Royal Festival Hall



Southbank Centre, London SE1

Location & Overview

The Grade I listed Royal Festival Hall was built on the South Bank of the Thames in 1951 for the Festival of Britain. It was the subject of a major but sensitive £91m restoration under the guidance of English Heritage.

Work, Challenges & Solutions

The John F Hunt Concrete Cutting team removed the entire reinforced concrete stage and auditorium floor areas using Brokk 180’s equipped with hydraulic breakers and concrete cracking attachments.
Powered by 3-phase electricity, these compact tracked units were completely fume free and ideal for continuous operation in such a confined area.
Controlled demolition for the refurbishment of the hall was undertaken, with every stage of the project being carefully planned so as not to disturb the retained listed structure.
A comprehensive scaffold was erected in the auditorium, which provided a working platform for removal of both the ceiling and the concrete planks which made up the auditorium floor.
A wide variety of other work was undertaken in many different areas, including the use of floor and tack sawing machinery. A massive 2.2m blade was used to cut openings through the 1m thick basement floor slab as part of a new drainage system and six staircases were removed robotically, and openings created for the lift shafts.


In line with the sensitive nature of the project, we passed all the water required for operation, through a filtration system prior to disposal, thus minimising the amount used.
By the end of the overall project, we had carried out concrete cutting works on behalf of 5 different teams of contractors, culminating in an extremely successful contract, delivered on time and within budget.