Friday, 31 October 2008


Paul Lucker Designs have just completed a major restoration and refurbishment project at St Catherine's R.C. Church, Sheffield. The work included the urgent removal, re-sizing and restoration of 32 windows, many of them large and badly distorted.

The Building: A large nineteen twenties church built largely of reinforced concrete! This was deteriorating, along with the rest of the building, and the multitude of leaded lights/stained glass panels were in danger of collapse. They had to be removed before work could start on reconstructing the concrete shell.

The biggest challenge arose because the company originally nominated to do the leaded light work allegedly walked off site eight weeks into the project, before a single window had been touched. When Paul Lucker Designs received the cry for help, the first job was to number the windows, carry out a full survey and decide whether we could complete the project within a tight programme, when we were already busy! The answer was no, we could not! (honesty as always was the best policy) but we could work out how the main priorities could be completed within the programme so that the contractors could proceed with the rebuilding of the dilapidated concrete shell. And, by prioritising the essential features, we could work out a programme that would allow the main windows to be complete and installed by the time of the Inauguration Service.

So the procedure was as follows:
1. Carry out a full survey, numbering all the windows so that the client and main contractor could identify the proposed works, timings and costs. This comprehensive document was completed within one week and worked as the main reference document throughout the project. The costs of this survey and report were included in a qouted and agreed 'Phase 1' consultancy invoice.
2. Get the remaining costs and the programming agreed in consultation with the architect, the client and the Main Contractor, ensuring all the protocols are correctly followed, of course! Sort out risk assessments, Health & Safety policy, insurance documentation etc and then...
3. Proceed on site! Commence removal of the windows, transport them to our workshop and start the process of rebuilding. Because thirty two of the fifty five windows were to be fitted into new secondary hardwood frames they were also to be re-sized! So we had to work closely with the joinery contractor to ensure the optimum glass size, to retain proportion etc.
4. As each prioritized leaded light completed its full round of rebuilding (where necessary) and repair, re-sizing, soldering, cementing, polishing, curing and fixing of stantion ties, it was returned to site and installed into its new secondary hardwood frame. The high level windows, ten metres above ground, were all installed within six weeks of our start date, so that the underfloor heating could be installed to programme. This was because we could not use the scissor lift after this date, for fear of damaging the new floor.
5. Complete the cleaning and in-situ repairs to the 'low-priority windows' including the 25 panel rose window, the concrete surround of which was mercifully sound.
6. Complete the installation of all the rebuilt windows.

NOTES: The ten 1m x 3m windows to low level in the main auditorium included beautifully art worked inscriptions/dedications, but this was the only stained glass artwork in the entire church. Otherwise, this was technically a leaded light project.
Pictures To Follow.....

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The lift is nearly always attached to the back of the truck. Sometimes the lift is secured in the bed of the truck, but this is fairly uncommon. The lift is usually attached to the back of the truck by sliding the forks securely under the bed. This is one of the solutions for powered access requirements.