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It’s December, you’ve already eaten all the advent calendar chocolates, and as per tradition, we’re counting down the top ten blog posts. Our Top Ten Roofing Design Blog Posts of 2017
So which are the most popular posts we’ve written on our roofing design blog this year?
Here is the first half of the top ten, in reverse order. Next week we’ll share with you the top five. Have a look at what you missed, tell us what you want to read about, and maybe you can help us write about what you want to know in 2018.
So wind up the gramophone, cue the music and lets started!
10. Flat Roofing Terms – A Glossary
We started blogging about school roofs earlier this year, and already one of our posts is in the top ten. This is a glossary of flat roofing terminology, written specifically for school business managers, but also useful for those of you not heavily into roofing.
From Build up through Interstitial Condensation to Waterproofing, use this glossary to explain terms to yourself, to clients, to your architectural assistants. It is already very popular, but if you think we’ve missed a particular definition feel free to share it on the post in the comments and we’ll add it in.
9. Vita Student Newcastle: Zinc Shingles and Stone Cladding
Everyone loves a zinc project, and this one has only been up six weeks and has already swept into number 9. Vita Student provide high quality student accommodation and this development of 259 studios is on Westgate Road in Newcastle town centre, right next to the station and surrounded by listed buildings.
We spoke to Project Architect Philip Walker of Fuse for the case study, who explained the challenge of designing in such a prominent site and how the design team developed a façade that is unashamedly contemporary, but has a timeless quality the client required, complementing the neighbouring buildings without imitating them. The stunning photography by Terrance Smith shows just how well this has been executed, with 560 x 250mm rhomboid shingles in elZinc Slate neatly picking out the bespoke anodised aluminium windows and sandstone cladding.
8. #Safe2Torch: What Architects Need to Know
Safe2Torch is the new NFRC backed strategy to reduce the risk of roof fires. In this post, we set out what Safe2Torch is, what we are doing to implement the strategy and support the campaign, and what architects need to know about safety with hot works on roofs.
We’re delighted that the campaign has been such a success and that our post about it has got to number 8 in our top ten. This shows how much architects care about fire safety and that can only be a good thing. We’ve also produced a guide for clients which has been very popular. The #Safe2Torch campaign has got a great deal of press coverage and it’s good to see so many roofing companies getting on board.
7. School Risk Assessment: Hazards of a Leaking Roof
We’ve all seen them, leaks staining the ceiling tiles. Perhaps you’ve seen them in your child’s school or a school you’re visiting for work. This post about the hidden hazards of leaking roofs was written to help academy heads and business managers write their risk assessments in respect of leaking roofs and it is our top ranking school roof post this year, coming in at number 7.
In the post we run through the main hazards of leaking school roofs which are becoming more and more of an issue as many of the roofs on our built assets in education come to the end of their working life. These include fire risk, slip and trip hazards, health hazards from moisture, water damage to equipment and the building fabric. Our post seeks to help schools make the case for funding, and prioritising, roof repairs.
6. The Alchemist Salford Quays – Cladding a Gold Folded Box
The Alchemist at Salford Quays has been a huge hit with everyone from architects to punters. Its even appeared on BBC Breakfast and everyone is tweeting about it.
Our case study interviews Marion Room of Reid Architects and Paul Smith, MD of Longworth – whose team installed the stunning folded gold roof and walls. We learn about how the form of the building evolved, how the gold elZinc Rainbow cladding was chosen and the complex process of bringing the vision to life. The case study is supported by some excellent photography, but don’t take our word for it – you can find plenty of pictures online!
5. Flat Roof Specifier Checklist Part 4: Interfaces and Cost
Choosing the right flat roof system can be a challenge, but ask the right questions and you’re half way there. At last year’s seminar we launched a Flat Roof Specifier Checklist, and then during the early part of the year wrote about how to use it.
