16: The Steel Arrives!

After many weeks watching men dig holes, at last the steel has arrived.  Now we can see the shape and the scale of the structure we are building.


On Tuesday 16th we found the Square had been occupied by possibly the biggest crane in North Devon.  Shortly after that a lorry full of steel girders arrived.


Every one seemed to be slightly different! Our extension is not a regular shape, and all kinds of angles have to be accommodated.



Although there was plenty of space on the Square to lay out the steel, getting it onto the building site was not an easy process.  The crane driver had to operate blind, as he could not see round the building and hoardings.

Each piece of steel had to be lifted high over the museum building, making sure that the guide ropes attached to draw it gently into position did not snag on the railings on the Museum roof.

Each steel was bolted into its correct position, first into slabs on the ground and then by two men on platform lifts, like a giant meccano set.


By the end of the week, the building was beginning to take shape, and looking amazingly big!

The complicated geometry of the posts and beams is really impressive, and the structure looks really strong.


The following week the last of the roof beams were slotted into place.  Although the ground floor ceilings are impressively high, the building as a whole seems to sit quite naturally next to the existing building, copying its roof line like a mini-me museum.  Thanks to the builders Devon Contractors, Steel Fabrications (Martock), architects Ferguson Mann and structural engineers Momentum for such a successful process.



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