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Step-by-step automated bollard installation at Quarry Car Park in Chester

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

In a previous blog post, we detailed our installation of a bollard at Abbey Square Gateway. In addition to this high-profile project, Maxiflow were also contracted to carry out the excavation and installation of a new automatic bollard system at Chester’s Quarry Car Park, in partnership with MACS Bollards.

Quarry Car Park is a small, private parking facility off Northgate Street, and is owned by Chester Cathedral. The entrance was previously regulated by a rising barrier arm, which unfortunately proved to be a prime target for vandals.

Faced with the costs and wasted time associated with repairing and replacing the barrier, the Cathedral decided to take a different approach and implement an entirely new automatic bollard system.

Maxiflow diagram of the new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

The diagram above maps out the area where the new system was installed, and the following points of interest are labelled in the images below:

  1. The bollard itself
  2. The safety induction loops
  3. The control cabinet
  4. The status lights and access control post

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

The first task involved excavating a trench for the bollard (A). The bottom of the trench was bedded with gravel, and the sides were lined with concrete and cement to give the bollard maximum strength and stability. The bollard itself is housed within a hydraulic mechanism, which enables it to rise and fall smoothly.

To allow for the electrical connections and sensors to be laid along the ground, the existing roadway surface had to be stripped away on either side of the bollard.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

During the planning stages, it was noted that ducting installed for the previous barrier arm system could be re-purposed for the bollard. The location marked at (C) connects to the ducts and was chosen to be the site for the bollard system’s control box.

The empty bollard housing (A) in the above photograph demonstrates that the bollard itself is a separate element. If damaged, the bollard can be removed without dismantling the rest of the system.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

After smoothing the base, an initial layer of tarmac was laid to protect the underside of the induction loop cabling (B). This cabling is pressure-sensitive and is used to detect the approach and departure of vehicles.

This is an important safety feature, as it ensures that the bollard does not rise up underneath a vehicle. This could damage both the bollard and the vehicle and potentially endanger the driver. Induction loops are a smarter alternative than having the bollard rise and fall on a timer, as it allows for greater flexibility in relation to traffic tailbacks and cars breaking down or stalling at inconvenient moments.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

Once the induction loop cabling is laid and connected, another layer of tarmac on top forms the new road surface.

Authorised drivers can raise and lower the bollard by using a keycard or keycard with the control post (D). The post displays two clusters of 25 LEDs which light up green or red to give a clear visual cue to drivers when it is safe to pass through.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

With the control post, control box and and bollard in place, the system is complete and ready for use. We would like to once again thank MACS Bollards for their work in bringing this project to completion.

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New automated bollard system at Abbey Square Gateway

Visitors to Chester are spoiled for choice when it comes to taking in our breathtaking historic attractions. From the top of the Roman city walls down to the Castle, Chester packs a lot into a modestly-sized space – which doesn’t leave a lot of space for parking in the city centre!

Residents and businesses in Abbey Square, off Northgate Street, were growing increasingly tired of opportunistic drivers parking in their spaces. The convenient cut-through to the Frodsham Street supermarkets and lack of pay-and-display parking fees in the square proved too tempting for many visitors.

Abbey Square is part of the Chester Cathedral grounds and is home to many residents, including the Bishop of Chester. The square is intended to be a semi-public space, providing multiple shortcuts through the city and housing an attractive green space in its centre.

The desire to preserve this space for visitors, while also restricting vehicle access to the area, lead to Chester Cathedral and Cheshire West & Chester council‘s decision to install an automated bollard system at the entrance to the square. We at Maxiflow were contracted to take on the task, in partnership with MACS Automated Bollard Systems Ltd.

Simple diagram of Abbey Square gateway bollard placement

Abbey Square’s primary vehicle entrance is the Abbey Gateway, the front of which faces Chester Town Hall. The Gateway is a Grade I listed building constructed circa the 14th century, its beautiful architecture and red sandstone standing as a portal to the city’s past.

The new bollard system was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, in order to preserve the Gateway’s aesthetics. A lone bollard stands in the centre of the cobbled roadway and it is lowered by activating the reader on a nearby control post. The entryway is flanked by a pair of wooden posts, narrowing the profile of vehicles which can access the square.

Maxiflow’s groundworks team dug pits for the bollard and control post and excavated trenches in the road and surrounding paths. These works involved careful removal of sets of cobbles from the road surface and storing them for re-use. Our drainage consultants advised in laying a bed of pea gravel and installing ducting around all apparatus to protect against ingress of rainwater. Our electricians supplied MACS with the power feed for the control tower, in addition to the induction loops.

