THROUGH A CONNECTION on Instagram, Stuart Ireland and his work partner Kevin Molyneux, came across an exciting opportunity to work with German roofing company, Style Dach Fischer on re-slating the tower roofs of Seehof Castle.
In exchange for this fantastic opportunity to perfect htheir slating skills, Stuart and Kevin are volunteering their work on the project for free.
Stuart started out in the industry as a sheeter/cladder in 2005. He has worked with many roofers over the years, expanding his knowledge and skill set. After his employment ended just over two years ago, Stuart decided it was time to set up his own business. This venture came during an incredibly difficult period.
Stuart recalls, “This was not long after losing my father to cancer. He told me to do my own thing with regards to work.
“Since starting up, I have also lost my brother and mother to cancer so it has been very hard to get to this stage.”
Stuart runs SJI Roofing & Maintenance Services whilst living in Radcliffe, Manchester with his girlfriend and son. His thirst to learn new skills has driven the business forward and Stuart has perfected his traditional slating techniques and lead welding expertise. He sees that being able to offer high standard slating skills is important to the success of his business.
Stuart explains: “We do lots of domestic properties now. Slating, tiling and lots of single ply warm roofs installed to manufacture specs, which most domestic companies do not do.”
Love of craftmanship
Style Dach Fischer’s slogan, which translated from German, is ‘Style Roof – for the love of craftsmanship’ puts quality assurance and care at the centre of the company’s work ethic. This approach is what drew Stuart to volunteering on the Seehof Castle project.
“In my eyes there aren’t many men who work with such finesse and pride these days. Each slate they fit is hand cut and nailed. This is the main thing I want to learn, to bring back to the UK.“
Re-slating the tower
Built in 1686, Seehof Castle, has needed extensive renovation in recent years. Work on the castle has involved re-slating the tower as the old slates had a very small head lap which led to the decay of the underlying timbers.
Stuart is keen to use his perfected skills back home as well as continue to take up all learning opportunities. In the past, Stuart completed some work free of charge on the late, steeplejack and television personality, Fred Dibnah’s family home, including lead box gutters and pointing on a chimney Fred Dibnah built himself at just 16 years old.
Without a doubt, Stuart’s positive attitude towards his work pays off. “I have great reviews on my social media pages, from many happy customers.”