Stowmarket-based Poundfield Products solves construction puzzle in Sunderland

Work on the new tunnel entrance on Roker Pier in Sunderland by Hall Construction.
Picture: Paul Ni

Work on the new tunnel entrance on Roker Pier in Sunderland by Hall Construction. Picture: Paul Nixon Photography - Credit: Paul Nixon Photography

A challenging construction project likened to a 3-D jigsaw puzzle has been completed by Suffolk-based pre-cast concrete specialist Poundfield Products in the North-East of England.

Work on the new tunnel entrance on Roker Pier in Sunderland by Hall Construction.
Picture: Paul Ni

Work on the new tunnel entrance on Roker Pier in Sunderland by Hall Construction. Picture: Paul Nixon Photography - Credit: Archant

Roker Pier and Lighthouse has dominated the entrance to Sunderland’s harbour for more than a century but a refurbishment of the landmark structure involved the construction of a new building at the entrance to a tunnel which provides safe access during bad weather.

Tim Evans, director of bespoke products at Stowmarket-based Poundfield, said the company had first been approached by main contractor Hall Construction Services towards the end of last year.

Its design solution involved six different units in total: two pod sections, one roof section, two roof thickening beams and one end beam, which therefore involved four different and complex moulds being manufactured.

“It was a like 3-D jigsaw and we had to be absolutely precise with our measurements down to the nearest millimetre,” said Mr Evans. “Once approved, we then only had three weeks in which to produce the parts and get them on to the pier for installation.

The completed new tunnel entrance on Roker Pier in Sunderland.
Picture: Paul Nixon Photography

The completed new tunnel entrance on Roker Pier in Sunderland. Picture: Paul Nixon Photography - Credit: Archant


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“I’m pleased to say every piece fitted perfectly and the entrance to the tunnel is ready for glazing and cladding work to begin.”

The project also required careful co-ordination with Poundfield’s lifting and fixings supplier who was then able to calculate the correct measurements for removing the units from the delivery lorry and on to the pier for installation.

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In particular, the 9.5metre roof slab required a special lifting frame to be manufactured, tested and certified ahead of delivery as this was the only means of lifting such a large unit.

Stephen Bromley from Hall Construction Services said he had always been “confident in Poundfield’s capabilities to produce such bespoke sections through experience of working together on other projects”.

Matt Moss, commercial director of Poundfield, added “I’m very proud of our team, both in terms of the design and manufacture of such one-off and precise units, but also the way in which Tim liaised with both our clients and our suppliers to ensure that everything went smoothly and according to plan within very tight deadlines.”

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