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George Roberts Ltd have recently been involved in a large-scale project involving three high rise blocks in Plymouth that are to have cladding removed after it emerged it is made of similar material to Grenfell Tower. This project has required extreme fore-thought, dedication and most importantly, genuine partnerships and teamwork to ensure the safety of these buildings and their residents.

19 storeys high, containing a total of 270 homes and 325 residents and located close to the mouth of the River Tamar, these buildings are a familiar sight to the many boats that drift across Plymouth Sound each day. Many consider them as major landmarks for the Devonport area.

After the tragic blaze in London. The panelling is described as aluminium-coated with a polyethylene core. It was received the lowest possible safety rating when put under test-conditions, along with 158 social housing towers in the UK that have been identified as having ACM cladding in the wake of Grenfell.

Plymouth City Council clad the identical 1960s towers in 1999, primarily to protect them against the weather – 40 years of south-westerly gales and horizontal rain had taken their toll on the concrete, which was beginning to become porous. To ensure the safety of the residents, and the longevity of these iconic structures, the local area set out on the task to repair and re-clad the buildings, as well as giving them an update.

Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) were awarded Central Government funding to replace the cladding on the three tower blocks in Devonport. We have been working closely with them to provide the necessary scaffolding and safety equipment to ensure the safe success of the project.


The safety of residents and workers comes first


This project needed to be faced head-on, ensuring that the safety of residents and those nearby was kept at the forefront of planning. We achieved this though the use of exclusion zones, traffic management, safe walkways and correct placement of fans, disabled access consideration and specially developing a new fire-retardant triple-stitch to keep weather out and allow light in.

Due to the nature of the task and the reason behind it, all possible fire precautions had to be taken. During cutting and drilling tasks, a fire sentry was present at all times complete with fire extinguisher. It was a pre-requisite that no wooden boards would be used on site and all boards had to be metal, and to this end we have procured and hired in excess of 10, 000.

The true success of this project comes from the teamwork that was required to complete it successfully. There were weekly management meetings and regular joint site walk rounds were also held. The client site teams were constantly walking around the site to oversee all aspects of the project. Non-working supervisors would meet with the site management team every morning and be briefed by the clients site team prior to carrying out their morning brief to the scaffolding teams.

Health and Safety is at the heart of George Roberts Ltd ethos, and working together as a team with suppliers, clients, workers and even residents was paramount to ensuring that this important task was completed safely and successfully.




These are just three of the 158 social housing towers that have been identified post-Grenfell as having ACM cladding, only 46 (29%) of which have had the necessary remediation work completed.

●         The timescales involved were 10 weeks erection, 50 weeks hire, 10 weeks to dismantle.

●         Prior to the on-site work, 31 design drawings had to be produced.

●         The buildings are identical 1960s towers

●         19 storeys high

●         A total of 270 homes

●         325 residents

●         Received 4 employee of the month awards from the main contractor, Midas Group.


George Roberts Ltd supplied:


✔       Planning & engineering work

✔       400,000 feet of Tube

✔       40,000 Drop Forged fittings

✔       7,000 Ready Lok Transoms

✔       5,000 Extendable Transoms

✔       10,500 Galvanised Steel Scaffold Boards

✔       100 Prefabricated Aluminium Staircase Units



●         To reduce the risks at the design stage, the following points had to be considered.

●         Where to place the exclusion zone to enable save erection of the scaffold and protection of public and workers.

●         Traffic Management plan for the safety of members of public and workers.

●         Protection of residents by designing safe walkways and placement of fans.

●         Placement of hoists and staircases for escape routes.

●         Access for disabled must be considered.

●         Galvanised steel boards, due to the cladding issue there could be no flammable materials on the scaffold.

●         The programme was intense, and deliveries had to be timed and organised well in advance as there was no storage space on site.


For more information on our range and prices, please contact a member of our experienced team:


Tel: + 44 (0) 151 524 2434

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When a dormer window unexpectedly collapsed, a structural weakness to the roofline was exposed. Due to the shape of the building, a highly complex engineer-designed scaffold was created to overcome the added complication that the 500 year old building is surrounded by a moat. Special sized components had to fit tight and safely so the attraction could remain open to the public.

17,000 roof tiles

The tiles were in need of repair are black-glazed pantiles, bought by the 4th Baronet to replace the originals in the 1770s. At the time of purchase, he noted he required 50,000 pan-tiles and 800 ridge-tiles from Holland as any was weatherworn, cracked and damaged.

27 chimneys

These elaborate chimneys are standing tall (if somewhat wonky) on the roof of Oxburgh Hall and with the help of Bulmer Brick & Tile Company, who have the original moulds, those in need of repair will have hand-made bricks created that look as they’ve always been there.

