Big Foot Systems Supplies Extensive Support Structure to an Off-Shore Wind Farm

Install DateJuly 2017 - 2013 August 2017
Roof FinishPVC Membrane
SupportedSafe Access / Chiller Support / Large Ductwork Support

Big Foot Systems has supplied rooftop chiller plant and ductwork support, safe access and high level maintenance platforms, to a £25 million project to construct a high voltage onshore substation as part of the new “Hornsea Project One” offshore wind farm. The new substation is located near Immingham in North East Lincolnshire and has been constructed for Ørsted A/S with Balfour Beatty the principal contractor on the project. The wind farm will provide enough electricity to power well over 800,000 UK homes.

The substation project included the construction of core buildings and compounds by Balfour Beatty. The flat roof of the substation was single ply PVC membrane which posed a challenge for locating chillers and safe access on the roofs. Traditionally, penetrative supports are used for chiller and safe access installations on flat roofs but it was feared this would damage the roof while penetrations in the single ply membrane would risk both potential leaks and thermal bridging. Since the roof could not be penetrated without the risk of waterproofing issues, Balfour Beatty specified Big Foot’s non-penetrative supports.

Big Foot Technical worked with contractors Balfour Beatty to design a solution which combined the maintenance platforms with plant and duct support. A survey of the empty roof space was undertaken to ensure the massive structure would fit. 

Due to the restriction of space, some of the walkways had to be cantilevered off the edge of the building and so calculations were done to use the correct amount of ballast, ensuring that the walkways were safe for contractors carrying all the tools and equipment needed to service the plant. Detailed drawings were provided along with all the technical data to back up the designs and, due to the complexity of the install, Site Engineer Nathan Wood attended for the first day of installation.

“It was very interesting to try to create a support system that brought together many different design practices into one massive structure along with the technically challenging cantilevered walkways” explained Nathan Wood, Site Engineer at Big Foot Systems. “The install was very smooth considering the puzzle-like nature of the framework.”

Since there was a very tight time constraint on this project, Big Foot Technical used as much stocked product in the designs as possible to keep the lead time as short as possible. The final design used a combination of bespoke frame work, custom access walkway and duct support to create a large double stacked lattice type frame with GRP walkway and handrail around the perimeter. From initial enquiry to the first day of installation took only three months - a very short time frame for this scale of project. This section of the project was completed in August 2017 and the wind farm is due for completion in the middle of 2018.

Big Foot Systems works closely with every client to supply the right support solution for every job. With the aid of technical surveyors, a highly skilled engineering team and use of engineering tools such as ANSYS (FEA/CFD) etc. Big Foot Systems can design and manufacture complete one-off solutions.


Bespoke Frames are project specific non-penetrative support frames for large, heavy, irregular shaped or unevenly loaded plant. The Big Foot Safe Access range is designed to allow a secure route for service engineers and other trades to gain access to plant and for managing the flow of other personnel.

Big Foot Systems’ non-penetrative products and systems are quick and easy to install ensuring project cost and time clarity, thus reducing the need for complex, time-consuming and expensive detailing. Offering improved roof aesthetics, Big Foot Systems provides engineered solutions that are innovative in design, robust and repeatable. Big Foot combines market leading products and services, which include system design and on-site support. Available to install in all weathers utilising familiar componentry, all systems are designed with safety, security and simplicity in mind. Finally Big Foot Systems offers short manufacture and delivery lead times to help a project meet its schedule and stay within budget.