What is The Chapel and Quay Hill Exeter development?

Westcountry Fabrication Ltd were contracted by Ease, a Devon based project management firm, in January 2020 regarding an exciting and exclusive development at Quay Hill in the heart of Exeter’s City Centre and Quayside. The ambitious project was initiated by a local couple and architect Nigel and Hilary Grainge with a vision to transform the 120-year-old Chapel and surrounding site into an unashamedly urban feature with four high end homes.

The design of the homes is based around functionality, all are low maintenance and provide ample comfortable and adaptable living spaces. These properties fit eclectically into the landscape. They complement the surrounding industrial features and simultaneously capture and frame the incredible views of the river and historic features that the quayside has to offer. How many homes are likely to abut a Roman and Medieval wall? Probably not too many! And what a beautiful wall it is. Devon Live covered this project back in January and describes a little more about the site and history here.Architectural metal work by Westcountry Fabrication for 4 new homes at The Chapel and Quay Hill development in Exeter 3

Image: Quay Hill development in Exeter’s Quayside, abutting the Roman and Medieval wall.

Our metalwork role

We were contracted to complete the full metalwork package on The Chapel and Quay Hill developments. The architectural metalwork included:

  • balustrading,
  • gates,
  • staircase,
  • balcony,
  • railings,
  • steel pergola,
  • finishing details (such as tension wire and trellis screening)

Nigel, who designed the properties, supplied detailed measurements and CAD drawings of the metal work. He also specified the finish, which would be in acid etched galvanised steel.

Why galvanise the steel?

Many customers choose galvanised steel because it significantly extends the lifespan of the metal, providing the steel with corrosion protection that can provide a maintenance free product life of more than 70 years. For more information on the galvanizing process take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/user/wedgegalv.

Galvanised steel usually has a reasonably high shine silver finish. Nigel requested a dull, gun metal finish to the metal work to complement the lead roof flashings and zinc detailing of the roof and fascia. Rather than apply a paint finish on top of the galvanised metal this was achieved through the process of acid etching. This removed the shine and left the metalwork with a beautiful patina effect.

Galvanised steel mesh and postsAcid etched steel mesh and posts

Left: Galvanised steel mesh and posts. Right: Acid etched mesh and posts. Subtle but highly effective differences in finish.

Quay Hill steel work in progress

Andrew Doige (quantity surveyor) and James Lambe (project manager) from Ease managed the project along with Nigel throughout the year, dealing with many unforeseen circumstances along the way. What a year to take on such a project! Fortunately, we at Westcountry were able to work safely throughout the COVID pandemic under the government guidelines. The workshop team were able to fabricate the parts in our expansive workshop in Saltash. Amanda (mother) took on the task of acid etching all of the work by hand and then once complete items were delivered to site and installed by our site team. Niki Shaw, site supervisor, led the team on site with fitting the materials. Niki said:

‘It was a very interesting project, the balcony especially so. It was an unconventional shape and also required some unconventional fixings and supports. The Westcountry team did an excellent job working around other trades to get the job done.’

Balcony erection by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd at Quay Hill Exeter

Image: Westcountry Fabrication team erecting the steel balcony at Quay Hill development in Exeter

Architectural metal work by Westcountry Fabrication for 4 new homes at The Chapel and Quay Hill development in Exeter 4

Image: Josh Tapp of Westcountry Fabrication adding the finishing touches to the Juliette Balcony at Quay Hill in Exeter. Notice the diamond plates joining the metal to the building, this facilitates run off of water. Also notice the acid etch finish on the metalwork and how that beautifully complements the leadwork below.


Juliette Balcony by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd at Quay Hill Exeter

Image: The finished Juliette Balconies overlooking the Roman and Medieval wall and Exeter Quayside.

The Chapel and Quay Hill Exeter- The finished project

What an incredible achievement for all involved. Nigel and Hilary have invested a huge amount of time and money in this project and every detail has been carefully considered, right down to the automatic low-level lighting in the en-suites. Two of these houses are to be rented out, 1 and 2 The Chapel, and the other two will be put up for sale, 1 and 2 Quay Hill (see listing here.) No doubt they will raise a huge amount of interest. We would love to see the properties as they get furnished and lived in, so if you are lucky enough to snap one up please send us updates- it would be great to see the vegetation grown up over the tension wires, mesh screening and pergola.

Gallery of our metal work at The Chapel and Quay Hill, Exeter (and a couple of Exeter views because they are too good not to share)

Juliette Balcony

Juliette Balcony by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd overlooking Exeter Quayside

Image: View from the Quay Hill development looking through the Juliette Balcony and over Exeter Quayside and river.

Balcony, balustrade, and decking

Balcony by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd at Quay Hill Exeter

Image: Finished balcony from below at Quay Hill, Exeter.

Decking, railings and balcony by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: View from the balcony, showing burst and embossed galvanised and acid etched decking and acid etched railings

Morning dew on steel railing by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: Morning dew on steel railings with Exeter landscape in the background

Galvanised steel railing by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: Galvanised railings and decking on the balcony


Steel staircase by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: Staircase leading up from patio to decking on the balcony at Quay Hill

Steel staircase and balcony by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: Acid etched steel balcony, staircase and balustrading at the Quay Hill site in Exeter.


Steel balustrade by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: Balustrade and handrail at the entrance to Quay Hill, Exeter.

Dwarf balustrade by Westcountry Fabrication with view over river in Exeter

Image: Outside areas that are partially covered on the The Chapel roof terraces offer incredible views, and shelter from the weather. A lovely spot with a dwarf balustrade by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd.


Steel framed gate with wood by Westcountry Fabrication LtdKeep for gate by Westcountry Fabrication

Left: Acid etched steel frame gate with wood infill. Notice the keep that holds the gate open, there is another one on the other wall for locking the gate shut (right)

Garden metal features, pergola and trellis

Tension wire trellis

Image: Tension wire trellis with Fuchsia planted in.

Steel pergola by Westcountry Fabrication

Image: Steel pergola, once vegetation has grown up this will form a fantastic screen between properties.

Development of the Old Chapel at Quay Hill Exeter railings by Westcountry Fabrication Ltd

Image: External view up to The Chapel, Exeter.