Abbey Pynford Are Shortlisted for 2 Structural Awards by The Institution of Structural Engineers

Abbey Pynford are pleased to announce that one of our projects has been shortlisted for two Structural Awards by The Institution of Structural Engineers.

Our works at The Queens Theatre in London’s west end have been shortlisted in two award categories (Structural Transformation and Outstanding Value).

The Structural Awards are the world’s foremost celebration of structural engineers as innovative, creative design professionals and the guardians of public safety.

For over 50 years, the Structural Awards have showcased the world’s most cutting edge engineering achievements. Past winners include iconic structures such as the Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou Centre and the Severn Bridge.

Works on the Theatre included the design and construction of complex structural alterations to a Grade II listed West End theatre. Involving the removal of load-bearing vault walls and construction of new steelwork to support vault arches beneath the adjacent highway, and the creation of new stage level space by partially removing a primary loadbearing curved masonry wall from basement to second floor level. Operations above and below stage level comprised underpinning, encased and composite structural steelwork, Pynford stooling, reinforced concrete cantilever ribbed slab and composite diaphragm shear walls. This was all achieved without interruption to rehearsals and daily performances.

Mike Johnson, Director of Engineering at Abbey Pynford, said: “This is great recognition of our skills, knowledge, engineering excellence and acknowledges Abbey Pynford’s status in the international world of Structural Engineering. We extend our thanks to all stakeholders of the Queens Theatre project and many congratulations to all those involved in this project

The Structural Awards 2018 ceremony will take place on Friday 16 November at The Brewery, London.

Frequently Asked Questions: Housedeck

(Standard pile supported foundation system Vs Pile supported Housedeck)

What is Housedeck?

Housedeck is a proprietary foundation system and replaces the need for traditional strip foundations or pile & beam along with the associated brickwork and sub-flooring; improving quality, reducing costs and construction times on your site.

How does Housedeck work?

Essentially Housedeck is a raft foundation, but with our in-house Structural and Geotechnical knowledge, coupled with the latest technology and innovative solutions, we value engineer every job to provide the most effective solution to your foundation requirements.

What are the benefits of Housedeck?

Housedeck has many benefits:

  • Cheaper; when considered as a package solution, Housedeck is competitive against medium to deep strips and all other piled or raft foundations.
  • Quicker; faster construction time and less prone to weather delay
  • Higher quality; Pre-fabricated edge shuttering, accurate setting out and slab finishes
  • Improved programme certainty; A simpler, one stop solution removing interface between foundation contractor and sub-floor installer
  • Improved Safety; No excavations or trenches
  • Reduced preparatory works; often no piling mat required
  • Reduced spoil off site; shallower drainage, no beams or strips and shallower working platform
  • Reduced carbon footprint; Finite element analysis designed to provide the most efficient pile and slab design, reducing materials and thus carbon footprint
  • Cleaner; works undertaken on a clear concrete working surface
  • Pre-approved; Meets all warranty provider requirements (NHBC, LABC, PREMIER)
  • A genuine clear void (where required); no need to design for a crushing load and ideal for flood risk areas where a pathway for water flow may be required
  • Robust; a 100% track record of structural integrity

For more information on our Housedeck system, have a look at our Housedeck service page or give us a call on 01442 212 112 or email us.

Abbey Pynford Finalists for GE Awards 2018

On 6th June 2018, Abbey Pynford were the proud finalists at the Ground Engineering Awards 2018 for the prestigious ‘Geotechnical Value of up to £1M’ award.

Situated at the London Hilton, Park Lane, the event acknowledged some of biggest industry leaders and innovators. This year was of particular importance, as it was the 10th anniversary for the ceremony.

Claire Smith, editor of Ground Engineering said:

“The GE Awards is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and every year the industry has demonstrated that however tight the budget and competitive the market, it can still deliver award-winning innovation, technical expertise and value engineering – and this year is no exception”.

The ‘Geotechnical Value of up to £1M’ award is designed to celebrate a ground engineering contract that’s stood above the rest for its innovation, sustainability, health and safety and of course quality.

Each entrant had to demonstrate the measures that were taken for their project to ensure it exceeded the intended standard.

Congratulations to all the winners!

