting masonry wall between the vaults to be removed. The solution proposed by the client team was to underpin the perimeter and install a structural steel box frame in place of the internal wall.

The temporary works required to remove the internal wall and install the steel frame, while retaining the vaulted ceiling over and the soil it supported were detailed and drafted using a 3D BIM model in Revit.

A key requirement of the temporary works was not to significantly inhibit the ability to undertake the demolition of the internal wall and subsequent construction of the steel frame. Within small vaults this is particularly difficult and therefore a cantilever frame within each vault was proposed to enable access to the working area by our operatives.

The innovative design chosen incorporated elements of bespoke structural steelwork with bolted connections which could be manhandled and assembled within the vault and timber beams cut and bolted to follow the ceiling profile. Timber spreaders were used to support the vault between beams.

Following sign off of the design from the Local Highways Authority, the structures were constructed and installed by Abbey Pynford Geo Structure’s skilled labour force.

Abbey Pynford Geo Structures are the recognised market leader in the foundation and complex geostructural engineering sector. We specialise is retro-fit basements, all forms of underpinning, structural opening up (Pynford beams) and lifting and moving of buildings. Projects are undertaken on a D&B or build only basis.

If you have a project that you would like us to look at or just discuss options, please contact us.