Roker Pier Lighthouse




Refurbishment and conservation


TRAC was appointed by Sunderland City Council to complete conservation refurbishment works to the lantern housing of Roker Pier Lighthouse.

The Challenge

The lighthouse, a Grade ii listed building, is a functioning lighthouse situated at the end of the 800m Roker Pier. It is exposed to extreme weather and sea conditions which often force the area to be closed to the public. The Murette is a wrought/cast iron dome structure that rests on top of a 23m granite tower. The lighthouse had not been subject to routine maintenance and subsequently needed significant repair and refurbishment works.

The plans for the conservation project were not advanced when the contract was advertised for tender.  SCC wished to employ a contractor with the skills to develop the design from the planning stage. The successful contractor was required to engage a conservation accredited consultant to provide drawings and specifications and submit these for planning approval.

The Approach

TRAC Engineering, with a proven record in delivering similar challenging projects, demonstrated the knowledge and experience required were awarded the contract for the most economical advantageous submission. TRAC project managed specialist contractors in metalwork conservation, architectural cast iron foundry supplies, curved glazing, lightning protection and gold-leaf work.

A Notice to Mariners was issued to warn that the light would be extinguished for the duration of the project. The fog signal remained operational throughout, sounding at times of low visibility from a temporary position out-with the Lighthouse.

The Results

The works were carefully programmed to ensure that there was minimal disruption to the operation of the lighthouse and safety precautions taken to protect the pedestrian traffic that use the pier. The project was completed on time and within budget.

Little Ross Lighthouse


Little Ross


Refurbishment and upgrade of lighthouse


TRAC were contracted to refurbish and upgrade Little Ross Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is situated on Little Ross, an uninhabited Island at the mouth of Kirkcudbright Bay in the Solway Firth.  It is next to Meikle Ross on the mainland, and the two small rocks off it, Sugarloaf and Fox Craig.

The island is designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Measures must be considered to minimise impact of the works on the Natural Heritage.

Latitude: 54° 45′ 55.9” N | Longitude:  04° 5′ 5.3” W | OS Ref: NX660433

The Project

Works comprised the civil maintenance repair works and the application of decorative/protective coatings to the external/internal elevations of the lighthouse tower, quarterdeck building, and boundary walls along with the external elevations of the Beacon.  TRAC had to:

  • Refurbish the full lighthouse station
  • Carry out repairs to boat landing; to make it safe concrete repairs and new ladder access were required
  • Replace the tower entrance doors and undertake joinery repairs to windows
  • Replace the boundary wall gates

A separate Beacon tower required rope access repairs and refurbishment.

The Approach

Little Ross is entirely uninhabited and only accessible by private charter from Kirkcudbright.  Access is entirely weather dependent, requiring the teams to reside on the island during works. As there was no living accommodation on the island TRAC had to erect a site camp and establish welfare facilities prior to works.  Due to the exposure of the site, the camp for the team was set up in the lighthouse station courtyard to afford best protection from the elements. The accommodation comprised: sleeping accommodation and living quarters with kitchen, shower and dry toilet all set up in sectional timber buildings. All had to be strapped down securely as gale force winds are common on all Lighthouse sites.

Ship and Helicopter mobilisations were required to land all materials and equipment on site and to remove all at the end. 

The Results

Works were completed on time and to the Client’s specification. No incidents occurred; there was little or no impact on the environment and the navigational aid continued to operate throughout the project.

Scottish Parliament – Debating Chamber Lighting Project


Scottish Parliament


Debating Chamber Lighting

Project Description

Carry out improvement works to the lighting in the Debating Chamber of The Scottish Parliament. Project was in two phases:

  • PHASE 1 Preparatory Works – Spring Recess 2017
  • PHASE 2 Main Works – Summer Recess 2017

Works successfully completed and site handed back to Client 31st of August, ready for Parliament to reconvene 04th September.

Client Requirements

• Bespoke scaffolding design and installation to give access to all areas of the ceiling.
• Replacement of all Chamber lights with new bespoke fully controllable LED fittings.
• New blinds and window film to screens.
• Completion of work during summer recess (1st July to 3rd September).
• Accident free work site.


