The Bristol Beacon project was a large-scale refurbishment initiative that was completed over a five-year period and involving extensive temporary works design and demolition engineering.

Previously known as “Colston Hall,” this structure has undergone an extensive transformation involving a complete stripping of the building’s internals and adaptation of the structure, culminating in its refurbishment into a state-of-the-art theater.

Contractor: DSM and Wilmott Dixon

Client: Bristol City Council

Project Overview

Andun’s involvement in this project began at the tender stage.

Following the award of the project Andun provided temporary works and demolition engineering support on an array of complex elements of the project.

Ranging from the design of temporary ties across arches to intricate needling schemes.

A significant part of our involvement revolved around designing a vast facade retention scheme for the main hall,  stage area and rear gable wall. This main hall area  measures ~50m x 23m on plan and its outer walls are 16m high. Beneath the main hall are two vaulted levels.

Three different facade retention types where implement on this scheme, to provide the most efficient system for each area of the structure. (as pictured below)

Clash Detection

Andun provided clash detection analysis between the temporary work structures and the proposed permanent structures.

The permanent works and temporary works had to restrain the facade in a similar way, meaning that they were very close to one another; a point cloud of the as installed temporary steelwork was used to check against the intent.

AEC completed this check and devised the installation sequence for PW’s to ensure that sufficient support to the outer walls remained throughout.

Facade Retention – Central Frame

The central system was detailed as a trussed portal frame to provide a robust and efficient system that allowed access within.

We designed this part of the structure to be assembled in modules. Each module concise of two end panels that were fabricated off site and then bolted to make a ‘box’ on site.

These were then stacked and bolted together to create the frame. This modular approach simplified construction activities on site and minimised risk.

Facade Retention – Gable End (Cyan)

This system provided essential support to the rear wall at two levels, using trusses.

These trusses transferred the lateral forces downwards though another truss that was tied down to a large stone pier. Remedial works that were planned to the pier were co-ordinated with the installation of this system.

Facade Retention – Stage End (Purple)

The stage-end facade retention system provided support by transferring the lateral forces back to adjacent shear walls (effectively replacing the action of the previous roof system).

It also utilised a truss to tie the two main piers, producing a hybrid portal frame.

Heavy Duty Propping/ Jacking & Sequencing

The most complicated aspect of works involved the trimming of two of the structures most heavily loaded masonry piers.

The package had to consider several items of temporary works that were providing overall stability to the exterior walls of the structure, as well as allowing for the permanent works to be installed around the propping system.

AEC completed the sequencing for these works, design of all associated temporary works and the analysis of the stability of the structure throughout the works.

One of the main checks was the analysis of the stresses within the piers during each phase of the process, considering load history. This necessitated that the temporary props had to be preloaded to ~550kN in order to remove a portion of the load in the piers.

Another key aspect of the works was the need to provide lateral restrainy to the piers during their partially demolished state. 

We designed several small bespoke fabrications that allow for the props to be easily interchanged as required in the sequence demolition/ construction sequence to ensure stability.