Our client needed help with water ingress that had been identified in the steeple timbers of All Saints Church, Burton-in-Lonsdale.
John Coward Architects (JCA) and the patrons of All Saints Church required help to stop water ingress in the church steeple which had already caused some rot.
All Saints Church is a heritage building completed in 1870. The tall broach spire is visible from miles around, and is considered an important landmark. Designed in the Early English architectural style, the building is constructed of sandstone with a slate roof. The steeple has three components.
The church has one of only three shingle steeples in the UK. In roofing terms, shingles are strips laid in an overlapping style.
Orb Rope Access specialises in working at height on heritage sites and listed buildings. We work with sensitivity and great care to protect the heritage buildings we work on.
On All Saints Church we installed Masterform flashing on two elevations: the steeple roof and the sandstone façade intersection. Flashing is thin material used to prevent water penetration. Masterform is a polymer product that is ideal for flashing. It is a weathering material that is lead-free, malleable and durable.
Masterform soakers were also installed on two hip ridges. We put soakers between each line of slates to facilitate the movement of water toward the gutter and therefore minimise the risk of leaks. Hip ridges are the highest point of any roof slope, with the most exposure to challenging weather conditions. It also means they are the most difficult sections to reach.
To protect the historic building we needed to rig around the church and through the shingles. We also faced time constraints due to the weather. This was delicate conservation work on a high profile heritage project.
Benefits to the client
Using our expertise in working on heritage and listed buildings, we were able to advise the client on the best approach for the work. This was a project that required a multi-skilled team. By using rope access techniques, combined with our experience of working on heritage buildings, we protected the integrity of the building and completed the work quickly and efficiently.
Because of the nature of the building, access was challenging. Rope access was the most efficient and cost-effective way of accessing the hip ridges, particularly in view of the exposure to the elements.
Benefits to people who use the building
Rope access doesn’t require unsightly scaffolding that spoils the aesthetics of beautiful heritage buildings like All Saints Church. There is also no need for MEWPs (mobile elevating work platforms) that need to be cordoned off or enforce the closure of community sites.
A community church is an important focal point for local people. To their benefit, rope access techniques don’t cause disruption or impact how visitors use the site.