Preston firm wins contract to repair iconic chimney

By Tim Aldred

27 Jul 2023

Tulketh Mill Chimney

City Group Managed Services has won the contract to oversee the renovation of the Grade II listed Chimney at Tulketh Mill in Preston.

The 56-metre-tall structure is undergoing a remedial repair project following the outcome of a recent pre-planned inspection report. It is part of a transformation project which will convert the mill into a modern, mixed-use development.

City Group Managed Services, a Preston-based facilities management company, is managing the project in partnership with Envirosafe Consultants, who are responsible for managing the compliance with relevant health and safety legislation, and Rafferty's, who are carrying out the critical work of replacing the tension bands to the chimney stack and also repointing the top 20 metres of brickwork.

Envirosafe is a Preston-based health and safety consultancy managing the health and safety aspects of the project, ensuring that the repair work is carried out safely and without risk to the workers or the public.

Jen Cole, City Group’s co-founder, said: “We were delighted to have been chosen to work on such a prestigious project alongside Rafferty’s in our home city of Preston.

"Everyone in Preston knows Tulketh Mill, it has been a part of the local landscape for over 100 years. We are all thrilled to have been awarded the contract, it’s not often such significant projects are awarded for historic structures with consideration to building preservation alongside strict health and safety management, and we are proud of now being a part of the history of Tulketh Mill."

The work

Tulketh Mill was built in 1905 as part of the Tulketh Spinning Company's complex, and the mill was originally used for cotton spinning and weaving, and later housed a variety of other industries before falling into disuse in the 1980s.

Over the years, the chimney's tension bands have suffered from weathering and corrosion, which has weakened their integrity. The repair work is essential for the chimney's stability, longevity, and public health and safety.

Steeplejack ladders have been erected to the full height of one elevation and a single-deck modular platform has been installed around the full circumference of the chimney, approximately 2m from the top. The platform is rigged on a specialised tension steel band and fully boarded with double handrails and toe boards on the working deck. Motorised cradles provide a mobile platform to access all elevations below the modular deck.

Following the removal of the existing retaining bands, 120 new mild steel sections with double lug and bolt securing arrangement will be specially manufactured and installed, utilising 240 bolts. Each band will be carefully checked and secured ensuring tension is accurately adjusted. Two coats of black bitumen paint will be applied, and the existing lightning conductor bands will be bonded to each new retaining band to ensure continuity and prevent flashover in the event of a lightning strike.

In conjunction with the retaining bands, the mortar joints to the top 20 metres will be cut back to a depth of 20mm, cleaned out of remaining debris and re-pointed using an ‘Old English’ lime mortar finish with a flush joint. The project is scheduled to be completed in August.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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