This post by Sales Director Ross Finnie covered the knotty problems of interfaces with other materials, including those created by penetrations and roof mounted plant such as solar PV systems. In particular he discussed the importance of programming of interfaces – ensuring for example that the waterproofing is installed before any door thresholds. The post also looks at why determining the other factors that affect the roof design will ultimately influence the finished cost of the roof, and need to be considered as early as possible in order to ensure the outcome is favourable
4. Flat Roof Specifier Checklist Part 3: Drainage, Insulation and Upstands
Coming in at number four is another of our checklist posts, this time looking at drainage, insulation and upstands. Ross explains the options for getting water off your flat roof (which of course is very rarely completely flat), what the options for insulation are and how insulation can play a part in drainage, and then looks at upstand heights from the point of view of what height is available for the roof build up.
The purpose of the checklist is to encourage specifiers to identify where the pinch points of the roof design are, so that this can be discussed more easily with your roofing specialist, clearing out any nasty surprises well in advance and making sure you don’t miss any obvious solutions which will make life easier in the long run.
3. Flat Roof Specifier Checklist Part 2: Design Factors – Aesthetics and Structure
The last of three checklist posts in our top five focuses on the early decisions the designer makes. These are about what the roof is going to look like, and what is going to support it. Simple questions perhaps, but they form the foundation of all the later decisions that need to be made.
More aesthetic options are available for flat roofing than might be supposed. Membranes are available in a wide range of colours, and if the roof is on view it may well be sensible to choose an alternative to the narrow range of greys and pick a RAL colour. Other membranes like FDT’s Rhepanol can be painted with a paint with real flakes of copper within so that over time it weathers to a beautiful, genuine verdigris at a fraction of the cost of copper roofing. And that’s before we discuss green roofing and roof terraces.
In this post Ross also provides invaluable advice about the likely roof structure of your building. Which are the commonly chosen structural solutions for your building type, and how does this influence your choice of roof insulation, build up and finish later? Read the post to find out, and don’t forget you can download the checklist and use it to help move along your design decisions.
2. Flat Roof Upstand Best Practice
We are now at number two and still no metal posts in the top five – how can that be?
This post, originally written for our partnership with Architecture Today, is the second most popular, and it’s no wonder. One of the most common questions our specification managers get asked is ‘How high do I need to make the upstands?’ closely followed in some instances by ‘What if I don’t have 150mm?’. This article is about why upstands exist and how you can avoid asking the second question.
In the post we begin with why upstands are required, what they do and what British Standard BS 6229:2003 Flat roofs with continuously supported coverings (Section 7 page 12) requires. We then look at how to meet the British Standard, and what to do about exceptions, for example if you need a level threshold, how to deal with balconies and areas where you can’t meet the 150mm rule.
Finishing off with a variety of mitigation options, the whole post is supplemented by a range of standard details supplied by our partners at IKO, including an NHBC threshold detail. Have a look – we think you’ll find it as useful as those other thousands of blog subscribers have.
So without further ado, here’s our number one:
1. Failed Flat Roofs – Don’t Split the Build Up!
It is years since a flat roofing post beat a metals post to the top spot, but it has finally happened again, and this post clearly touched a nerve. It’s already in our top 20 blog posts of all time and rising, so don’t forget to check it out and learn the lesson it so clearly teaches.
Technical Director Stephen Cleminson told us a story about how a number of small domestic roofs were reported to his team over the course of a few weeks which all appeared on first inspection to have failed in the membrane. But it turned out they weren’t leaking at all, they were all suffering from interstitial condensation, and all for the same simple reason which should be a lesson to all specifiers and main contractors.
Flat roofing is a specialist job, and whilst products have come on leaps and bounds in the last 50 years, it is sometimes the simplest mistakes that cause problems. If you don’t want your flat roof to fail, make sure you consult a specialist, and make sure your contractor uses them properly.
Tell us what you want to read
Don’t forget to subscribe to get our posts in your inbox two or three times a month. We won’t spam you, and you can unsubscribe at any time. And before we go, remember that we’re always open to suggestions on what to write about, so why don’t you tell us what you want to read
So we’ve shared our top ten most popular post this year. Were they what you expected? Was there a post you found useful which didn’t make the top ten? Or have we not written that post you’d like to read yet, perhaps a piece of advice you need which we can share? We’d love to hear from you, and hope to include your suggestions in our plan for 2018.
Drop us a line with your suggestions. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss all the technical advice, comparison tables, checklists and case studies we’ll be sharing with you.
It only remains for us to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2018.
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