The Project

A striking modernist building in the Brutalist style, the Tinbergen Building was Oxford University’s largest teaching and research building until the discovery of asbestos within the structure caused it to be closed in February 2017.

The University now has an ambitious plan to replace the Tinbergen Building with a new ‘Life and Mind Building’, which will be home to the Department of Experimental Psychology and a new Department of Biology, incorporating the existing departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology. The new building will combine labs and lecture theatres with spaces for public engagement and conferences.

To clear the site for the new facilities, Erith was contracted to demolish the Tinbergen Building and carry out enabling works to the adjacent and adjoining buildings.


The Solution from Millcroft

Erith required an access solution to carry out the demolition safely while protecting the public from the asbestos fibres within the structure and any demolition dust and debris.

The project was divided into two phases. Phase 1 comprised the asbestos removal, for which a low level scaffold was needed. This was designed by the in-house engineering team at Millcroft. The scaffold was fully-wrapped to provide protection for the public, contributing to the safety plan for removal of the asbestos.

For the second phase, the existing low-level scaffold was adapted with new levels added to enable a top-down demolition of the building. Once again, the scaffold was fully-wrapped to control dust and manage risk, and each level of the scaffold was engineered to meet the loading requirements for mechanical demolition equipment.

In addition to providing full design, erection and adaptation services, the Millcroft team also carried out method and logistics planning, overcoming the challenges of Oxford’s narrow roads and cycle lanes to deliver the project within a time-critical programme.

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