Gareth Huw Davies


From cat ladders to Bodleian balustrades – company goes with the flow

Atrium steel work, balconies, balustrades and walkways for Leadbitter Construction, Abingdon

Think companionways, cat ladders, balustrades, steel bridges and escape stairs. All of them important pieces of metalwork designed to make it easier to move about in buildings today.

Flowline’s interest in making useful things out of metal doesn’t stop there. The employees at the new George clothing factory at Lutterworth in Leicestershire now have a very convenient viewing deck, with glass balustrades. It’s a wonderful place to stand out in the sunshine and drink their morning coffee.

So is that a typical Flowline job?

Not really,” says Peter Stiegeler, who set up Flowline here in 1995.  “We are fabricators.  We take various pieces of steel and stitch them together. And add other materials, such as glass and wood.”

“Everything is supplied and installed by us. But there is no such animal as a standard job, because everything we do is bespoke.”

Working in the construction and architectural sectors, the company handles every aspect of a project, from concept and design through to manufacture and installation. It provides consultation and advice, site services, drawings, manufacture, delivery and installation. It works with large blue-chip clients, state and educational bodies and private individuals. Jobs range in size from £30,000 up to £500,000.

Recent contracts sum up the range of work the company takes on. In one it had to build a balustrade in front of the Bodleian library in Oxford. “Not as straightforward as it sounds, as most of central Oxford is conservation area.”  The posts had to be anchored in the flagstones using a resin, leaving no trace, and that wasn’t easy.

Other projects include the roof steelwork and escape stairs on a building in London, balustrades and canopies at a school in Bicester, and safety screens and steel bridges at Culham Science Park.

“We chose this place because it was relatively cheap, and quite local to my home in Quainton,” says Peter. His company now has nine staff, and a very solid reputation in the region – it operates primarily within a 80 mile radius of Westcott.

[This article originally published in Westcott Venture Park News.]