This month we had the privilege of completing a safe access upgrade to the internal ladders in the spire of St Ignatius Church in Richmond.
St Ignatius’ Church was designed by architect William Wardell and built in stages between 1867 and 1928. It is made from bluestone, gothic revival in style, and at the time of its completion was the tallest building in Australia at 65 metres high. It is one of the largest churches in Melbourne and contains many stained-glass windows, a magnificent marble high alter, a Fincham organ in the choir loft, artworks and statues, to name but a few of the building’s impressive features.
Safety Plus Australia was contracted by HSR Australia Group to replace all the existing timber ladders within the spire with new aluminium ones and the existing steel ladders to have vertical static lines retrofitted. The timber ladders were well over 50 years old and had deteriorated significantly and were no longer safe. These ladders are to be used by the restoration team, currently working on the walls and floors of every level of the church.
The challenge for our installers was the height and depth of the spire in which the ladders were located. The spire reaches 8 levels high and gets narrower as it climbs. The access point into the spire to transfer all the materials was only 800mm high by 800mm wide and everything had to be transported manually. The ladders were cut into pieces, carried through the opening, around the scaffold to the alimak, then down the alimak to the bin. The whole job was completed without the use of EWPs or cranes and the inside of the spire was very hot and stuffy. There was very little ventilation or visibility and there were a lot of animal droppings, it was an all-round very dirty job!
Here’s what our client had to say:
“The Safety Plus installers have finished the works on site here for the spire access and I just wanted to say they are an absolute pleasure to work with and have done a fantastic job in the spire which was not the easiest place to access or work in. The architects and myself are very impressed with the access system that your company has built inside the spire.”