Rigging a Brick Factory Chimney with Safety in Mind

Modern chimney install. Photo courtesy of Donald Perry of Continental Chimney.

The late, great Fred Dibnah, English steeplejack and reality TV star, featured in a number of BBC videos from the 1980’s of his industrial brick chimney operations. Check out Fred’s technique demolishing Victorian industrial chimneys – – by burning them down. Very impressive. Fred demolishes several, both by hand and by felling, and laments the passing of these defining landmarks.

Regarding his chimney scaffold rigging technique, however, he is making it up as he goes along. Note that he always works alone, just him and a ground man, and builds the scariest scaffolds, no backrails, no toeboards. Instead of doing it the conventional way, hanging fixed brackets from a turnbuckled half inch wire rope, with a fully developed backrail system, he nails two massive “A” frames into the brick, capturing the chimney. And check out the 20 foot scaling ladders, at least twice the length of what anybody else would use. Fred is impressive, 300’ in the air, all on his own, cigarette between his teeth, slinging around 20 foot ladders.

Continental Chimney & Engineering specializes in industrial chimneys and works across the United States.

List of Steeplejacks and Rigging Contractors

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