Treading carefully with Canal Centre scheme

Our structural engineers are well equipped to handle and provide innovative solutions when working on sensitive historic and listed property.


The elliptical Tiverton Canal Visitor Centre building was designed by our architects to merge into its surrounding landscape through the use of natural and traditional materials including green oak cladding and terne-coated steel, intended to weather giving the impression of lead.


This project however gave us an interesting structural engineering challenge as the centre is constructed on an old retaining wall, within which sits a Grade-II listed lime kiln, lying beneath the canal basin. As a result, extensive surveys and archaeological ground investigations had to be carried out first to locate and ensure the foundations of the visitor centre did not damage the kilns in any way.


Working closely with English Heritage, the wall was monitored to ensure it was not disturbed. Twelve piles were carefully driven into the ground, missing the lime kilns, to provide foundations.  A specialist steel frame sits across the piles to support the timber structure.


The visitor centre opened in April 2013, providing interactive education about the vital role the Grand Western Canal has, and continues, to play in Devon’s vibrant heritage. This £305,000 project was funded by Devon County Council, with contributions from Tiverton Town Council and The Friends of the Grand Western Canal.