Lifting and Stabilisation Experts

Lift of thatched cottage in Cookham to prevent flooding.

Clients for flood prevention lifts tend to be those who have found their ideal home, albeit with a snag – a risk of serious flooding. We can turn an almost perfect home, into your perfect home.

We can’t take all of the credit though; before we get to do anything our clients decide they want to protect themselves, their homes and their families from flooding – all we do is provide the solution.

Whilst a riverside location is a dream for many, a risk of flooding can be the cause of much anxiety. On a sunny day the river in the background adds to the landscape like no other feature can. However, in the rain, with lots more forecast, it can make you feel quite vulnerable.

This was a particularly interesting project. Although you’d be forgiven for thinking the whole building was at least 100 years old, part of the building is actually quite modern. Whilst interesting, this also gives us some technical challenges. These types of structures were never designed to be moved once built, and as such give us a lot to think about. The physical act of lifting a building is actually quite simple; the way in which clients benefit from using us to do the work comes from the experience and expertise we have gained over decades of doing this work. Whilst impressive, raising a building uses fairly basic equipment. The skill, as with many jobs, is in the design, planning and calculations required to ensure not only that the lift goes according to plan, but once it’s done, it’s a permanent solution to the problem.

On this project it was necessary for our engineers to pay particular attention to the the increased height and weight of the new supporting piers. Not only are the new piers designed and built to support the weight of the building, the foundation upon which they stand needs to be up to the job of supporting the additional weight of the larger supports. As you can imagine, at Morcon Foundations, we’ve got this covered. Foundations are quite literally our specialist subject.

A mix of new permanent brick piers and temporary blocks, jacks and props, supporting the entire weight of the house.

As a testament to the original building, the part of the building that was built in the 1800’s lifted with a lot more grace and poise than the much later extension. You can see in the photo above that a certain amount of superficial damage was suffered by the render and blockwork, but only on the newer part of the property. This is a straightforward repair but needs to be monitored during the process by someone who really knows what they are doing. It is also a credit to our engineers that we can lift such a building. There are no ‘textbook’ cases when it comes to lifting; and certainly not when parts of the building are of differing age and construction. If there were a textbook, however, our engineers would probably have written it.

Once the building has been lifted, there is a lot more room to work. Originally, the building sat about 600mm off the ground, with access limited to about 300mm in places.
A very subtle lift. Safely away from flood waters, and with better views; job done.

As you can see, the effect of the lift is very subtle, whilst at the same time remarkable. A quick glance, and it’s only really the steps to the left of the property that hint at the fact that the property is no longer sitting at ground level. A slightly closer look reveals how the homeowners have very cleverly made the most of their new elevated position. The use of the clear glass on both the veranda and also the new balcony has transformed this side of the property in terms of both aesthetic and function. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to sit on that balcony with a cup of tea or coffee, looking out over the river.

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