Article first posted on BIC Magazine

Scaffolding the Sacred

Layher scaffolding erected above the altar facilitated the repair of a leaking roof.


Even sacred spaces need a little human help sometimes.

Such was the case for Infant of Prague Church in Jacksonville, North Carolina, which recently completed a critical restoration project with the help of Layher and Pyramid Scaffold Services (previously part of CFSS).

The immense effort recently concluded in the spring of 2018, but began years earlier with a long list of to-dos. The church was in desperate need of over a million dollars’ worth of repairs, including replacing major support beams and internal window supports, repairing leaks in the roof that dripped onto the altar, and resurfacing flat roof areas.

But how exactly does a church embark on a major renovation while maintaining a place of solace, peace, and comfort for an entire congregation?

Michael Strickland, Scaffold Sales Manager at Pyramid Scaffold Services – premier construction supply provider – has an idea.

“Aesthetically, the appearance had to be pleasing to the eye, which is something all our customers have pointed out – specifically the clean lines and ‘Industrial Architectural’ appearance of Layher Scaffold,” said Strickland. “Layher scaffold integrated fully into the space and did not disturb the worshippers.”

Layher shoring supported the roof while the church’s wood buttresses were replaced, allowing the church to continue to offer services throughout the restoration with minimal disruption. At risk was the potential removal and costly rebuild of the entire roof and the displacement of the congregation.

Infant of Prague’s four main beams – known as valley beams – endure the entire load of the church roof and necessitated backing to make replacements of the rotted supports on the end of each beam a reality.

Time was of the essence, so Pyramid Scaffold Services turned to Layher, their long-time collaborator, for assistance. “I knew immediately to call on Obed Bosch at Layher to help find a solution. Without hesitation, the Layher team began calling and helping to sort out what I had envisioned in my head,” said Strickland.

The project presented a significant challenge: each leg needed to support 50,000 pounds at only 60ft tall. Layher engineers worked alongside Pyramid Scaffold Services to calculate the precise construction to support the roof while providing a cost-effective option.

“We were very confident that this could not be done with conventional shoring systems available readily in the U.S. Not to mention that the loads were extreme in such a small footprint,” said Strickland.

Scaffolding the Sacred

The roof of Infant of Prague Church in Jacksonville, North Carolina was buttressed with Layher shoring during restoration.

Scaffolding the Sacred

Restoration work included the replacing of internal window supports for stained glass.

For considerable loads, heavy-duty Allround® scaffold tower loadings can be increased using Layher’s reinforced base jacks and head jacks (U-heads) additional bracing, ledgers, diagonals and/or joining standards with Layher’s unique twin wedge couplers.

Combining four Allround® standards achieves an even higher load-bearing capacity. This type of support can be used in multiple arrangements, such as a heavy-duty tower or a heavy-duty column, and expanded with ease to meet irregular, complex jobs effectively.

“The next trick was to get the process on paper and conveyed to the EOR and the Owner representative team, not to mention to prove to our customer that this was the safest and most cost-effective solution that met all the owners’ needs in one clean package,” said Strickland. “With Layher, There is never a ‘NO’ to finding a cost effective solution.”

Once the church gave the green light, Pyramid Scaffold Services got to work. Layher shoring is light, which makes for quick transport, and comes complete with fully interlocking and compatible pieces that can be erected with ease, speed, and a minimal crew. A team of four erected the shoring in only two days’ time, then moved on to replace the beams. Supports were replaced over the course of six months.

Infant of Prague church continued to offer services in all project phases, including installation and up until the removal of the propping system.

“The value of the solution provided by Layher was the most important feature of our services, “said Strickland. “What really made Layher stand out among vendors was the ability to leave the church fully operational.”

In addition to delivering the highest-quality scaffolding available, Layher engineering support and project design provides planning, plan evaluation, and scaffold engineering analysis to meet challenging requirements. Layher also provides on-site consultation with years of experience to draw from. “The professional manner in which we are treated is exceptional,” said Strickland.

Layher’s wide range of products solves the most unconventional project problems, delivering the practicality and vision that defines the Layher brand. “Layher will always be my primary choice of product,” said Strickland, “I look forward to what Layher brings to the table for future projects.”

Scaffolding the Sacred

Four main beams sustain the entire load of the church roof and necessitated backing to replace rotted supports.

How exactly does a church embark on a major renovation while maintaining a place of solace, peace, and comfort for an entire congregation?

Aesthetically, the appearance had to be pleasing to the eye … all our customers have pointed out… the clean lines and ‘Industrial Architectural’ appearance of Layher Scaffold.


  • Twin Wedges Couplers may be placed every 3’3” to increase the load capacity of standards.
  • Heavy Duty components enable capacity increase by ensuring concentric load transmission.
  • Lattice Girders allow heavy duty towers up to 28’ apart while maintaining structural connections.
  • Head Jacks may be mounted atop regular scaffolding as needed depending on load.
Layher North America