Scaffolding costs University £34,000… and could be up for two years

The protective canopy installed outside the Arts Centre in September 2012

The protective canopy installed outside the Arts Centre in September 2012

THE SCAFFOLDING surrounding the Hugh Owen building has cost Aberystwyth University £33,500 and may be up for another two years, the University has revealed.

As reported by Aber Student Media in December last year, the scaffolding was originally installed after a piece of masonry fell from the Arts Centre onto the cafe below.

It now surrounds the Hugh Owen building, home to the Library and a number of academic departments.

Although initially installed to allow for an inspection, the structure now also acts as a “safety net” to “protect the public from the possibility of falling masonry”.

The decision to install scaffolding came after extensive structural surveys were carried out, following concerns over the condition of the building’s structure. As part of that work, structural condition reports were produced, along with recommendations for immediate action and future remedial works.

In a statement, the University said that “extensive work” has already been carried out to remove “loose and potentially hazardous material” from the building, along with number of surveys.

It is understood that the building has numerous issues, and a detailed plan is currently being put together to address “a number of structural problems”.

The University are looking at cladding the building with a rain-screen cladding system, replacing the windows and repairing the roof.

The scaffolding has been in place since September 2012 at a cost of £33,500. The majority of this covers the erection and eventual removal and includes minimal costs associated with weekly hire and inspection charges, and also includes modifications to provide pedestrian lighting and handrails.

The University have paid a further £3,800 for banners which have recently appeared on the scaffolding.

Their intended use has been described by a University spokesperson as being “to make the appearance of the scaffold more acceptable to our site users”, highlighting the impact it has on prospective students’ impressions of the University on open and visiting days.

The University have said that banners have been designed to be re-used in the future.