NEWPORT-BASED structural engineering company Cintec has completed the contract to help save the first pyramid built in Egypt.

Cintec, which is based at Gold Tops, was 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 4,700 years ago by Pharaoh Djoser.

A major earthquake in 1992 compounded the results of many other seismic events over the centuries 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, has an extensive track record in preserving historical landmarks across the world.

South Wales Argus:

Cintec staff working inside the burial chamber of the Step Pyramid

It has maintained structures including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, The White House in the USA and the Canadian Parliament Building.

The firm has also worked on 13 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.

While the Step Pyramid project started in 2010, it took 18 months to remove stones which had fallen from the ceiling due to extreme site conditions. These had to be carried by hand via tunnels to the outside. Over the following six 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 used - Waterwall.

South Wales Argus:

Cintec's Waterall technology in place within the burial chamber of the Step Pyramid

This uses both water and air in a way which could be used, among other things, to mitigate the effects of improvised explosive devices, to provide anti-ram barriers or mobile barriers for instant relief from flooding.

In this circumstance, Waterwall was used to temporarily secure the damaged ceiling while work to repair and protect the Step Pyramid from further damage was carried out.

The over all value of the project is estimated at £16m Egyptian Pounds,.

Peter James, managing director of Cintec, which won the Innovative Business of the Year award at the inaugural South Wales Argus Business Awards, said: "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.

South Wales Argus:

Managing director of Cintec Peter James

"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.

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 more than £10m pounds.