After installation of the bollard and control post, the pits were backfilled with concrete and all cobbles were replaced in their original positions. The kerbs, flags and the York stone wheelers (the flattened paths that offer tyre protection against the cobbles) were also relaid, or replaced with their closest matches.

Maxiflow would like to thank MACS Automated Bollard Systems Ltd for their work in bringing this project to completion.

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Chester Cathedral Roof Overhaul

Re-roofing Chester Cathedral
We are proud to announce that we have started one of our most prestigious jobs to date!

Maxiflow are in the beginning stages of completely overhauling the roof of Chester Cathedral, one of Chester’s most iconic buildings and an institution that stands at the very heart of the city.

The conservation of our county’s historic buildings is vitally important to everyone at Maxiflow. Observers can rest assured that we are not changing the look of the Cathedral’s roof in any way and aim to preserve its distinctive character to the very best of our ability.

We will have more details as work continues.

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Roofing at Northgate Street, Chester & Ffrith Community Centre

Two new albums are up in our photo gallery:

Northgate Street, Chester

A member of the public spotted the loose slates at risk of falling from the roof of this conservation property. Maxiflow were contacted by Chester Cathedral to perform emergency reactive maintenance to make the area safe and are now engaged in a complete roof refurbishment.

Ffrith Community Centre

Rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd Cyfyngedig have commissioned Maxiflow, in association with Raine or Shine, to install a new roof on Ffrith Community Centre, including fascia boards, gutters and EPDM rubber, in addition to a set of solar panels. Reducing carbon emmissions is a top priority for this registered charity.

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Advisory on lead thefts

Stolen lead from Neston Civic Centre roof

A rash of high-profile leadwork thefts in the Cheshire area has left business owners and public service providers facing steep costs for damages. In the past fortnight, Northwich Library, Neston Civic Hall and Chester Cathedral have become the latest victims of a group of opportunistic thieves who have stripped the valuable leadwork from the buildings’ roofs.

The damage caused by the vandals can be exponential. Not only is the lead removed in a careless and heavy-handed fashion which can ruin the building’s aesthetics, the significant protection offered by the lead disappears as well. It can be difficult to gauge the scale of the problem until adverse weather conditions turn the situation into a disaster. Heavy rain leaked through Northwich Library’s unprotected roof, destroying a quantity of books and ruining several rooms’ décor.

The value of lead is currently at a premium, which has emboldened thieves to attempt high-risk thefts such as these. Though most cases will occur under cover of night, vandals may rely on peoples’ social conditioning to brazenly carry out their burglary in broad daylight. Members of the public are advised to be vigilant, as even from street level there will be signs that the thieves are not legitimate roofers:

  • No scaffolding – Regulations for working at heights require the use of stable platforms when carrying out tasks above a certain height.
  • No Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – Hard-hats, high-visibility vests & jackets and sturdy work boots are all standardised in the roofing industry.
  • No health & safety – trained professionals will never take risks that would endanger themselves or their colleagues.

Stolen lead from Chester Cathedral roof

In all cases, owners of buildings which may be targets for lead thieves are recommended to be pro-active and take steps to ensure that their property remains safe. There are two solutions which can either aid in catching the vandals or removing the possibility of theft altogether:

  • Tracking the thieves – By coating your leadwork in special substances such as RedWeb Asset Marker Gels & Grease, imprinted with a unique forensic mark which can be scanned by UV detection equipment, your lead can be identified at sales channels and returned to you, while the thief will retain traces of the grease allowing for swifter prosecution. This solution is the least expensive and quickest to apply, but still leaves you vulnerable to thieves.
  • Removal of resale value – By replacing your roof with an alternative roofing system such as Firestone EPDM Rubber, you can have the protection benefits of a lead roof without the material fetching a high resale price. This solution has a higher cost up front, but has the guarantee of your roof having no value to thieves, eliminating the need for replacement in the future.

John McLeod, Director of Maxiflow Roofing Services, has said that “this is becoming an increasing problem in urban areas with high populations, with the very real possibility that members of the public are at risk not only of the thefts, but of injury caused by the carelessness of these vandals. We always find that prevention is better than the cure, so would advise that members of the public take steps now to prevent damage to their property or themselves.”


Information and excerpts from this article were featured on the Chester First news website and in the 21/07/2011 Chester Standard newspaper.

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