Award win locks ECS Engineering Services into Scottish heritage
ECS Engineering Services, in conjunction with Mackenzie Construction has won the prestigious 2019 CECA (Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association) Heritage and Restoration Award, for replacing canal lock gates at two locations, one a World Heritage Site.
One of Scotland’s premier tourist attractions, and therefore vital to the national economy, the Caledonian Canal was designed in the late nineteenth century by Thomas Telford to allow shipping easy passage between the North Sea and the Atlantic. Located in the Great Glen, a geological fault that runs right across the country, about 60 of its 70-mile length is made up of natural lochs.
The World Heritage Site, Fort Augustus, includes six pairs of lock gates, while two miles away at Kytra there are two more pairs. ECS has fabricated these gates and installed them in association with civil engineers Mackenzie Construction.
The new gates are among the largest in the UK and are made of steel, so have a life expectancy far higher than traditional timber gates. They are supported on Orkot marine bearings, which use a synthetic composition incorporating solid lubricants to ensure outstanding wear life.
Jamie Wesley, ECS Operations Director says: “It was important that the new gates look almost identical to the old ones. These locks are very important heritage sites and Scottish Canals rightfully required us to do our utmost to maintain their visual appearance.
“They also wanted us to develop a solution that would minimise lock gate maintenance, and thereby provide high levels of uptime to allow the passage of boats and provide the best possible views for sightseers.
“By working with design house KGAL we have produced gates that will withstand constant immersion, Scottish winters, and possible collisions, whilst providing a life expectancy double that of timber gates with very little maintenance.”
The CECA Awards are designed to cover all aspects of civil engineering and are organised on a regional basis. For Scotland, any built environment project completed within the past year that has made a difference to the community it serves, or to Scotland as a whole, could be entered for an award.
The winners were selected by a judging panel, consisting of civil engineering professionals from a range of sectors, including roads, rail and water. Each project was allocated two visiting assessors from the panel, who scored it against agreed criteria. Results were then discussed at a meeting of all judges, during which votes were cast for the winning projects.
For the canal locks, the judging panel was impressed by the team’s engagement with the public, the delivery on time, despite huge constraints, the effective joint working between client and contractors, and the Canal School training initiative, which supports local jobs and promotes careers in the industry.
Grahame Barn, Chief Executive of CECA Scotland says: “Civil engineers shape the world around us and the awards recognise the hard work, ingenuity and expertise of Scotland’s civil contractors. They highlight how civil engineering can transform Scotland, inspire the next generation to consider careers in the sector and encourage both the Scottish and UK Government’s to put infrastructure first.”