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

Our 70th Year in Business

Our 70th year in business has been fantastic, with turnover for both the steeplejack/specialist access division and lightning protection division far exceeding original expectation.

Showcased below are just a handful of notable projects which highlight the variety of specialist work that we have successfully completed in 2019.

Concrete Chimney Demolition – St Helens, UK

Successful completion of the demolition of a 91.5m high reinforced concrete chimney in St Helens, UK.

The demolition of this chimney was carried out in a piecemeal fashion down 20m above ground level using our innovative sliding band scaffold platform which enables the scaffolding to be lowered as the demolition proceeds. The bottom 20m of the chimney was demolished using a high reach machine.

Our team of steeplejacks worked tirelessly throughout this contract and completed the project ahead of schedule and to the complete satisfaction of the client who had this to say on completion of the contract;

“Dear Matt,

Firstly please thank the guys from me again, they did a remarkable job without any issues/incidents and well within timescales, they are a credit to your team!

Secondly thanks to you, Carl and Nick for the management of the project.”

Site Engineering Manager

“I would like to extend my thanks to the Cowley Hill Team & Rafferty’s for their outstanding execution of what was quite a challenging project.

The work was completed without any safety incidents and on budget / to time.”

Strategic Program Director

The time lapse video below shows the demolition from start to finish.

Brick Chimney Repair Works – Stockport, UK

Refurbishment works on a 66m high redundant brick chimney in Stockport, UK.

Rafferty’s were initially contracted to carry out a full external inspection of the chimney and were subsequently employed to undertake repair works within the clients budget restraints.

The repair work consisted of and included;

  • Restoration of the decorative chimney head stonework
  • Re-pointing the top 14m of the chimney with a lime mixed mortar
  • Removal and replacement of all steel retaining bands
  • Modifications and repairs to the lightning protection system

We captured some fantastic drone footage of this particular project which can be viewed below.

Concrete Chimney Demolition – Bow, London

Successful completion of a highly complex project to dismantle a 42m high pre-cast concrete chimney directly adjacent to a live railway line in Bow, London.

The controlled demolition or dismantling of any tall structure is usually a highly complex undertaking in itself however, place this structure directly next to one of London’s main railway lines (which had to remain live at all times) adds a whole other level of complexity.

The construction of this particular chimney consisted of a square reinforced concrete base which was surmounted by 24 No. pre-cast concrete rings which formed the external concrete structure of the chimney. Internally the chimney housed 4 No. steel liners. Our remit was to dismantle all 24 No. pre-cast concrete rings and the 4 No. internal steel liners, leaving the base in-situ for demolition by others.

Two sliding band scaffold platforms were installed at the termination point of the chimney which are specifically designed to enable them to be systematically lowered throughout the course of the dismantling process. The bottom scaffold platform was used to prepare each concrete ring for dismantling by exposing the tie rods connecting each section together. The top scaffold platform was then used to enable the dismantling of each concrete ring section. Each concrete ring section weighed 7T and required a 250T heavy lifting mobile crane to carefully dismantle and lower each section to ground level. When considering the close proximity of the rail line and the small and restricted area of the site itself, the positioning and slew restrictions of this large crane had to be determined with such precision that our in-house CPCS Appointed Person had to produce CAD drawings to detail it’s exact position, as every millimeter counted to ensure that the jib of the crane would not fall on to the live tracks of the railway line in the unlikely event of a crane failure.

Our methodology for the safe and controlled dismantling of this chimney underwent vigorous scrutiny by Network Rail engineers and consultants however, our vast experience in complex industrial chimney demolitions in live environments and the meticulous attention to detail applied throughout this contract from start to finish enabled us to completely satisfy all requirements and the project was subsequently completed ahead of schedule and without incident.

Church Lightning Protection System Upgrade

This particular Church has been struck by lightning several times in recent years and in 2014 a strike caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage. Rafferty’s were awarded the contract to design and install a complete lightning protection system to the church in compliance with BS EN 62305.

To install the lightning protection system access had to be gained to all levels and orientations of the church building. The church spire rises to a colossal 59.74m (196ft) above ground level and the upper most roof apex rises to approximately 30m (98.5ft) above ground level. Our steeplejack & specialist access division teamed up with our lightning protection division to provide a full turnkey installation project, using various forms of specialist access and rope access techniques. Our versatility when working at height avoided the need to install scaffolding from ground level to the high level locations of the church building which paid dividends for the client on this project, saving them tens of thousands of pounds in potential scaffolding costs alone.

On-line Steel Chimney Repair Works – Northern Ireland

Successful completion of emergency repair works to a 91m high steel chimney in Northern Ireland.

The works included the installation of specialist steeplejack access equipment and scaffolding to enable the dismantling and replacement of a deteriorated and unsafe steel up-stand at the termination point of the chimney. The replacement up-stand section was designed in-house and manufactured from stainless steel. It was designed in flanged & bolted sections to enable installation whilst the chimney remained in operation, avoiding the need for an unplanned shutdown and the requirement to hire a large and expensive mobile crane to lift the new section in to position. The full height of the 91m high steel chimney was also cleaned down and re-painted as part of the project.

