The Highest Fall Protection Posts In The UK
One of our proudest moments at Safety Fabrications was our involvement with the construction of the highest building in England and Wales, Hafod Eryri the Snowdon Mountain Café. Our fall protection posts are installed on the roof of the building and are the UK’s highest fall protection system. We’re taking a look at the history of the buildings at the top of Mount Snowdon today – a long and rich history of the UK’s highest tourist attraction centre.
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and a popular destination for both tourists and climbers alike. The first building ever to grace the summit of Mount Snowdon was a café built in 1838 selling refreshments to visitors. When the popular Snowdon Mountain Railway opened in 1896 it represented an easy way for sightseers to visit the top of the mountain to check out the stunning surrounding views. Visitor accommodation was provided along with another refreshment sales outlet and tourists flocked to Snowdon which is known as ‘Yr Wyddfa’ in the local Welsh language.
In the 1930’s the facilities at the top of the mountain were replaced by a new station building designed by Sir Clough Williams Ellis, the Welsh architect best known for the creation of the village of Portmeirion. Mount Snowdon continued to attract visitors on an increasing basis with its visitor centre and café. However, as time took its toll on the building at the top of the mountain, the flat roof (designed as a viewing platform) began to leak and the building became increasingly shabby and unkempt.
The Prince of Wales (famous for his outbursts on architecture all over the UK) described the building as the ‘highest slum in Wales’. Before long a campaign to replace the building was underway and a new RIBA Award winning visitor centre was designed by Ray Hole Architects and built by Carillion. This fabulous new building was christened ‘Hafod Eryri’ (a summer residence in Snowdonia) and was specifically designed to withstand the extreme weather conditions at the summit.
Building work was a challenge as all materials had to be carried to the summit by train. Constructed from granite sourced from Blaenau Ffestiniog and Portugal, the internal walls of the building are clad with Welsh oak. Over 60% of the labour used to construct the building came from Wales, with stonemasons having to cut the stone for the curved walls on site. The steel frame construction for the building was originally built in the Shotton steelworks to undergo testing and then reconstructed on the summit.
School children from local Beddgelert and Llanberis provided the contents of a time capsule that was laid in the floor of the building during its construction. The building was officially opened in June 2009 by Rhodri Morgan, First Minister for Wales at the time.
Here at Safety Fabrications we collaborated with the design team to provide fall protection posts made from the most robust materials available in order to withstand the extreme weather at the summit and offer the safest fall protection system available. Posts were fabricated from 316 stainless steel and shipped to Llanberis for their train ride to the top of the mountain.