It is unusual to be tasked with two difficult and unrelated problems in the same property.In this instance, new owners had discovered that an external chimney had been built from a six inch foundation in the soil of a mill stream bank, and had not been tied into the main house. Large cracks were apparent to the base of the chimney, which was obviously close to collapse. In addition, whilst removing some studwork walling on the third floor Attic room, it had become apparent that a purlin had been cut almost completely through by a previous owner. The purlin was now bending and splitting under the load from the roof.Access was very difficult due to the mill stream being adjacent to the gable end wall, and it was not possible to get vehicles with access or lifting eqiuipment anywhere close.Fortunately, we have the services of a very experienced scaffolder who can overcome most things, including water..The chimney was taken down very carefully, brick by brick, over three slow days. It is easy to underestimate the wieght of masonry in a chimney. Loose structures require patience to remove. The chimney had two homemade brick ties fitted at approximately the mid-point. Some things are not designed for DIY ! The new purlin was sized deliberatley in length so that it was taller than the scaffold. This allowed some good old fashioned lifting methods to be used. A roller at the top, two lifting pulleys, a guide rope, and a scaffold designed to suit. continued in part two
With the unsafe chimney safely removed and a new Purlin timber installed within the main roof, our client asked our thoughts on the general roof condition. As we had scaffolding and access in place, it was agreed that we would give the roof a general overhaul. The roof tiles were all old handmade and random sizes, but we managed to re-use them as well as re-bedding eaves and gable tiles, and replacing two existing skylights with new Velux windows. Scaffolding is useful commodity during any project, and it is always worth considering additional works that may be easy to achieve in conjunction with the main initial project.
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