• Nash Peake Works,Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 5BT England

Merry Christmas From All At Rafferty’s

Rafferty’s would like to wish everyone a very merry christmas and a happy new year!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for the business they have given us this year which, as always, is very much appreciated.

We look forward to being of service to you all again in 2013 along with achieving our 64th year in business.

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Oil Refinery Flare Stack & Concrete Chimney Inspection Nears Completion

Rafferty’s are on the verge of completing extensive inspection works to a 96m high flare stack and 80m high reinforced concrete chimney on a UK Oil Refinery.

The contract originally started in the early part of August to enable the inspections to be carried out during a planned shutdown period from the end of August through to September. Rafferty’s now look set to complete the works before the end of the planned shutdown period.

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Concrete Chimney Repair Contracts Due to Commence

Rafferty’s have recently been awarded two sizable concrete chimney repair contracts which are due to start this month. The orders, which were placed from two seperate companies, were extraordinarily received on the same day within an hour of eachother, setting Rafferty’s up for a busy Autumn and Winter period.

The first of the two contracts is for a major refurbishment of a 91.5m high reinforced concrete chimney on a Glassworks in the North West of England. The £250k contract is due to commence on 17 Septemeber and is expected to be complete by the early part of February 2013.

The second contract is for extensive concrete repairs to a 90m high reinforced concrete chimney on a Dolomite works in the East Midlands. The £100k contract is due to commence on 10 September and is expected to be complete by early to mid November 2012.

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Rafferty Steeplejacks Attract Royal Interest

The Prince’s Trust is currently undertaking a £7.5 million capital project to regenerate the Grade II listed factory at Middleport Pottery in Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent. The site, which was described as “a national treasure” by the English Heritage has been in continuous operation since 1888 and is now the last working Victorian Pottery factory in the UK.

With the Middleport Pottery site being located only a stone’s throw away from our head office Tunstall, Stoke-On-Trent, Rafferty’s were delighted to be awarded with the contract to carry out a detailed inspection survey and full refurbishment of the 30m high Grade II listed industrial brick chimney located on the site.

Our initial inspection survey of the chimney was carried out using a mobile crane and man basket to enable safe access to all elevations of the stack. Our inspection revealed that the brick chimney was found to be in a structurally unsafe condition and in need of extensive refurbishment works.

The chimney head and blocking brickwork at the termination point of the chimney was found to contain deep, open and perished mortar joints along with severe fractures, bed-lifts and loose brickwork. The remainder of the chimney shaft brickwork below was found to contain shrinkage of mortar and perished mortar joints. Finally, the retaining band steelwork was also found to be in a very poor and deteriorated condition, with sections of the steelwork found to be loose and in danger of falling to ground level.

Rafferty’s promptly compiled a comprehensive inspection report and highlighted the defects evident on the chimney. Due to the unsafe condition of the retaining band steelwork and chimney brickwork at the termination point, Rafferty’s were quickly instructed to undertake the works and make the chimney safe.

As the chimney is a Grade II listed structure the refurbishment works had to be carried out under a strict specification provided by the English Heritage and conservation architects. The chimney head and blocking brickwork had to be carefully deconstructed and re-built using the existing brickwork to exactly match its original appearance. At the request of the architects, the only alteration would be the installation of two weathering courses at the top of the chimney head which were laid on creasing tiles to create a water-shed chamfer profile. All brickwork re-pointing works had to be carried out with precision from initial preparation of the mortar joints to the application of a English Heritage approved lime mortar. The re-pointed mortar joints were slightly recessed to reveal brick arris and following the application of the repair mortar all newly pointed joints were lightly sprayed with fresh water and then wrapped in hessian which was dampened down and left in position for a period of 3 days to keep the mortar joints moist.

The quality of Rafferty’s workmanship was independently inspected by architects on a weekly basis to which we achieved complete satisfaction. A brief outline of the chimney refurbishment works is detailed as follows;

  • Installation of specialised multi lift steeplejack scaffolding within the top 12m of the chimney.
  • Man riding cradle access was also installed to enable safe access to all elevations of the chimney below the scaffold area.
  • Careful piecemeal deconstruction of the termination point chimney head and blocking brickwork.
  • Complete re-build of the chimney head and blocking brickwork to exactly match its original appearance, incorporating two weathering courses of new engineering blue brickwork.
  • Raking out and re-pointing the full height of the chimney brickwork above roof level on all elevations using English Heritage approved lime mortar all as per the consveration architects specification.
  • Replacement of steel retaining bands and corner angle irons to match the existing manufactured from stainless steel.
  • Renewal of the lightning protection system to comply with BS EN 62305.

