Extensive Structural Damage following Major Fire, Shires House, Bedford

SCOPE:Make safe structure following fire damage and fence the entire site to prevent unauthorised entry


C Jackson and Sons were appointed Principle Contractor to make safe the structure and fence the entire site to prevent unauthorised entry.

Located on what is now known as Bedford Health Village, Shires House was the first building constructed on the site in the 1790’s using bricks from the old Bedford Castle.

It was the Bedford House of Industry before becoming the Bedford Union Workhouse after the 1834 Poor Law’s Act

The ‘Poor House’ closed in 1949 and the Grade 2 listed building has remained largely unoccupied ever since. During this time it has suffered numerous break-ins and vandalism.

Following a major fire, Shires House suffered extensive structural damage leaving parts of the building in an unsafe condition.

A structural report identified high risk areas of the building that required urgent making safe works. There were a number of 15m high masonry chimney stacks largely unrestrained making them very vulnerable to sudden collapse.

Due to the unstable condition of the building our proposed method of remote demolition was agreed with the structural engineer and we were on site commencing careful demolition within 48 hours.

To protect the public temporary block & mesh site fencing was erected around the building by C Jackson & Sons and client appointed security were in 24 hour / day attendance.

The work was carried out using one of our 23m high reach excavators fitted with a rotating demolition grapple and dust emissions were eliminated using water hoses directed from the safety of MEWP boom lift platforms.

On completion of the making safe works, 200m of plywood site hoarding with vehicular access gates was erected, painted and protected with anti-climb paint.

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