Wimbledon No.1 Court

Engineering and engagement for Wimbledon No.1 Court

Supporting construction of the new rolling roof

GKR Scaffolding started work on-site for Sir Robert McAlpine at Wimbledon Court One in August 2017 after the Championships.

Our remit was to work with SRM to design, deliver and erect scaffold to mobilise access for the new rolling roof construction and the refurbishment of the boxes.

The precision engineering of the scaffold across a number of levels in a complete circular structure has led to visually impressive results. However, the solution was value engineered to enhance productivity and commercial efficiencies, leading to this being a great case study for collaboration.

Planning for engineering challenges between championships

The structure is on three levels and designed to give access to MEWPs and Spider Cranes to access the roof.

The scaffold sits on the thin concrete planks from the existing terrace. Despite the need to load 2.5 tonne MEWPs and cranes on the deck, efficiencies by design meant that no backpropping was needed.

The 780 tonnes of scaffold consists of 40 miles of tube, 81,000 fitting and 5 miles of lattice beams. All was delivered in 43 lorry loads over 2 months.

Six months of planning went into the work to ensure the scheme was as straight forward to build as possible.

This early planning meant that we could overcome some significant technical challenges; namely the steps and seats, and the circular structure needing to accommodate a 16m gradient. The GKR team worked closely with Sir Robert McAlpine’s engineering team to plan around these challenges and value engineer to create cost and time savings without compromising quality or safety.

There were a number of challenges associated with the project relating to the time constraints and the environment we were working within.

Each phase needed to work in 9 month cycles due to the tennis Championships including a month for setup and decamp. The time pressures reinforced the success of early engagement in the planning stages and co-ordination of works with other trades.

The circular structure added complications when basing out, overcome by the highly experienced team who have already worked on a number of complex GKR projects together.

Communication was fluid even between weekly meetings between GKR project management, SRM temporary works engineers and GKR design engineers. This relationship and on-going contact allowed us to continually improve processes; problem solving and sharing ideas.

High performance operational and safety outcomes

As well as overcoming operational challenges and it being an impressive project in itself, this project has also had safety and personal development successes.

We have had zero accidents, incidents and near misses during the 46,000 man- hours worked across a 9-month period.

Despite the tight programme we are RDDOR free.

But also, we have grown and developed a high-performance team during this period. Local labour was hired to join the core team of established GKR employees. All staff have been retained for the duration of the project and every single one has developed over that time. Operatives have been promoted and invested in to move up the technical tiers and some into supervisory/management positions.

This has led to us having a highly technical team on this project, with the highest outcomes of operational performance, client collaboration and safety.

"The scaffold required at Wimbledon was difficult for many reasons - including the client’s special requirements to have the No1 Court handed back in top condition, ready for the tennis championships. Without your positive attitude, many ideas for improvement and your speedy installation, it would have been a very different couple of years."


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