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SpecMaster solves thorny problem at Gorse Hill School

The school buildings date back to 1845 with original Victorian roofs which had been failing for some time

Gorse Hill School in Swindon, a shortlisted project in this year’s NFRC UK Roofing Awards, has been restored to its Victorian splendour thanks to contractor, Davis Roofing, who used Redland tiles and Dry-Fix systems specified under the Redland SpecMaster service.

Not only was Redland involved in renewing the roofs of school buildings dating back to 1845 and 1896, but it was also engaged in a value-engineering process that enabled further improvements to be made to the fabric.

The 1,500m2 of pitched roofing required 33,000 tiles and was ‘highly detailed’, according to Joe Robbins, commercial manager at Davis Roofing. “Every section of the roof had a valley, a change in pitch and a ridge detail, while we also had to deal with repairing timber and leadwork and dry rot,” he said.

But this was helped by the surveyors, Kenneth & Edwards, engaging Redland technical support through the SpecMaster service. “We’d worked with this Redland specification manager for years and he was brilliant, coming out to do on-site inspections throughout the job,” says Joe. The “substantial amount of detailing” was updated with modern materials from Redland, such as GRP secret valleys, vented eave and ridge details and tile vents at the rafter ends, as specified in the SpecMaster report.

Kenneth & Edwards drew up the school’s Capital Funding Application to the Schools Funding Agency for more than £500,000 to replace the original Victorian roofs, which had been failing for some time.

“Our application was priced for a like-for-like replacement with Rosemary Clay tiles but, with Redland’s advice, we were able to use Redland DuoPlain in rustic red instead. It looks just as striking but enabled us to save money that could be spent on additional weatherproofing and installing insulation in the roof without incurring extra costs,” said director Paddy O’Connor, who leads the surveying and architectural design division.

“We chose Redland for the technical support and product warranty it provides.”

The design enabled insulation to be installed from the roof side, so that the original lath and plaster ceilings were undisturbed and there was no disruption to teaching.

“The level of skill and patience shown has allowed us to complete this project to a high standard, whilst leaving these two exceptional school buildings in a condition fit for purpose for the next 40-50 years,” concludes Joe.

SpecMaster is a three-stage free-of-charge service from Redland. At the first stage, Redland provides a comprehensive bespoke specification for any pitched roofing project. Once the project is under way, on-site support is available for public sector clients from Redland’s specification managers to ensure each element is installed correctly and to specification. On completion, the roof is covered by the 15-year guarantee.