Stan Bakowski and his wife Anastasia have been running their Kent building company, Arlingford Building Services, for six years although Stan has been in the industry for 45 years as a chartered surveyor. They are members of the National Churches Trust’s Professional Trades Directory.
Stan Bakowski explains:
“We are general builders working in London and Kent mostly. We take on anything we think we can do well and we enjoy working on historic buildings. As you can imagine, we have an extensive network of specialists who work with wood, metal and stone.”
A priest or vicar with a church which is not necessarily old but needs thorough and responsible repair and care might well turn to a company such as Arlingford.
Old buildings need repairs
Arlingford Building Services has also done extensive work for the local council-owned Hyland House just south of Chelmsford, Essex. It is a handsome grade 2* listed stucco mansion in the middle of a big park laid out by landscape designer Humphry Repton. It is a popular venue for weddings.
Arlingford completed external redecorations as well as some render repairs.
St Cecilia's church, North Cheam
Arlingford Building Services worked for a year on the refurbishment of St Cecilia’s Roman Catholic church in North Cheam, south London (pictured below).
“We started with internal redecorations and then repairs of St Cecilia’s roof – new tiles and new flashings, then we replaced some of the windows. Later we replaced the rotten headstocks of both church bells. We also supplied 20 new oak pews which matched the existing in the church, using our specialist joinery contractor.”
“A first for us was to supply and fit a new stone altar for St Cecilia’s. It had a stone high altar but the parish wanted the second altar made of timber to be replaced with a York stone altar. Arlingford also supplied a matching stone ambo, or pulpit."
“I like working for churches because the people are so pleasant - they want a job well done rather than push for the lowest price.”
Arlingford Building Services recently undertook a major ceiling replacement when part of the ceiling collapsed in the middle of a service at the United Reformed church in the village of Writtle near Chelmsford. As often happens with the company, it ended up doing other works including repointing and external decorating.
Bakowski thinks it's important to be a sympathetic builder when undertaking church work because there will be times during the week when funerals and other services take place which means builders have to down tools and work round them.
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