30th Birthday Celebrations

Last month we were lucky to have great weather to celebrate 30 years since Abbey Pynford was formed with a Family Fun Day.

A fantastic time was had by all with bouncy castles, tug of war, BBQ and face painting!

John Patch, our Sales & Marketing director said “Much has been achieved in the first 30 years and there is much more to achieve in the next 30. Talent and commitment abound within the Company; there is no doubt that the business will grow and will extend its position as a leader in Engineered Foundations.”

Getting Out of the Ground on Brownfield Sites

While it’s easier to build on greenfield sites, the shrinking natural environment has pushed more conscientious developers into the use of brownfield sites. Additional complications can cause the cost and difficulty to ratchet up as the contaminated land requires specialist skills to reclaim. But with the proper techniques, brownfield land can be converted into a viable commercial or residential property with relative ease.

The prime issue with brownfield land is that it will inevitably be contaminated in some way. Either because building work previously existed and is now derelict, the land is in a heavily built up area or the site’s prior use was one that lead to damage to the ground and the project is now based in restoration.

Firstly, it has to be established whether or not the contamination of the land constitutes a danger. Some examples of sites that have potentially hazardous contamination include former factories, mines, steelworks and landfills. The onus for whether a land is contaminated lies with the local authority. If it is found that the land is contaminated then developers will have to liaise with the Environment Agency, who will advise whether or not an environmental permit is needed. They are also likely to offer advice on how to best overcome any specific difficulties.

Once the site is cleared for development, it’s important that the building work is tailored for the unique challenges of the land. A good example is the foundation, the most important initial step in construction. Being previously built upon, the ground conditions of a Brownfield site may be challenging – particularly if the site was a former landfill or quarry. This can make excavation impossible.

In these cases, it’s worth considering different foundation options, such as raft foundations.

There are two types of raft foundations, Housedeck and Comdeck, the main difference being their focus on residential (Housedeck) or commercial (Comdeck) use. Raft foundations are suitable for brownfield sites of all types. They do not require trenches, are usually quicker to complete, and are more robust than a traditional foundation. They also have the added benefit of generally having a reduced carbon footprint.

Once a solid foundation has been established the rest of the build should be straight forward, provided the brownfield site in question has no further restrictions. Developers should remember to check whether the site’s location will have any restrictions on appearance and whether or not it will inhibit construction. For example, a lot of brownfield sites are in urban centres. While the location is good for both commercial and residential properties, it may inhibit your ability to use certain tools.

There are a few hurdles for brownfield developments, but the lowered environmental impact and the sheer utility of the location can make the construction very worthwhile.

Our Commitment to Health & Safety

The construction industry is a high risk working environment, with a high potential for serious accidents and injuries. Workers are exposed to many potential hazards, with some of the most common being:

  • Falling from height
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Exposure to dangerous substances
  • Electrocution
  • Loss of hearing
  • Struck by moving object

Many construction site accidents can result in serious injury or even be fatal. According to research by HSE Gov, the rate of fatal injury in construction is four times higher than the rate across other industries, with 30 fatalities recorded last year in total.

With figures this high, it’s clear the construction industry is falling behind in healthy and safety regulations.

At Abbey Pynford, we are striving to become the most respected Design and Build Foundation Engineering Contractor in the UK by continually improving our health and safety compliance.

In fact, our integrated management system has earned us certifications for OHSAS18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) and ISO9001 (Quality Management Systems). Our employees are always in the safest environment possible.

It is our moral responsibility to protect the lives of our employees, both on and off-site; meaning we are devoted to:

  • Encouraging employees and sub-contractors to work collaboratively on establishing and maintaining safe working conditions.
  • Complying with health & safety regulations, codes of practice and British Standards.
  • Ensuring managers provide on-going training and expert advice on health & safety in the working environment.

In April this year, we were also awarded a prestigious Gold Award in the RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Health and Safety Awards – an internationally-renowned ceremony that is focused on acknowledging achievements in health and safety management, both in leadership and the workforce.

This recognises our continuous dedication to guaranteeing our workforce remain unharmed throughout the working day, allowing them to return home safely.

Adrian O’Grady, our Managing Director said on the award: “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”.

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

If you would like to work with a company who puts the safety and satisfaction of its employees and customers first, please contact us to find out more.

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.