Leadwork fit for a Queen

There are deadlines, there are important deadlines – and then there are absolutely critical, no excuses, no exceptions, no delays, absolutely must be met deadlines…….

Which was certainly the case when
D Blake & Co Ltd were awarded the leadwork contract in April 2014 to cover the tower roof of the newly built Belvedere within the Queen Elizabeth walled garden in Dumfries House. Managing Director Malcolm Campbell takes up the story……

“The project was always going to be extremely challenging as there was an extremely tight programme to complete the works in conjunction with all the other trades as there was to be a Royal opening by the Queen. In the end we were allocated a 2 week window to complete our section and had to work 12 hour shifts with 4 men to complete on time.

The leadwork was all code 6 lead with a gutter at base level discharging through ornamental lead cast dragons and a welted step section next followed by fitting the 56 lead panels to the tower.

The timber substrate was 22mm thick open gap boarding which we fitted a class 1A building paper below before fitting the lead. The leadwork to the tower was fitted in panels to a maximum size of 2.0M x 800mm at the base, head fixed with 3 rows of copper clout nails; the panels diminishing in size as they got closer to the top.

The rolls to the roof were standard wood core rolls to the panels with a king roll at the hips which was fitted with a separate welted cap. The panels were fitted with a concealed tie at the bottom edge via a lead welded tie to the lower panel. The tower roof had patination oil applied to all surfaces as the work progressed.

The approximate weight of the lead to the roof was 3.5 tonnes and was all rolled sheet lead to BS 12588. Thankfully, the project was successfully completed within our 2 week programme and the new gardens were opened by the Queen on 2nd July 2014.”

Malcolm was delighted when this superb work, carried out under difficult circumstances, was recognised by Dick Murdoch and the judging panel when they considered the entries for the 2014 Murdoch Sponsors Award competition.

It was their unanimous decision that the project was the deserved winner of the Sponsors Award, which recognises exceptional installations in lead below five tonnes and Ewan Hay representing Blake’s stepped up to receive the Award, presented by Rod Bexson on behalf of sponsors Associated Lead Mills at the LCA Conference in October.

Graham Hudson, Managing Director of Associated Lead Mills was delighted such a high profile and prestigious project had won the Sponsors Award and paid tribute to everyone involved:

“There must have been tremendous pressure on the site team to complete in time, and therefore all the more reason to applaud the quality of workmanship they produced under very difficult circumstances”