Numerous unknowns due to limited ability for surveys (many areas inaccessible) plus short programme with no room for delay (MSPs must return on the 4th September) made this a high risk project. Challenges faced included:

• Wiring above ceiling; there would not be enough time if a re-wire or spec change be required.
• Accommodating scaffold in this architecturally complex interior; the high level being crowded with timber beams, steels ties and glass panels.
• Due to the unique interior it was impossible to accurately estimate the time that would be needed to construct scaffold.
• Floor not strong enough to hold scaffold.
• Whether scaffold would give access to all areas of the ceiling – never before achieved in the Chamber’s finished form.
• Distance from set down area to chamber for scaffold transport.
• Expensive, fragile and unique fixtures and fittings – any damage had potential to impact greatly on project due to time restrictions.
• How to position bespoke pendant lights – lights to be hung from complex and irregular structure of beams from 4 cables.
• How to keep site clean while 175 tonnes of scaffold are removed – need to ensure that new fittings are not soiled as access to clean is removed.
• How to test new lighting levels that requires a scaffold free space when any need to rectify might require the scaffold access.
• Each individual component to come through site to be visually checked by Parliament security and police and their dogs.


Worksite surveyed for dimensions using latest 3D scanning technology. This enabled:

• Scaffold uprights to be placed precisely to match with underfloor steel structure.
• Suspended lights hung to accurate locations.
• Templates produced for louvres.

To view some of the impressive statistics from this project check out our project infographic.

Northern Lighthouse Board Maintenance Framework


Northern Lighthouse Board


5 Year  Maintenance Framework


TRAC holds a five year maintenance framework with the Northern Lighthouse Board. The contract involves a full range of maintenance works including joinery, painting, plastering, rough cast work, roof repairs as well as specialist maintenance and refurbishment work associated with the operation of the lighthouses. Constantly contending with the extreme weather and tidal conditions as well as the remote locations associated with these sites; our management team have to ensure the works are carefully planned; keeping all tasks to programme to allow the co-ordination of multiple sites simultaneously.


Internal and external paintwork is carried out using rope and cradle access. Careful preparation of the surface is essential to ensure proper performance with exposure to the elements. Internally, a high quality finish is expected that is in-keeping with the original appearance of these historical monuments.


Maintenance and repairs to structural timbers and finishing’s are regularly required. Doors and windows are refurbished or renewed; rotten timbers replaced and finishing’s repaired.


Metalwork, concrete-work, roof coverings, rainwaters and glazing frequently require attention.


Dampness is a major issue in these uninhabited lighthouse buildings. Re-plastering and plaster repairs are regularly required.

Roof Repairs

Roof damage is common on these very exposed sites. Repairs are required to slate, lead and bitumen roof coverings.

Rough Cast Repairs

Repairs to the roughcasting on the lighthouses and their outbuildings is critical for protection from the harsh weather.


Many steel fabrications are now replaced, by TRAC, with aluminium and stainless steel to reduce future maintenance.


Repairs and replacement of boundary fencing is frequent and must be of the highest specification to survive in the environment.

Masonry Repairs

Exceptionally exposed sites results in often remarkable storm damage. Common repairs required to the estates extensive boundary walls.

Scottish Parliament


Scottish Parliament


Maintenance Project


TRAC holds a five year maintenance contract at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. This iconic series of buildings including the Category A listed Queensberry House is maintained by the specialist on site TRAC team. As an events venue, tourist destination, exhibition space as well as a Parliament; the client required an innovative approach to demonstrate best value for money.


TRAC is responsible for all maintenance work above skirting board level; works include painting, specialist cleaning, joinery, pest control and specialist maintenance tasks.

Repairs and cleaning are completed regularly on the iconic roof of the Scottish Parliament building.

Plastering and painting works are completed throughout the building; works in one of the Committee Rooms are shown here. The rooms are televised regularly and so works have to be completed to the highest possible standards.

Large scale recoating works were completed in Category A Listed Queensbury House. In order to ensure the correct coating and finish was achieved TRAC had to work with Historic Scotland. TRAC personnel undertook specialist training courses in Lime Rendering, Lime Pointing and Lime washing to ensure that any finish we got was to the expected high standard.

The windows of the MSP offices were sanded and painted to look as good as new avoiding the costly operation of replacement which had initially been suggested to the TRAC team.

The bamboo that contributes to the buildings distinctive look has to be treated and regularly protected against the elements to preserve its effect.

The TRAC team had to remove the large timber louvres from the exterior of the building. Rope Access was used to ensure the most cost effective delivery of the works.

Cleaning of the louvre doors that are situated throughout many areas of the Parliament site is shown here.