Shoreland Access celebrates conclusion of Glasgow Tower work

An expanding North-based inspection and rope access company is celebrating the successful conclusion of its contract to work on a national landmark

Shoreland Access has been working on Glasgow Tower
Shoreland Access has been working on Glasgow Tower

An expanding North-based inspection and rope access company is celebrating the successful conclusion of its contract to work on a national landmark.

Shoreland Access Ltd was awarded the prestigious project to assess the structural integrity and carry out remedial works at the Glasgow Tower ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the city.

The three-week project, from Glasgow Science Centre, was completed under budget and on time.

Neil Cox, Shoreland business development manager, said: “The tower is as famous for its chequered past as it is for its striking appearance and engineering ingenuity.

“Since its opening in 2001, it has spent the majority of its life closed.”

Owner Glasgow Science Centre hopes to have the 127m structure – the tallest in the world in which the whole structure is capable of rotating 360 degrees – back in use for next year’s Games.

Structures as high as the tower are subject to a lot of stress. Cox added: “It needed a structural inspection before new lifts could be put back into service. We inspected all the fixtures that the new lifts will be attached to.

“Rope access was used to check and replace any panels that had become unsafe and were at risk of detaching themselves from the tower in high wind.

“The rope access method was also used to repaint parts of the Observation Deck which is located 345ft (105m) up the 417ft structure.

Shoreland Access, of North Tyneside, has three divisions – Marine, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and Rope Access.

It was the Rope Access and NDT divisions that worked on the Glasgow project.

The Marine division undertakes work such as hydrographic and environmental surveys as well as safety boat work for local authorities, private enterprises and large multi-nationals such as BP.

Cox said: “Rope access is where fully-qualified and trained personnel will abseil down a structure or building to carry out any maintenance work required.

“This eliminates the need for any scaffolding or platforms which may otherwise be required in order for maintenance to be carried out at a high level.

“Our NDT division carried out extensive structural survey work using the ultrasonic UT method.

“This uses high-frequency sound energy in a pulse form to conduct examinations and inspections and make very accurate measurements for thickness checks or corrosion mapping.

“We were looking for fatigue cracks and faults in the metal. We also had the workforce replacing rivets.”

Shoreland Access now has an open-ended contract to carry out annual inspections at the Glasgow Tower.

The business was formed nearly three years ago by Cox, his uncle Ken Miles and cousin Jack Miles, all from the North Tyneside Access. They recently moved to new premises on Cobalt Business Exchange, Cobalt Park, in the borough.

Cox said: “The Glasgow contract was a prestigious one to win as there were quite a few companies in for it.”

And he revealed that the ambitious young business is expanding rapidly.

“We have 15 members of staff across all areas and have recently taken on five new employees – three rope technicians and two NDT technicians.”

Shoreland Access is working on a variety of projects across the country.

The Non-Destructive Testing division is employed at a range of locations, while the Marine Division is working on refurbishing the hand rails and inspecting the blades on wind turbines off the coast at Blyth, Northumberland, as well as acting as safety coordinator for the National Grid’s installation of new pylons across the river at Teesside.

And Rope Access has just taken down piers at the Valley Parade ground of Bradford City Football Club, as well as cleaning fascias at Heathrow’s Holiday Inn, among others.

Cox said: “It’s going really well, fingers crossed.”

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