Major Refurbishment of a 41m High Grade II Listed Brick Chimney

In January 2013 Rafferty Steeplejacks were awarded a major refurbishment contract on a 41m high Grade II listed industrial brick chimney for Marston’s Plc at their historic brewing site in Burton-Upon-Trent.

Our initial survey of the redundant structure in August 2012 came just in time as it revealed that the chimney was found to be in a structurally poor and deteriorated condition, in particular within the top 14m where the brickwork in areas was literally crumbling on touch. Due to the seriousness of the defects encountered, Marston’s immediately instructed Rafferty’s to install safety scaffolding within the top 16m of the chimney to prevent any loose and deteriorated brickwork from falling directly to ground level. The installation of the scaffolding had to be carried out very tentatively as not to disturb any of the deteriorated brickwork. This was completed without incident and ultimately ensured the safety of all on-site personnel.

In the meantime Rafferty’s promptly compiled a comprehensive inspection report and proposed a detailed refurbishment plan to the engineers and senior management of Marston’s. Such was their faith in Rafferty’s wealth of knowledge and experience in projects such as this, Marston’s awarded the six figure contract on single tender.

With the chimney being a grade II listed structure all plans had to be approved by the local council who commendably fully co-operated with ourselves and the client to ensure the safety of the structure.

The refurbishment plan consisted of the following;

  1. Careful plotting and detailed drawings of the existing brickwork were issued prior to deconstruction to ensure that the re-building work was carried out to identically match the original chimney construction.
  2. Careful deconstruction of the top 14m of chimney brickwork.
  3. Re-build of the top 9.147m of brickwork to identically match the original Victorian construction of the chimney before an extension was added in the 1970’s. New antique style bricks had to be manufactured for the re-build due to the poor condition of the existing brickwork.
  4. Re-pointing of the remaining 27m of chimney brickwork externally.
  5. Re-pointing of internal brickwork and replacement of loose and missing bricks where required.
  6. Repairs to retaining band steelwork.
  7. Upgrade of lightning protection system to comply with current BS EN 62305 European standard.
  8. All re-pointing and re-building works was carried out using an English Heritage approved lime mortar.

The contract was carried out over a 21 week period and was completed without any safety incidents and to the full satisfaction of the client, local council and all involved. Garry Hollins, Site Engineer and Ian Reeley, Senior Projects Manager for Marston’s made the following testimonies on completion of the works.

“The chimney looks fantastic, could you send a big thank you to your team for a job well done. I have felt for them in some of the awful weather we had at the beginning of the year and the blistering heat at the latter part.  The job has been carried out with the up most professionalism and will be more than happy to give a reference to anyone thinking of using your Company.” – Garry Hollins, Site Engineer, Marston’s Plc.

“You have completed an excellent project, carried out with great pride, determination, quality and with a very high regard to safety. Very well done.” – Ian Reeley, Senior Projects Manager, Marston’s Plc

To be given the opportunity to refurbish a structure such as the chimney at Marston’s is something which we relish as a company. This particular industrial brick chimney has stood for well over a century and is an iconic local landmark in Burton-Upon-Trent. We are delighted to have our name behind restoring and preserving the chimney for many years to come and would like to offer our gratitude to Marston’s for entrusting Rafferty’s with this project.

The following photographs show the chimney before, during and after the refurbishment works.