14 dormer windows

There are 14 dormer windows of varying shapes and sizes, all of which need dismantling and rebuilding. The dormers were added in the 19th century and although they’ve held on well for the last 150 years, the collapse of one in 2016 made it clear they’re in need of some TLC.


For more information on our range and prices, please contact a member of our experienced team:


Tel: + 44 (0) 151 524 2434

For interesting updates, please follow Us On LinkedIn 

The Winchester College chapel refurbishment project required a temporary roof structure to allow safe access and protection from the elements during refurbishment work on the lead roof. The chapel is a Grade I listed building, used daily by students and staff, creating operational challenges which required careful and precise planning.

As the college was fully operational at all times during construction works, the safe passage of up to 700 students and staff was critical at all times. Various college activities were also taking place during this period, which included members of the public attending events.

Heras fencing was supplied and set up around the working area and a monitored site compound was formed to prevent unauthorised access. The Site Supervisor arranged break times to suit the key movements around the school and ensured that all works were suspended on the days the chapel was in use.


The Challenge

To erect a temporary roof system and a support scaffold to three sides of the Chapel without tie drilling into the Grade I listed building, also, to ensure there was no damage to the structure or stained glass windows.


The Solution

Prior to any works commencing on site, all parties undertook critical planning meetings to ensure safe strategies. These included;

✔ The production of a working scaffold design for the temporary roof structure & support scaffold to three sides of the building.

✔ Site visits prior to works with the working Foreman.

✔ Regular pre-start meetings with the client and our customer, which allowed for any concerns to be raised and rectified before we commenced works.

✔ The Scaffold structure required kentledge weight, comprised of 50 tonnes of sealed sandbags and 50 tonnes of water stored in IBC water tanks.  Permission to pump water from the River Itchen needed to be granted by the Local Authority in order to use water tanks as kentledge.


This project, with its unique challenges, required quick responses to demands on logistics and high levels of high-quality stocks in order to get the job done.  Project success was delivered within the client’s programme, ensuring this beautiful and historic structure was well restored and preserved for generations to come.


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For information on our product, service range and prices, please contact a member of our experienced team.


Tel: + 44 (0) 151 524 2434


Scaffolding Tool Safety Lanyards

As part of the recent online shop update we have completed, part of this was the addition of a range of Scaffolding Tool Safety Lanyards. These items are becoming a larger part of our industry, across all sectors.

We felt we could offer a range of tools and the correct safety lanyards which would be safe, cost effective and user friendly.

One of our customers called after receiving information from us as part of the launch of the online shop, enquiring to our range and what we could offer.  Sending down our Tool safety user guide and speaking to them in terms of what was required we agreed on supplying full belt sets which included,

Belts and Frogs with intergral D ring for secure connection of tool safety lanyards.

Our military grade plastic D ring, which fits any standard 2″ belt.

Our range of scaffolders hand tools, including spanners with both options of tear drop and cranked connections.

For more information on the full range we have available please visit our product pages here or visit our online shop.



Brexit Vote

During June 2016 the UK held a referendum on its membership of the EU, by one of our long standing customers working within the TV and Media industry. We were tasked to supply Layher Scaffolding items which included public access equipment for the erection of a live broadcasting structure, for both ITN and SKY News to use during the vote and result.

The Layher equipment supplied was all new and incorporated a public access stair along with overhead protection and modular privacy units for the client’s use.

This structure was to be erected within a green space at the side of the Houses of Parliament, within a strict time period and secure area both in terms of people working and also vehicles being used to firstly deliver the equipment and then collect it again.

Our “Total Reliability of Supply” ethos from office to operational and logistics staff ensured the correct equipment arrived at the right time, at the right place and then left when the project finished.

Equipment used

Layher Scaffold



Runcorn Viaduct


The principal contractor Network Rail presented the requirement to scaffold the Widnes spans 1-7 of the prestigious Runcorn Viaduct. Six of the spans are located over the River Mersey and all spans are beneath the operational railway. The tidal River Mersey presents working time restrictions and the volume and requirements of the scaffolding made the overall scheme both challenging and complex.

Following the presentation of the tenders to Network Rail, QED Scaffolding Ltd was awarded the contract for the scaffolding. They were favoured not only commercially but on presentation of their scaffolding design solution, which offered access to all the required area of works.  This was a tube and fitting scaffold design, which could be easily modified and adapted to suit the structural repairs. The design solution was presented with the essential support of their appointed design engineers RDG Engineering, who liaised with QED directors, material suppliers and Network Rail to ensure the designs would be signed off through the Network Rail design checking procedures.

