Deteriorated stacks

Stack Plan

By admin, April 28, 2006

Plan devised to safely remove deteriorating chimney stacks at historic facility.

Deteriorated stacks

View from below shows daylight through joints of the riveted stacks!

In 2006, I developed a plan to remove two deteriorating 100-foot high chimney stacks from a historic facility adjacent to a not-for-profit museum where I volunteered. The riveted-steel stacks were considerably deteriorated−particularly near the top−and seemed in real danger of collapse. Historic buildings below were finally being repaired, and a stack collapse would greatly damage (or even destroy) them.

The owner of the property did not want to spend a lot of money to remove the stacks, but it was a difficult project in tight confines. The stacks were built upon boiler settings within the building interior, not near outside walls.

Chimney stacks

View of historic shops with chimney stacks

I measured the chimney stacks and calculated weights of various sections. I measured the surrounding building and analyzed access and crane loadings from various points. I determined how I could use a friend’s modest National truck crane and other rented equipment to safely and delicately access the stack tops, cutting off and removing modest sections and minimizing collapse danger with work underway.

Needless to say, I wasn’t climbing that ladder!

Top sections of stacks

Top sections of stacks in deteriorated condition

I outlined my plan to management of the historic complex but it was rejected.

Overview of stacks

Overview of the riveted steel stacks

As of late 2014 the stacks are surprisingly still standing, so perhaps I was premature in my concern. Regardless, I think my plan was the least expensive safe way to remove them and I am confident it would have worked well. The historic stacks will come down someday−ready or not!