At the start of the 20th century the UK was home to around 100 piers of differing lengths, ages and layouts. They were in an array of different conditions, with many of them still in use and others lying derelict and unused. Over the last twenty years, the number has sadly dwindled to almost half. In some cases, incredible restoration projects have taken place to bring new life and renewed use to these distinctive structures.
Plans were recently announced for improvements to Weymouth Pleasure Pier. The local council has a plan for redeveloping key sites in the town, including areas in the harbour. The pier is central to this, and discussions are underway to explore the possibility of establishing a ferry service. For this to happen, the structure needs to be repaired because of its current dilapidated state.
Significant structural defects in the pier were revealed three years ago but Councillors made the tough decision that there was not space in the budget for a major overhaul. This meant that the options were to either knock it down completely or schedule works to repair it. Fortunately, the pier remained a significant part of the history of the area and a tourist hotspot, so demolition was ruled out.
It has now been decided that the pier will be closed for six weeks starting on February 1st for the renovation to take place. The major work will be done on the concrete substructure to make it safer for use. It was built in the 1930s to replace the timber frames of the original pier. Repairs will allow use of the pier to continue and could even lead to the cafe being reopened.
To allow repairs to the concrete substructure, structural propping may be needed to support the weight of the pier. Any temporary support structure that is installed would need to be able to handle the load placed on it. This can be challenging with piers because the load will come from the weight of the materials, the wind and the tidal action of the sea. A full survey would be needed before any work commenced to ensure the structure would remain stable and safe to work on for the duration of the project. As specialists with structural alterations in city centres, we look to this project with interest, and are always ready to provide propping solutions to more difficult projects such as these.