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

Climbing for Industry for 70 Years

The year 2019 means that we can now proudly and officially state that we have been in business for 70 years!

The steeplejack and lightning protection industry has changed drastically since we originally established ourselves in 1949 and we are extremely proud to have helped spearhead the industry in the UK over the past seven decades.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our valued clients, suppliers, employees and stakeholders who have all played a crucial part in helping us achieve 70 years in business, it would not have been possible without them.

We hope to still be climbing for industry for the next 70 years!

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Bespoke Steel Liner Project

Rafferty’s have recently completed a bespoke engineering project for a valued client in Devon, UK.


The scope consisted of the design, manufacture and installation of 2 No. stainless steel liners & associated ducting to suit their new operating conditions.  The new liners were to be housed within the clients existing 35m high brick chimney, which is somewhat of a local landmark.


Before the new liners could be designed and manufactured, our engineering team carried out precise site measurements within the brick chimney and flue to ensure that the new liners and ducting would achieve the required height and connect perfectly with the new boiler & CHP ducting within the boiler house. Once this was completed the design and manufacture of the new liners and ducting was undertaken.


The site installation work of the new liners and associated ducting was carried out by a team of Rafferty’s specialised steeplejack operatives from mid-May to the early part of June during the clients planned shutdown period. The project was completed on time, on budget and to the complete satisfaction of our client.


Our client, Alison Kitchener – Business Project Manager, had this to say;

As part of our new CHP installation project we had to think carefully about how best to manage the resultant emissions from this and the new combination boiler. Our brick chimney stack is 35m tall and it was calculated that the new more efficient equipment would only produce emissions which would reach about 20m before condensing. We therefore had to consider whether to install new stacks, take 15m off the top of the chimney (which would have looked odd) or install new flues which would be narrower but would allow us to continue to utilise this important town landmark. As Rafferty’s have maintained the stack for so many years, they were the obvious choice to assist us with our decision making – the result of which was the installation of 2 new flues.


We were really pleased with how Rafferty’s worked alongside ourselves and our CHP contractors as space was limited and we had to accommodate various cranes as well as the flues etc. whilst continuing to operate and move fabric around this area. Some of our meeting rooms look onto the works and I know a few meetings were paused as the spectacle of the flues being lifted above and down into the chimney were observed. We were fortunate with the weather overall so the work was completed by the required date allowing the rest of the CHP installation project to progress as planned. Thanks to Matt Rafferty, Carl Woodroffe, Steve Moulton and his team for all of their efforts with this project which ensures the continued use of the chimney for many more years to come.


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Royal Stoke University Hospital

Earlier in the year Rafferty Steeplejacks were awarded a contract by the NHS to dismantle the 52m high redundant multi flue steel chimney at Royal Stoke University Hospital.  Throughout our history the company has been responsible for drastically changing the local skyline and the successful completion of this contract saw the skyline of Stoke-on-Trent transformed once again.

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Level 3 Rope Access Technician Required

Rafferty’s are seeking to employ a level 3 rope access technician with working experience in the steeplejack and lightning protection industry.

For all enquiries please contact Carl Woodroffe or Alex Bradley in our contracts department.

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Nick Rafferty Achieves 40 Years Service

The year 2015 sees Nick Rafferty, second generation of the Rafferty family of steeplejacks, achieve 40 years service with the company.

At the young age of 16, Nick started work for the Company on 1 April 1975 as an apprentice steeplejack which, coincidently, just so happened to be April fools day!  On his first day on the job he was tasked with laddering a 250ft brick chimney on Holditch Colliery in Stoke-on-Trent… At this point he began to wonder whether the date was really just an unfortunate coincidence!

Before the days of Health & Safety where ‘free climbing’ i.e. climbing without fall arrest equipment was the norm, Nick’s on-site training consisted of a word of advice from his father, Sam Rafferty, who pulled him to one side and said “Nicky… always keep a hand for yourself!” That was it, that was his training for the day. Thankfully, Nick never forgot those wise words of advice and worked as steeplejack for 6 years learning the trade up until a turn in his father’s health meant that he was brought in to the office to carry out more of a managerial role.

When Nick began his management career in the early 80’s the company was trying to grow and establish itself on a National basis.  Before the days of internet marketing this was no easy task and could only be done one way… by knocking on doors.  Nick travelled the length and breadth of the country in search of new customers and business and his efforts paid off.  His natural determination, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship culminated in Rafferty’s establishing itself as one of, if not, the most well known steeplejack company in the UK.

After firmly establishing the company as a major player in the UK market, Nick then set his sights oversees.  From the early 90’s through to the present day Rafferty’s have completed contracts all over the World in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

Throughout his career Nick has taken the company to unprecedented heights… please excuse the pun!  Now with four grandchildren giving him the run around he is enjoying semi retirement and now only comes in to work when he needs a rest!  That being said Nick was, and still is, the most treasured and valuable asset of the business and we would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his decades of hard work which will always be appreciated.

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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’s Trainee Steeplejack Achieves Top Awards

Last night saw the Steeplejack & Lightning Protection Training Group awards ceremony in which Peter Nuthall, one of Rafferty’s trainee steeplejacks, achieved two prestigious awards. Peter has been with the company for over three years and has attended the National Construction College at Bircham Newton to qualify as a steeplejack. Peter won the Bert Bird Award for best portfolio and the Barry Congreave Trophy for best overall achiever. The picture below shows Carl Woodroffe, Contracts Director of Rafferty’s, presenting the awards to Peter.

The directors of Rafferty’s are immensely proud of Peter’s achievements which are a testament to his character and work ethic. We would like to wish him all the very best in his chosen career and look forward to working with him in the future.

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Steeplejacks to Repair 19th Century Water Tower

A valued customer in Burton-On-Trent has awared Rafferty’s a contract to carry out maintenance repairs to a 19th Century water tower. The water tower was constructed in 1866 and stands approximately 34m high above ground level.

Rafferty’s were initially contracted to replace the Union Jack flag at the termination point of the tower and carry out an all elevation inspection of the structure using rope access techniques.

The inspection revealed defects that would be expected of a 145 year old structure. All defects were deteailed in a comprehensive report and photographic log for the clients consideration. A suitable repair method was then formulated by Rafferty’s who were then instructed to proceed with the restoration works which include the following;

  1. Cutting out and replacing approximately 400 No. spalled bricks on all elevations.
  2. Replacing a defective area of stonework with new which will be re-bed and doweled into position.
  3. Removal of moss and vegetation from brickwork and mortar joints.
  4. Raking out and re-pointing of perished mortar joints on all elevations.
  5. Chasing out and sealing of various fractures on all elevations.
  6. Modifications to the lightning protection system to comply with current standards.

Safe access to all elevations of the structure will be achieved by using suspended platforms which can be elevated to all levels of the tower. The duration of the contract is expected to be 5/6 weeks weather depending and will require a team of 3 steeplejack operatives.

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Brick Chimney Repairs Underway

The external repairs on a 30m high brick chimney in Gloucestershire UK are well underway in preparation for the sites Christmas shutdown. A team of 3 steeplejack operatives are currently carrying out the work which includes the installation of specialised access scaffolding at the termination point, along with fracture repairs and re-painting of external steelwork. Internal maintenance repairs to the brick lining is planned for the Christmas shutdown and includes an internal washdown and partial demolition and re-building of the internal brick lining. Please click on the following photographs to enlarge.

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