Before starting a project as colossal as the restoration of the Royal Chapel, a list of specifications is drawn up. This is a complex but fundamental process that plans every stage of the project according to a precise schedule, taking account of the different professions and the order of their tasks.
How can we guarantee the load-bearing capacity required to move the stone sculptures? How can we access the framework without resting on the fragile vault of the Chapel roof? How can we design a safe, modular structure to allow for unforeseen complications while limiting costs? The design office engineer must ask all these questions and find shrewd answers.
Load-bearing capacity : how to guarantee a sound, functional structure
The structure’s solidity and ability to hold heavy parts was a real test of ingenuity during the design phase. In the case of the Royal Chapel, a three-tiered solution was found.
The first section, called the “foot”, rests on the ground. After a certain height, the structure’s load must be spread and supported by other points. In this case, it could not rest on the roof because the framework was going to be removed, so the second section (intermediate section) is supported by the covering for the lower part using metal tubes that constitute big iron beams. These allow the different scaffolding links (or levels) to be built close to the walls of the nave.
The final section is, without doubt, the most complex. To allow access to the interior of the framework without touching the ceiling of the Chapel, it was decided to build a structure above the roof that the different parts of the scaffolding could be suspended from.