This month we speak to Mark Perfect, Managing Director of PTSG Building Access Specialists Ltd (Edinburgh office). Mark and his team of engineers are steeplejack and rope access specialists – widely respected throughout the UK.
Mark specialises in working on high-level buildings that are difficult to access, including industrial chimney stacks and cooling towers, performing a range of specialist services. It is with great pride that with over 30 years in the industry, he has never been presented with a challenge at height that he wasn’t able to resolve.
The Edinburgh office of PTSG Building Access Specialists Ltd began as Pendrich Height Services Ltd, a company with its roots in the traditional steeplejack techniques. It was acquired by PTSG in 2015 and has developed into an international organisation. The Building Access Specialists division has expanded with the acquisition of further specialist services providers and now serves customers throughout the UK and beyond.
“The most important part of the job is conducting all work safely,” said Mark. “It is imperative that our operatives level-headed, fully trained and qualified to carry out all aspects of the work, including multi-task projects which can consist of rebuilding brick chimney stacks, overplating steel chimney stacks, and dismantling and demolishing all high-level structures.
“Over the last few months we’ve been involved with an incredibly demanding and high-profile project at Blackpool Tower.”
Blackpool Tower is 125 years old this year. Designed by Maxwell and Tuke, and inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it stands 518 feet tall. In 1894, Blackpool Tower was the tallest man-made structure in the British Empire. The structural steelwork of this iconic building has never been replaced and was showing signs of extreme wear and tear.
PTSG Building Access Specialists Ltd was selected through an open tender process and appointed to carry out vital repairs and maintenance work to Blackpool Tower’s structure. The first phase of work began in January 2019.
The cumulative effect of 125 years of wear and tear sustained at the tower, due largely to its coastal location and the exposure to the wind and rain from the sea, meant that areas of the tower’s structure were severely corroded. The team from PTSG formed a highly effective partnership with Blackpool Council and Merlin Entertainment – one of the world’s largest attraction operators.
There were two main considerations that PTSG had to keep in mind at all times:
- All work was safety-critical due to the age of the tower.
- As Blackpool Tower is a Grade I listed building, all work performed had to be approved by the heritage committee prior to being undertaken. Any parts of the structure that were renewed had to be replaced with like-for-like materials.
One of the biggest challenges was getting materials to and from the site, which is situated on the promenade and in the centre of a precinct, and hoisting them up the tower in a completely safe and effective way.
PTSG worked with the council and Merlin to find the optimum times for this to be done to cause no risk and as little disturbance as possible. The package of works was completed at the end of March 2019. As a result of the quality of the work and the strength of the partnerships formed, PTSG Building Access Specialists Ltd has been contracted for a second phase of maintenance works, lasting up to four years.