EBL GROUP CASE STUDY - LIGHTENING STRIKE DESTROYS HERITAGE ROOF
EBL’s Experienced Building Surveyor, Paul Hives, noted on his first inspection, that the lightening strike had hit the centre of the building, and it soon became obvious how badly damaged both pitches/slopes of the roof were.
At the time of Paul’s initial inspection, the Customer was very distressed with the peril and possible outcome, and the methodology required to undertake this mammoth task.
Especially as one of the roof pitches/slopes was directly adjacent to a main road, which would cause problems for local traffic, And, major Access difficulties for the Trades people, when engaging in the restoration works to the damaged roof.
As Paul’s inspection progressed, he Realised the Full extent of the damage, also noting that this was going to be a very challenging job, least not, trying to source the original clay roof tiles, which dated back some 150 years or more.
The setting of the property was in a very picturesque place and was also in a Conservation area, all adding to the pressure of the repair work to be carried out by EBL.
Paul’s initial ‘gut’ feeling for the Clay roof tiles proved correct, in that sourcing these ‘Original’ tiles, did prove to be an arduous task, in its own right.
EBL’s philosophy is to operate by Managing the Customers expectations, and we regularly informed the Customer of the difficulties involved, But that the alternative, would be to have a complete New roof replacement, with a ‘Modern-Build’ equivalent, as the work involved to try and locate these original tiles was proving more difficult.
And, once the roof areas was fully ‘opened up’, only then did the full quantity needed come to light.
The Customer was not happy with the thought of the roof not matching the other buildings and was ‘Stressed’ over the thought that this may be the case.
We assured her that we would endeavour to find these ‘Old’ tiles and re-instate the roof as before; we would leave No stone (tile) unturned.
Therefore, we set about the arduous task of trying to find this old English clay tile, which proved to be more time consuming and involved lots of travelling around the Country, than previously envisaged.
We knew from our first visit though, that this was not an Ordinary Roof job, and not one for our standard domestic Roofers.
With the help of colleagues, from within the EBL Group (EBL’s National Roofing Division), Paul was offered the services of one of our Conservational Team members, (who are more ‘specially’ equipped), to assist and deal with overseeing the installation of the roof on this project.
EBL’s National Roofing Division, appointed Gary Ireland, from within their Conservation Team, who was put in charge of this project. Gary has over 40 years’ experience in this field.
Below is a brief process of events, with regard to the re-instatement of this Heritage Roof ;
-We Informed the Customer of exactly what the process would be, from start to finish, and that we would manage their expectations, from the outset, and informed them of options, in case the original concept could not be achieved.
-Full Risk Assessments and Method Statements were prepared, prior to any works commencing.
-Following a Survey, Instructions were given and a scaffold system erected, in accordance with current Regulations, to allow full and safe Access.
-The Roof was initially made Safe, by removing all the loose and hanging debris, in a safe and methodical way, so as not to contaminate, or damage, the stone gravel driveway.
-It was not possible to estimate how many tiles could be salvaged, until they had been completely removed from the roof, checked for cracks, cleaned off and carefully stacked and stored separately for re-use.
-Instructions were given to the procurement team, to locate (a huge challenge), Staffordshire blue tiles, to be heavily weathered (to match the state and condition of the existing tiles). Again, the quantity could not be defined until the roof had been completely removed, but sourcing was still being carried out, to at least Find these Tiles.
-Various Reclamation yards were contacted, internet searches made and a number of network contacts reached out to.
-The timber spars had been affected by the lightening strike, in a number of areas, and these had to be replaced and other timbers damaged, was also made good.
-Once the felt and battens was completed, this now provided a waterproof roof area again; much to the Customer’s delight and comforting for them.
-After quite some time, a quantity of tiles were successfully sourced from Derbyshire, but this wasn’t enough. A further quantity was found in Shropshire, and the ridge tiles were sourced from another location, in Scotland.
-The roofing reinstatement works was now able to commence.
-Due to the nature of these particular Dated roof tiles, each one has to be inspected, and chosen individually for the section of roof being worked on, as there is often kicks, bends and twists in the clay tiles, and if not sorted, they will not sit correctly to its adjacent tile.
-On many occasions, tiles are laid and then have to be re-laid, to achieve a better match, to sit in a ‘nicely’ along the roof line.
Traffic Management had to be carried out at weekends, to minimise the disruption to the local traffic.
As the roof works progressed, it was important to affix the Ridges Tiles in the same proximity to the pitched/sloping roof area, to ensure that no further damage occurs, when having to track back over the roof.
This process is more time consuming, but due to the rarity of this Staffordshire blue clay tiles, that were extremely weathered to match the existing, we could not afford the risk of any damage to these ‘hard to obtain’, tiles.
Thanks to the Skills and tenacity of the Tradesmen on site, this job was successfully executed and completed to a very High standard.
The customer commented to our men that it was as if the lightening strike had never even happened.
The customer was completely overwhelmed and gave them the highest compliment a Tradesman could receive, simply by referring to them As Craftsmen (A lovely comment).
This was a Professional and Well Managed outcome for the Customer And the Insurance Company.
It was possible to salvage 67% of the original roof tiles, which, together with The Specialist Expertise of EBL’s Trained Craftsmen, ONLY Cost the Insurance Company £7,302.
This Saved the Insurance Company more than treble of that cost, if they had to renew the complete roof covering.
Although sourcing reclaimed material can be a difficult and time consuming process, together with an additional Cost, when you get it right (and are prepared to spend the long hours, and go the extra mile), it is extremely rewarding, and then to be able to receive Conservation approval and complete customer satisfaction, ‘this is why we go to work everyday’.
Case Study Report Carried out by Edward Basnett 01.12.2022 (Proud Owner and Managing Director of the EBL Group)