BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company which in 2012 generated UK turnover of £8.2 billion with 33,000 employees. Their facility in Barrow-in-Furness is one of only a few shipyards in the world capable of designing and building nuclear submarines and has constructed all but three of those vessels commissioned by the Royal Navy since 1963. SMITE (Submarine Machinery Installation Testing) is a specialist testing facility owned by the MOD and operated by BAE Systems Marine Limited. Its purpose is to test sets of Submarine Main Propulsion Machinery Packages (MPMP) to support the Astute Class Programme of nuclear attack submarines.
Three 70M high chimneys, originally installed in 1975/76 serviced the main boilers in the facility and following a detailed inspection in 2010, it was determined they needed to be replaced. Following a detailed 'down select', James Engineering was selected as 'Principle Contractor' for this time critical project. An additional complication was a requirement that the site had to remain fully operational throughout the entire replacement. The main structure and flues were originally constructed section upon section but this project would see the outer structure remaining 'in-situ' and all steel flue sections having to be guided down the centre of the main structure. Removal of the old chimneys exposed significant deterioration of the main support structure. Extensive weld repairs and repainting were required to complete this stage of the refurbishment. Meanwhile, three 70M high by 2.7M diameter replacement chimneys had been manufactured at our factory in Alfreton which were then transported in sections to the work site. The final installation was successfully completed in just seven days, a remarkable achievement for all involved!