Harsco Infrastructure (SGB) has provided a bespoke CUPLOK® staircase solution enabling safe and reliable internal access to clock mechanisms in Folkestone’s historic Christ Church clock tower. The clock tower is a well-known landmark situated in the middle of the town. It survived heavy bombings to Folkestone during the Second World War and is all that remains of the original church building.

Regularly accessing the clock mechanism and roof hatch had become hazardous due to rotting old existing timber floors and staircases. Harsco Infrastructure were approached by Christopher Hore, the structural engineer for the project on behalf of the client, Shepway District Council. They proposed an innovative permanent solution, based on its standard 3.0m x 1.8m 4-leg CUPLOK® staircase model, strategically positioned in the existing tower structure. With a top platform height of 11.5m, the staircase is supported on new steel beams set into the brick walls, approximately 2.5m from the ground floor level. A Harsco Infrastrcuture self-levelling Universal Staircase provides access to the first landing.

Colin Jinks of building contractors Stretton & Lang comments: “Overall, we are incredibly pleased with the design innovation and thinking that Harsco Infrastructure brought to this unique project. The CUPLOK® staircase provides crucial access to the interior of the clock tower, enabling maintenance to be carried out and helping to preserve this historic structure that holds great importance in the town of Folkestone”.

CUPLOK® staircases are available in a number of configurations and size specifications from Harsco Infrastructure, and all use standard CUPLOK® components. Providing safe and reliable access for site personnel or the general public, all staircases are installed with broad landing platforms with timber or steel battens, double safety handrails, and rigid staircases providing a firm non-slip tread.

The Universal Staircase from Harsco Infrastructure is one of the most versatile staircase solutions on the market. Made from lightweight aluminium, it comes pre-assembled and is quick and easy to install. Self-locking hooks secure the staircase to a scaffold tube or similar member at the top, and lift height adjustment is automatic. Once the required angle has been achieved, the unit is locked in position to ensure total safety. The Universal Staircase, which comes in a range of heights up to 3.5m, conforms to BS EN 12811 and Work at Height Regulations.