Our innovative design and access methods along with our vast experience of working on chimneys that are operational ensured that this particular project was successfully completed without the need for an unplanned and forced shutdown, enabling the client to continue their 365 day, 24/7 operation of the chimney.

Brick Chimney Repair Works – Aberdeen, Scotland

Full refurbishment of a 40m high redundant brick chimney on a new housing development in Aberdeen Scotland.

The Riverside Quarter housing development in Aberdeen is being built on the site of what was once Davidson’s Paper Mill. The 40m high brick chimney which previously serviced the Paper Mill was constructed in the late 1800’s and is to remain as a heritage feature of the new development.

Rafferty’s were initially contracted to carry out a full external and internal inspection of the chimney and provided a detailed written condition report complete with recommendations for a longstanding repair solution to which we were subsequently employed to undertake.

The work consisted of a complete refurbishment of the chimney and included;

  • Re-pointing the full height of the chimney with a lime mixed mortar
  • Removal and replacement of all 19 No. steel retaining bands
  • Design & installation of a purpose made steel capping arrangement to fully cap off and seal the termination point of the chimney
  • Design and installation of a new lightning protection system in accordance with BS EN 62305

The client had this to say on successful completion of the project;

The chimney is looking great and can I also say that dealing with your men on site and your business in general has been very professional. I would be happy to recommend Rafferty’s to others if they required similar works to be done.

Dave Scott – Contracts Manager, Barratt Homes

Maintenance & Painting of 3 No. Fuel Silos – Scunthorpe, UK

Our specialist skills and versatility when working at height can be adapted to any tall structure and this particular project highlights the cost saving benefits of the services that we can offer to clients.

Rafferty’s utilised specialist access and rope access techniques to carry out maintenance and the complete re-painting of 3 No. fuel silo structures, avoiding the requirement and associated expense for extensive scaffolding access.

The photographs below show before and after photos of the re-painting works.

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Boddingtons Brick Chimney Demolition Manchester UK

Realty Estates Ltd – Boddingtons Site, Manchester City Centre 2010.
Demolition of 55m High Brick Chimney.

In September 2010 Rafferty’s successfully tendered for the complete demolition of the iconic 55m high Boddingtons brick chimney in Manchester city centre. To be involved in the demolition of the Boddingtons brick chimney would always be done with a slight grievance by anyone associated with the steeplejack industry, as grand chimney structures such as this are now very few and far between. However, with all nostalgic feelings aside and the demolition unavoidable, we were delighted to be awarded with this high profile task.

Due to the densely populated location of the chimney, Rafferty’s 62 years of experience within the steeplejack industry was put to the test to ensure that the chimney was demolished safely, with minimal risk and no disruption to the general public. The method chosen by Rafferty Steeplejacks was to demolish the full height of the chimney in a piecemeal fashion, depositing all demolition rubble down the inside of the stack.

To provide safe and suitable access for the demolition, a moveable band modular frame scaffold deck was installed directly below the ornamental string course brickwork at the 45m level. Tubular scaffolding was then erected to the termination point to completely envelope the top 10m of the stack. Micro netting was installed at each scaffold lift to ensure that no demolition debris would become airborne and fall to ground level externally. With all scaffolding and safety equipment in position, the demolition could commence.

The Boddingtons brick chimney had three steel liners which ran throughout the full height of the brick structure internally. Therefore, before any brickwork could be demolished, the three steel liners had to be removed first. To remove the internal liners required the use of a 200 ton mobile crane. The crane would initially take the entire weight of each liner from the termination point of the chimney. The steel liner would then be hoisted approximately 10m above the termination point where it would then be supported. Once the liner was supported it would then be cut throughout its full circumference to enable the 10m section to be safely lowered to ground level. This process would be repeated until the full height of each liner was completely removed.

Once the internal liners were dismantled then the demolition of the external brick structure could proceed. However, the original designers and builders of this grand structure would not make life easy for anyone wishing to demolish it as they decided to incorporate a 3.6m high cast iron head with a 1.5m oversail within the brick structure at the termination point. Due to the age of the chimney the cast iron head could not be removed as one section as there was a potential risk of it splitting. Therefore, it painstakingly had to be supported and dismantled in a piecemeal fashion to ensure that maximum safety prevailed throughout this contract. Once the cast iron head was removed then the chimney brickwork could be demolished. This again was done in a piecemeal fashion with all rubble being deposited down the inside of the chimney. The modular frame scaffold arrangement was lowered in conjunction with the demolition until the chimney reached a height of 20m. The final 20m of the chimney was demolished using a high reach machine, transforming the Manchester city skyline forever.

Rafferty’s 62 years of tackling high risk works at high level proved paramount on this contract, with the entire project being successfully undertaken to the complete satisfaction of the client and without any safety incidents or disruption to the general public. Our long history of successfully completing chimney projects throughout the UK and the World is why this Company has remained ‘At The Top Since 1949’.


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Rafferty Steeplejacks Demolish The Iconic Boddingtons Brick Chimney in Manchester

Rafferty Steeplejacks have successfully completed the demolition of the iconic 55m high Boddingtons brick chimney in Manchester, transforming the city centre skyline forever. The high risk project was completed without any safety incidents or disruption to the general public in this densely populated area.

Click on images to enlarge.


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