The Thames Barrier Spans 520 metres across the River Thames near Woolwich, and it protects 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges. It has 10 steel gates that can be raised into position across the River Thames. When raised, the main gates stand as high as a 5-storey building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes.

The barrier is closed under storm surge conditions to protect London from flooding from the sea. It may also be closed during periods of high flow over Teddington Weir to reduce the risk of river flooding in some areas of west London including Richmond & Twickenham.

It has been operational since 1984. When needed, it is closed (raised) during high tide; at low tide it can be opened to restore the river’s flow towards the sea. Built approximately 3km (1.9mi) due east of the Isle of Dogs, its’ northern bank is in Silvertown in the London Borough of Newham and its’ souther bank is in the New Charlton area of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The Thames Barrier has been closed approximately 185 times since it became operational in 1982.

The Environment Agency & VolkerLaser approached Hercules Nationwide Limited to provide the scaffolding for its’ maintenance roll out programme. VolkerLaser, VolkerFitzpatrick & VolkerWessells had previously worked with Hercules Nationwide on Edmonton Power Station and were aware of the competence, project management & infrastructure Hercules were able to deliver on this sensitive project.

Scope Of Works:

Provide Scaffolding Access For The Thames Barrier For The Planned Maintenance Roll-Out Programme.

Provide Scaffold Design Engineer Drawings With All Loading Calculations & Risk Assessments

To Include Scaffolding Installations Near To / Over Very Sensitive Operational Machinery.


Access To The Thames Barrier With The Equipment Was A Difficult Task Due To The Nature Of The Barriers Design Landscape

Access Included The Need For A Considerable Labour Requirement In Order To Handball The Equipment Safely & Efficiently Across The Barrier

Repair Works Included Works In The Lift Shafts. The Equipment In the Lift Shafts Are Highly Susceptible To Dust

Every Care Needed To Be Taken To Ensure That Any Dust Was Kept To An Absolute Minimum

Operatives Working At Height & Above Fast Moving Tidal Water Conditions


Scope Out Works With The Environment Agency & VolkerLaser Staff to Ensure The Brief Was Fully Understood & Would Be Executed Effectively

Scope Out Scaffolding Design Requirements With The Scaffold Design Engineer & Provide Full Design Engineer Drawings With All Loading Calculations & Risk Assessments

Provide Detailed RAMS For Discussion & Approval With All Operatives & Stakeholders Involved

To Provide Encapsulation To The Mechanical Equipment To Prevent Any Dust Contamination. Special Measures For Controlling Dust During The Works.

Bespoke RAMS To Include SSOW For Working Near / Over Water

Bespoke Manual Handling SSOW & Monitoring For the Equipment Handling

Monarflex Encapsulation To Scaffolding To Contain & Protect Areas Of Works.

Agree & Approve Methodology Of Installation With The Environment Agency & VolkerLaser

Supervised by Gold Card Supervisors / SMSTS Throughout


The project was a significant success. All the scaffold installations were delivered on time and to budget

Hercules’ experience in major & sensitive scaffolding installation contracting enabled VolkerLaser to complete the maintenance programme on time.

Hercules team’s experience meant that we understood the client’s requirements and had the skills and capabilities to deliver the project on time and to a very high standard.