Castle & Pryor

Castle & Pryor’s work on West London Film Set

  • 21 Mar 2024

Castle & Pryor has recently worked on a West London film set – the task at hand being the removal of a concrete water tank, which this article explores…

The film industry in this country, and specifically the South East, is going from strength to strength, with many companies investing in new infrastructure and studios.

This provides potential work for local companies and opportunities to provide solutions to problems out of their normal working scope.

These film productions can require the construction of a large tank to replicate water scenes that can then be filmed in a controlled manner.

This particular scene required a hexagonal tank, 18.0m x 18.0m with walls 1.0m high, 250mm deep and a concrete floor slab 150mm deep.  The tanks purpose was to retain the water for a scene where a large volume of water smashed through a glass wall.

Traditionally, these were constructed using sections of composite material bolted together on site, which had proved costly and was prone to leaking.

Castle & Pryor

The solution

Castle & Pryor’s client, MTD Formwork, provided an alternative cost effective solution, which also removed the risk of leaking. They proposed to form the tank using an in situ concrete shell construction method. This would be constructed on top of a protective polystyrene layer to ensure the studio floor wasn’t damaged. The problem they then faced was how to remove this concrete shell once production was completed. This is where the experience and expertise of Castle & Pryor was called upon.

The concrete tank had to be removed within a very tight program to allow the film company to hand back the studio on time. It was also essential it did not cause any disruption to other filming activities and day to day operations of the studio complex. Because of this, traditional methods of breaking the concrete with robotic demolition machines was not an option due to the noise and vibration disturbing others and damaging the studio floor.

Castle & Pryor

How did Castle & Pryor remove the pool?

To work within these restrictions, Castle & Pryor cut the tank into sections using a Diamond Sawing Technique to allow removal out of the studio and disposal off site.

The walls were removed first using a combination of Tyrolit WSE 1217 and Husqvarna WS 482 track mounted saws, to form a cut around the perimeter of the tank at the bottom of the walls flush with the floor. Then, vertical cuts were made at each end of the wall, again, with track mounted saws. The walls were then removed by MTD Formwork using a telehandler to waiting flatbed lorries for disposal off site.

Castle & Pryor

Once the walls were removed, the floor was cut into sections using a Husqvarna FS 7000 floor saw. These were then removed using the telehandler for disposal. A Husqvarna K6500 Ring Saw was used to finish any end of cuts that the larger track and floor saws couldn’t reach.

The client provided water control during the cutting process using wet vac units supplied by Castle & Pryor disposing of the wastewater collected in site skips.

Castle & Pryor

The Results

There was a five day program to remove the tank and completion took place, within budget, safely in four.

The film company were very impressed with what they saw as a titanic task completed at such speed and with minimum disturbance.

Castle & Pryor

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