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Major repairs stabilise historic pump house

Client: Titanic Foundation
Location: Thompson Graving Dock, Belfast
Engineers: RPS
Architects: Consarc
Approved Installer: Stronghold Preservation
Reference No: CS189

Next to the historic Thompson Graving Dock, the huge dry dock in which the Titanic and its sister ship Olympic were both fitted out, there is a large pump house which was suffering from a range of structural faults.

Opened in 1911 and built from classic red Belfast Brick with cream brick dressings, the long terrace of gabled buildings that form the pump house had experienced multiple fractures due to historic settlement and rotation, causing roof spread, water ingress and lateral thrust to the parapets.

This important heritage and tourist site required extensive repairs and stabilisation that would sympathetically restore structural integrity while retaining the buildings’ original appearance.

The Helifix Solution

The Approved Installer carried out a comprehensive survey which identified, both internally and externally, the extent and location of the masonry cracking, failed lintels and separated walls. Working closely with the project engineers and Helifix, Stronghold Preservation undertook extensive crack stitching and masonry stabilisation.

● Cracks were stitched using lengths of stainless steel HeliBar bonded across the cracks into specified, channelled-out, mortar beds using HeliBond cementitious grout. Following repointing, they were completely hidden and in total over 500m of 6mm HeliBar was installed.

● To reinstate failed arches and lintels and also to reconnect main elevations at the corners and to internal cross walls, 134 SockFix grouted anchors were installed, ranging from 1.2m to 5m in length. All anchors were bespoke manufactured and Helifix’s ability to provide varying lengths was a critical factor.

● Clearance holes for the SockFix anchors were diamond core-drilled through the outer masonry and into the centre of adjoining walls and up through failed arches into the masonry above. Anchors were then inserted before being pumped full of grout, filling any voids and forming a strong mechanical connection with the surrounding masonry. Retained cores were then replaced to create an almost invisible repair.

This major repair programme reinstated structural integrity to an important heritage site and was covered by a 10 year insurance-backed warranty.