The design process and proving the calculations was a complex process throughout. Many conventional aluminium beams failed on calculations due to the length of the individual spans, and with the boisterous River Mersey below and the rail network above preventing the use of cranes, heavy duty beams were ruled out on practicality as all the scaffolding had to be built by hand.

After careful consideration of the products available, the British manufactured and tested 750mm deep X beam supplied by George Roberts NW Ltd was identified as the only viable option. George Roberts NW Ltd as one of the leading independent suppliers of access, scaffolding and formwork equipment, were appointed the material supply chain partner for the project.

At this stage, George Roberts NW Ltd offered some essential technical support which resulted in the strength of the beam structures being increased through the use of a solid beam spigot.

George Roberts NW Ltd offered further vital technical support, bringing QED’s attention to the potential consequences of bimetallic corrosion (materials corroding when either in or around salt water, as saltwater makes the airspace corrosive). This resulted in George Roberts NW Ltd applying a specialist coating to the beams to eliminate the potential risk.

The use of aluminium tube was favoured by QED Scaffolding Ltd, as the scaffolding operatives were tasked with carrying materials in excess of 200 metres each way from the closest to the farthest point of the viaduct.  As aluminium tube is much lighter, this reduced fatigue and eased manual handling across the project.

Despite the hindrance of storms – Abigail (12-13/11/15), Barney (17-18/11/15), Clodagh (29/11/2015), Desmond (5-6/12/15),Eva (24/12/15), Frank (29/12/15), Gertrude (29/01/16), Henry (1-2/02/16) and Imogen (08/02/16), the scaffold was erected within the programme parameters and in accordance with all HSEQ procedures.

Equipment used

Aluminium X Scaffolding Beams

Aluminium Scaffolding Tube


BSI Scaffold Boards

Uniscaff Stair Tower

Waterloo Station

During December 2013 OSBORNE were tasked with the challenge of re-opening two of the former Waterloo International Station platforms (21 and 22) for use by suburban trains, as an interim (temporary) measure, whilst a long term permanent solution could be designed and funded.

At this time, there was no design in place and was merely an idea. The task faced was further challenged in that the existing infrastructure was not set up for suburban train use in any way and was more akin to that of an airport. There were no functional lighting/PA/CIS systems and the biggest problem above this was how to get the passengers onto the platforms from the main station concourse. Previously, passengers would enter the international terminal at a lower level and then only access the platforms via travellators when called to board the train.

In order to allow free flowing passenger movements for boarding/alighting of trains, a temporary bridge deck was needed that had to be 12 metres wide minimum to cope with peak flows. Access into the area was constrained in that it would not be feasible to deliver materials across the main station concourse at night without incurring a considerable cost, thus the only other access was from the former Cab road and through a small glass door opening. This meant, therefore, whatever construction method we chose for the bridge had to be such that it could be manhandled. The obvious option was to build the structure using tube and fit scaffolding.

Having approached supply partners and principle scaffolding contractor ALLTASK Ltd, work commenced on the early stages of design hand in hand with the main design consultants HYDER (now ARCADIS) ensuring full collaboration and integration of both partners right through to construction issue designs.

Due to the sheer size of the deck needed for the bridge, ALLTASK LTD adopted the use specialist pieces of scaffolding equipment procured from GEORGE ROBERTS (NW) LTD, these being the British manufactured and tested 1.5m XX Aluminium Scaffolding Beam

These innovative 1.5m XX Aluminium Scaffolding Beam not only ensured that the number of tube and fittings were reduced, they also could span greater distances whilst being able to accept higher design loads. The deck was rated to 7.5KN as opposed to the standard 5KN to allow for an evacuation of a crush loaded train.

The whole scheme, including scaffolding, was designed and completed and handed back to the client in less than 12 months. Use of the 1.5m XX Aluminium Scaffolding Beam supplied by GEORGE ROBERTS (NW) LTD contributed greatly to this time frame being adhered to, this simply would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the real collaboration of all partners, ALLTASK LTD and suppliers GEORGE ROBERTS (NW) LTD were exemplary in this. Throughout the construction stages, despite the pace of the works, never did health and safety take a second place to production.


Equipment Used

Aluminium Scaffolding XX Beam



Port of Liverpool Building

Port of Liverpool Building – This outstanding and imposing structure on Liverpool famous waterfront underwent a programmed refurbishment of the building’s exterior from 2010  to 2011    and we were proud being a locally based company to supply all the scaffolding equipment that was needed to complete this particular contract.

Needless to say, all the materials were supplied on time and on schedule which enabled the contractor to complete the works as required.

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