Vinci Construction UKStonehenge Visitor Centre Weather Protection were awarded the prestigious contract for the construction of the visitor centre at Stonehenge, a UNESCO world heritage site.

This development will not only enhance the visitor experience, but will also strengthen Stonehenge’s reputation as one of Britain’s finest cultural icons. This site attracts around 900,000 visitors a year and the new centre is part of a wider £27m project, which included rerouting the A344, along with landscaping Salisbury Plain to counter the environmental impact on these historic stones.

Vinci had previously contracted Tufcoat to work on an industrial project for Princess Foods earlier in the year, using shrink wrap to partition a warehouse and production line. Due to the exposed position of the Salisbury site, Project Manager, Simon Clarke requested a site visit to determine whether the features of the encapsulation would reduce the risk of delays on this project.

Project specification

The visitors centre design consisted of 211 steel columns supporting a main canopy; this internal area was to be encapsulated. Due to the project schedule protecting the site from wind and rain was essential. This was particularly important whilst the ground works were completed and the reinforced concrete floor was laid, due to the conditions that were required for the surfaces to cure.

Tufcoat shrink wrap provided protection of the site in order for work to continue regardless of environmental conditions that would normally halt proceedings.

The entire project required over 500m² of construction grade 300µm flame retardant shrink wrap. The installation was carried out over 3 days; encapsulation of the internal space was achieved by wrapping the surrounding scaffolding. The internal work also benefitted from the properties of the product, which allows up to 80% of natural light to filter through the film, minimising the need for extra lighting.

The benefits of the encapsulation extended through to the latter stages of construction to enable the contractors’ better conditions in which to complete their development, as well as sheltering visitors and site inspections over the period.

Reduction of site downtime subsequently enables projects to remain on schedule and in some cases be completed earlier.

Tufcoats’ products are frequently used for projects that can be restricted due to inclement weather conditions. The principle benefits apply to all manner of projects whether it’s containment of a project that’s required or protection of an asset from weather or transport damage.