We’ve come to the end of our project replacing some flat roofs on an Academy in West Yorkshire, and we’re now able to share some of the finished roofs with you and find out what a difference the work has made.

Here are the benefits of replacing the flat roofs.

Flat Roof Replacement means…Improved Health and Safety

Dangerous Roof Lights - Flat Roof Replacement, the benefits

Before: Dangerous Roof Lights

Before we started this project, we had already blogged about the health and safety issues involved with leaking school roofs. Hazards include fire risk of water tracking across roofs and ceilings and into electrical fittings, slip and trip hazards, the health risks of moisture and mould, water damage to equipment, not to mention damage to the building fabric.

Now we have large sections of the school, including the hall, dining room and kitchen, and two classrooms, which no longer suffer leaks. We’ve seen how the works revealed the damage that water had done to the fabric of the boiler room roof, and how screwing light fittings into the deck in the hall had caused water to leak into light fittings.

Fortunately, there had been no accidents, no slips or electrocutions in this school, and the staff can have confidence in the new roof’s 25-year guarantee.

Flat Roof Replacement means…Less Work for Staff

New Rooflights - flat roof replacement, the benefits

After: New Roof Lights and no Leaks

Something that shouldn’t be overlooked is the amount of time staff had to spend worrying about slip hazards. Every time it rained, water entered the building and buckets had to be placed in areas where students worked, walked and ate.

Staff no longer have to put out signs in these areas, they don’t need to mop up water and make sure that the students are safe in their day to day activities. They won’t have to worry about leaks into the storage areas and damage to equipment and furniture.

Flat Roof Replacement means…Reduced Running Costs

It is also worth remembering how much money the repaired roofs will save. Wet roofs with wet insulation are not very good at keeping the heat in, and extra moisture in the hall and classrooms has to be vented out by opening windows and losing more heat.

In this project the insulation values of all the replaced and overlaid roofs have been improved, providing more heat retention even than they were when new. This will produce lower utility bills in the coming years, and the new energy efficient boiler that has been installed at the same time as the boiler room roof will also help to keep costs down.

Flat Roof Replacement - No More Leaking Gutters!

No More Leaking Gutters!

Flat Roof Replacement means…Happy Staff, Happy Academy

It is very tempting when funding is available to think about all the things that it could be spent on, and building fabric isn’t necessarily an exciting choice.  When building work is being contemplated, and sometimes when its being carried out, it can be difficult to remember all the benefits that accrue from a warm, properly waterproofed building to work in. Therefore, it is important to get the fundamentals right, and make sure that before you buy new equipment or pay for changes within the school, you make sure the building envelope won’t let you down.

All the above is in fact how schools really should be. Teachers and school staff should be concentrating on doing their jobs of teaching, cleaning and maintaining buildings, rather than rushing around worrying about student safety and clearing up leaks. A well protected building is good for morale.

The experience of having building work done on your school doesn’t need to be onerous. We asked Ian Harmer, the Director of Finance and Corporate Services for the Multi Academy Trust that owns and runs our Academy to tell us about his experience, and this is what he said:

“We find the approach of SIG both welcoming and refreshing as they were always prepared to be flexible, looking at all times to work with the Trust to meet our changing needs and requirements.

“They were always professional in their approach and were very proactive in the way in which they managed the project, much of which was carried out in a live school environment.

“This ensured that the project despite numerous delays in what was a very inclement Yorkshire summer was completed in a timely manner with minimal disruption to school life.”

Ian Harmer, Director of Finance & Corporate Services, Abbey Multi Academy Trust

Next Time: Maintenance of School Roofs

We hope you’ve enjoyed the story of this particular Academy School roof and learned something of use for your own project. Of course, this is just one of the many different schools and sixth form colleges we’re working with, and each project is in some ways unique and special, just like the schools.

Next time we’ll be looking at the maintenance of school roofs, how to look long term and the future of your roofing and put off the time when replacement or recovering may be necessary. Sign up the receive our blog posts by email if you’d like to know when the next post is published. In the meantime, if you have any questions do get in touch or ask a question in the comments.


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About the author – Ian Dryden

Ian is an experienced specification manager with ten years working in flat roofing. He works with our technical team of surveyors, technicians and roofing specialists at SIG Design and Technology to deliver better flat roofs on schools across the country.

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