The British Museum

Curo Construction


Curo Construction


The British Museum





10 Months

Market Sector


The British Museum is an iconic Grade 1 building in the heart of the Bloomsbury area of London and is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collection of objects in the world. Time and weather have taken their toll on the building and refurbishment works were necessary to preserve this historic building. 

The initial design brief was layered with strict constraints; to create a structure that would not “affect or disturb the building whilst at the same time reducing the visual impact of the scaffold as much as possible” and still achieve the level of access required; all whilst the Museum continued to remain open to the public. 

With vast experience in carrying out projects of this nature and complexity, both the client’s and WellMax’s project teams worked together to formulate a brief that clearly laid out all the key factors that needed to be addressed. Some of these key factors consisted of only applying the imposed loads in specific zones to minimise disturbance of the building as much as possible. With a compliant brief agreed, WellMax’s design engineers set about creating a design solution that would meet these complex requirements. 

The heavy-duty towers erected behind the majestic columns followed the strict loading guidelines and only allowed minimal tube to be on display. To facilitate these works a birdcage and temporary roof were required to the main colonnade with ancillary scaffolds such as the stair and hoist towers. 

“The design of the temporary roof above the portico was probably the most challenging aspect” says Chris Maxwell-Smith, Estimating Director. “The roofs of buildings just aren’t designed to support the imposed load necessary to allow the scaffold interface with the building to be kept to a minimum. We came up with a design that allowed the roof to be dynamic and subtly move up and down with the wind which allowed the loads that are transferred to the building to be drastically reduced. This in turn allowed the volume of kentledge to be minimalised providing more space underneath the roof for the specialist trades to carry out their works.”

To create the illusion of the scaffolding structure not “being there,” WellMax designed and installed a custom building wrap to the front of the Main entrance to put emphasis on the Museum remaining open and business as usual. A custom solution was created that fitted in seamlessly with the other elements of the building. This was supplemented further with custom-coloured debris netting to the low level works for both health and safety and aesthetics. Several samples were produced and presented to the British Museum for a rigorous approval process.

Amidst the scaffolding programme, the country was brought into nationwide lockdown with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, all operations were suspended allowing WellMax time to understand the impact of the pandemic and to implement additional measures to ensure the safety of our team and others.

Following the implementation of our COVID Action Plan at this unsettling time, we were able to avoid any disruption to the project and works were able to recommence within 2 weeks following the initial lockdown period. This was achievable as a result of our committed operatives and management team learning and adapting to the new measures in place.  With advanced ordering of the bespoke printed fabrics and wraps and also with WellMax owning substantial stocks of scaffolding materials this eliminated any potential supply issues.

With the scaffolding complete and the building secure, the main contractor and their specialist trade teams are able to  commence the restoration work. The dismantling stage of the scaffolding will be equally as challenging; with the approved process tried and tested on previous contracts, this should be successful.

Read about our works in our recently published article in Scaffolding Association Yearbook


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