As the head of the Princes Trust, Prince Charles is regularly kept up to date with the progress of the regeneration works at Middleport Pottery and we were told that he took particular interest in the chimney refurbishment work being carried out by Rafferty’s. We sincerely hope that Prince Charles will be pleased with the work that we have carried out on this grand old chimney structure.

The following photographs show various stages of the work from the condition of the chimney before repairs to the final completion of all refurbishment works undertaken.




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ATLAS Members Put Safety First

When choosing a contractor to carry out specialised works at height on their industrial chimneys, it is paramount that Companies are aware of the benefits of using an ATLAS member.

ATLAS is the governing body for the steeplejack and lightning protection industry and is also acknowledged by the HSE. The HSE recommend that chimney owners use ATLAS registered Companies, formerly known as the ‘National Federation of Master Steeplejacks and Lightning Conductor Engineers’.

Rafferty’s have been a full member of ATLAS since its formation.

In a recent press release (see below) ATLAS have highlighted the commitment of its members towards health & safety. This press release should provide further comfort to Companies who use ATLAS members for their high level chimney works.


11 June 2012

ATLAS Members Put Safety First

The latest annual survey undertaken by the Association of Technical Lightning and Access Specialists (ATLAS) has highlighted the commitment of its members to health and safety in the workplace after ATLAS recorded lower fatal and major injury rates than the construction industry as a whole.

The results of the 2011 ATLAS Accident Survey, covering over 1,120 operatives, revealed that no fatalities were recorded by ATLAS members for the third consecutive year in an industry where working at height is unavoidable. One major injury was reported, categorised as a slip, trip or fall on the same level, at an incidence rate of 89.3 per 100,000 workers. This was lower than the rates for both the specialist sector as represented by the National Specialist Contractors’ Council (NSCC) at 168.8 per 100,000 workers and the industry at 173.2 per 100,000 workers. Frequency rates for all accidents, both reportable and non-reportable, improved to 42,091 working hours per accident, allowing ATLAS to demonstrate to clients and other interested parties that its members have a better safety record than non-members.

ATLAS has a dedicated Safety & Access Committee to develop and promote safe working practices within the industry. This has included a recent programme of testing on ladders and modular scaffold frames in order to determine the equipment’s safety limitations, the results of which will be available later this year. By providing guidance and up to date information on regulations and working practices, ATLAS helps its members to maintain the highest safety standards, which is reflected in the continued quality of their work.

Chairman of the ATLAS Accident Committee, John Ashmore, commented on the results of the report:

“During a recession, many businesses look to cut operating costs which can lead to an increase in accidents on site but ATLAS members have continued to prioritise health and safety in the workplace. As well as demonstrating that ATLAS members have an improving safety record, the results of this survey enable lessons to be learnt and shared amongst the membership which reduces the likelihood of similar accidents happening again in future.”

The results of the 2011 Accident Survey were presented at the ATLAS Annual Convention on Saturday 26 May at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St. Helier, Jersey, which was attended by over 80 ATLAS delegates.

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Rafferty Steeplejacks Commended

Rafferty’s have successfully completed a full refurbishment of a 40m high brick chimney at Aizlewood’s Mill, in Sheffield. A brief description of the repair works included the following;

  • Installation of multi-lift scaffolding at the termination point of the stack complete with safety netting.
  • Man riding cradle access was installed to enable safe access to all elevations of the chimney below the termination point scaffolding. 
  • Careful restoration of the chimneys decorative stone head.
  • Cutting out and replacing spalled bricks on all elevations.
  • Raking out and re-pointing mortar joints throughout the full height of the chimney on all elevations.
  • Repairs to existing steel retaining bands and corner angle irons.
  • Manufacture and installation of a stainless steel capping arrangement.
  • Modifications to the lightning protection system to comply with BS EN 62305:2006.

On completion of the works our customer was so pleased with the conduct of our company and the steeplejacks on site that they took the time to write a letter of gratitude to which all at Rafferty’s were very grateful to receive (please see copy below). Rafferty’s would like to take this opportunity to thank Catherine and everyone involved at Aizlewood’s Mill for their hospitality and kind words of appreciation for the service we provided.

The photographs below show the chimney repairs carried out.

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