Work underway on new royal roof

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Norway’s Royal Palace in Oslo has undergone a marked change in appearance in recent weeks. More than 160 tons of steel scaffolding now surrounds the historic building, as construction begins to give the royals and their staff a new roof over their heads.

The unusual steel construction that's been erected around the Royal Palace is in connection with a major re-roofing project. King Harald and Queen Sonja live on the top floors at this corner of the palace. PHOTO: Views and News

The palace itself underwent lengthy and expensive remodeling during the 1990s but the roof was largely neglected at that time. It’s now leaking and that’s caused water damage, so work could no longer be put off.

Statsbygg, the state agency in charge of public buildings, opted for an unusual scaffolding system for the palace. Neither Statsbygg nor palace officials wanted the building’s facade to be covered during the roofing process, which is expected to last about a year.

So instead of building conventional scaffolding around the entire building, the steel was anchored at all four corners and extended over the top of the building. The roof can then be covered with tarps while the sides of the building remain exposed.

The facade of the Royal Palace will remain visible during the roofing process. PHOTO: Views and News

The unique system that creates a “roof over a roof” will allow the palace to remain “dignified” during the construction process, according to Oddvar de Brucq, project leader for Statsbygg.

“Yes, it’s big,” de Brucq told newspaper Aftenposten. “It’s a very large building and we didn’t want to bolt scaffolding to the palace itself. That would have marred the walls and then we’d have to refurbish the facade when we were finished.”

He noted that the system also allows tourists to see the building during the next year and that the system chosen offered higher security. Many a break-in has occurred when other buildings are surrounded by scaffolding during refurbishing projects.

The project is estimated to cost NOK 113 million (about USD 20 million).

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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