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Newport-based Structural Engineering Firm Helps Save First Egyptian Pyramid

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Newport-based structural engineering company Cintec has completed the contract to help save the first pyramid ever built in Egypt. Cintec were enlisted in 2010 by the High Council of Egyptian Antiquities to preserve the pyramid of Djoser, otherwise known as the Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid was built nearly 4700 years ago by Pharaoh Djoser. A major earthquake in 1992 compounded the results of many other seismic events over the eons and had caused serious faults in this famous archeological structure. The partial collapse of the burial chamber ceiling as a direct result of the earthquake could ultimately have led to the collapse of the pyramid’s central chamber if action was not urgently taken.

This World Heritage project was a matter of concern in the International Community for years and after many suggestions from across the world, Cintec provided the best solution to repair the structure.

Cintec, the structural repair and reinforcement systems company with headquarters in Newport, Wales, has an extensive track record in preserving historical landmarks across the world.  The company has maintained structures including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and countless castles and churches in the UK in addition to The White House in the USA and the Canadian Parliament Building. Also thirteen historic mosques and buildings in Cairo, a pharonic temple Hibis in the Western Desert, and the Red Pyramid near Giza in Egypt using its highly advanced and innovative engineering systems. Such systems include structural reinforcement anchors, which are surrounded with a special fabric sock and inserted into the body of the structure to be secured. The anchor is then inflated with a sympathetic micro grout designed for the purpose using a combination of pressure and vacuum to completely fill the assembly.

Whilst the project started in 2010, it took 18 months to remove stones which had fallen from the ceiling due to extreme site conditions. This had to be carried by hand via tunnels to the outside. Additionally, during the next 6 years there were three changes to the regimes running the country, and the site was vandalised resulting in the Cintec team being unable to progress the repair.

To support the partial collapse of the damaged ceiling in the pyramid and giving more safety to the Cintec team while working, another Cintec technology was made known as Waterwall.

This technology uses both water and air, to mitigate the effects of improvised explosive devices in particular dirty bombs, provides anti-ram barriers and effective mobile barriers for instant relief from flooding.  Cintec’s team of experienced engineers used a combination of these methods in order to temporarily secure the damaged ceiling while permanently repairing and protecting the Step Pyramid from further damage without altering the structure’s outer appearance. The overall value of the project is estimated at 16 million Egyptian Pounds.

Peter James, Managing Director of Cintec says:

‘We are extremely pleased to have successfully finished this project and are always looking for new methods to support and maintain historical landmarks across the globe.  We recognise the importance of both historical and religious structures to their culture’s and hope to continue to develop advanced reinforcement systems that will preserve archeological structures for future generations.  The Step Pyramid project is of particular importance to us as the entire structure could have been destroyed at any point due to the damage on the ceiling and roof caused by the earthquake.  We worked as efficiently as possible on the project without comprising the design or strength of the structure.’

Cintec is familiar with working under great pressure and was called upon by the Indian Government to strengthen the Mangi Bridge in Dehli before the beginning of the Commonwealth Games..Not only did the Cintec team deliver ergonomically sound results, but they also managed to complete the project five days ahead of schedule. Additionally the Governor’s mansion in Trinidad has been repaired and a 62 metre high Chimney in Baku Azerbaijan needed seismic strengthening.

Cintec is currently awaiting decisions on further projects including the Bent Pyramid and the temples at Karnak and throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, amounting to over 10 million pounds.

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