Ropewalks Phase 1 – Chinese Arch

Client: Liverpool City Council
Completion Date: February 2000
Duration: 24 weeks
Location: Liverpool, Merseyside

This project was the culmination of many years of canvassing and development of the Chinese business community in Liverpool chaired by its president, Mr Brian Wong.

At the start of 1999, Ropewalks was put in place as a body affiliated to Liver pool City Council to develop the regeneration of the China Town, Duke Street, Ropewalks Quarter over a 5 year period.

The arch itself was constructed in sections in China and shipped to Liverpool in containers where it was re-assembled and installed.

The installation process involved the co-ordinated efforts of Dowhigh Ltd whom acted as principal contractor for the scheme, an interpreter from Liverpool University whom could speak Mandarin and act as liaison officer between the Chinese work force and Dowhigh Ltd.

Overall design was co-ordinated through the architectural practice of Wilkinson Hindle Hallsall and Lloyd with Liverpool City Council providing engineering design and supervision of the infrastructure and structural frame to the arch.

The co-ordination of all site activities required the necessity of a number of key personnel, these included our Site Engineer, our Contract Director and our Health and Safety and Quality Assurance Manager.

All aspects of the works were monitored by the Ropewalks committee which had frequent visits to the site and liaised directly with the funding body (Objective 1) and the Capital Programme of Liverpool City Council.

Dowhighs involvement in the scheme, was from day one on site. This involved dealing with the Feng Shui man during the opening ceremony, having to deal with unexpected services such as a non-chartered water main that ran underneath the arch foundations, liaison with the Chinese Contractors for the arch installation, dealing with specialist scaffold and cranage contractor for the lifting of the arch panels and structural members to the pre-fabricated roof structure.

We liaised with all members of the Chinese business community whom were affected by the construction works relating to the arch especially during the lifting of the roof sections which took place over Christmas 1999.

Because the Chinese workers did not traditionally celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day, Dowhigh Ltd provided supervisory and engineering attendance during these periods to ensure that productivity was maintained and that the contract could be completed to coincide with the Chinese New Year.

The arch provided an impetus to the Ropewalks regeneration and was followed by phase two which Dowhigh Ltd, in conjunction with Henry Boot Plc collaborated in a £7.2m contract re-furbishing over forty streets and public squares within the Ropewalks quarter.