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Home Tradesman Insights Elizabeth Tower named Digital Construction Project of the year

Elizabeth Tower named Digital Construction Project of the year

In a project that has spanned six years, the restoration of London’s iconic landmark is complete.

The 2023 Digital Construction Awards took place in London earlier this month, with the restoration of the Elizabeth Tower winning Project of the Year.

The £80 million restoration project began in 2017 and was scheduled to be completed in 2021. However, due to a number of setbacks work on the tower wasn’t completed until the following year.

Big Ben remained silent for the majority of the project, only ringing out on New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. This gave workers access to the clock’s mechanism which was in desperate need of attention.

Other changes have seen the clock’s hands and dials painted their originally intended Prussian blue, a stricking change from their previous black. It was believed that black was chosen in the 1930s to hide the impact of pollution.

Scaffolding to access the exterior of the tower took UK contractor Sir Robert McAlpine six months to erect, and required at least one clock face to be visible at all times.

It the biggest restoration project since the tower was built in 1859 and major changes were also made to the interior.

This includes:

• New fire safety systems
• Energy efficient LED lighting
• And a lift for emergency evacuations

The 334-step stone staircase has also been conserved, with an additional glass observation box cloaking Big Ben at the top of the tower.

Cast iron roof tiles, copper and brass decorative details have also been restored by hand, which required each element to be numbered and categorised in an online system. This allowed anyone in the country to see where the piece of restoration fits in the tower, its current location and progress.

An onsite facility was also used to craft replacement stonework by hand, which saw more than 700 pieces installed.

For a more detailed overview of the project, click to watch the video below.

Tradesman Talks

Have you ever been involved in a restoration project? And what famous building in the UK do you think needs saving from the brink?

As always, comments are welcome below, and click the social links to share this story.

Until next time, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

Mark McPherson

Mark McPherson has an MA in Creative Writing and has been crafting content for over a decade. He writes for a range of niches, including the construction industry and insurance sector. Mark has worked internationally as a content writer and teacher.

All articles by Mark McPherson

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