Winner of the UK Roofing Awards Roof of the Year, sponsored by SIG Roofing, and the Roof Tiling Award.
At a glance:
Architect: Kirkland Fraser Moor (Design Architect) John Phipps (Project Architect)
Roofing Contractor: Rowlands Roofing
Roof Type: Roof Tiling
Finish: Marley Eternit Acme Double Camber clay plain tiles
Battens: LGP Supreme diamond blue BS 5534-grade batten
Membrane: Tyvek Supro
Rowlands Roofing used a mix of craftsmanship and innovation to create the swept curves of this striking roof made up of 60,000 hand cut clay tiles.
Quintain House is a unique two-bedroom house in rural Gloucestershire designed by Kirkland Fraser Moor. The expansive swept curves of the building’s 820m2 roof, is its stand-out feature, demonstrating the highest standards of roofing expertise, craftsmanship and delivery. Quintain House is one of a select number of new builds that have passed the criteria of the National Planning Policy Framework Paragraph
55, which allows for a ‘building of exceptional quality or innovative nature of design’. Less than 100 homes have met this stringent standard in the past 15 years, underlining the uniqueness of Quintain House.
With nearly 40 years’ experience as a roofing contractor, Andy Rowlands, owner of Rowlands Roofing, and his team faced the most complex roofing project of their careers. Striving for aesthetic beauty in a roof is demanding and this was no more evident than in the challenge facing Rowlands Roofing. The flowing beauty of the roof design disguises the need for a highly complex and challenging roofing sub-structure; one that required the team to work patiently, diligently and flexibly to create what project architect, John Phipps and the client had in mind. The complexity of the design required ongoing collaboration with the architect and involved working with extreme rises and falls in the roof layout to produce an elegant, seamless and curving finish.
The roof design presented of Rowlands Roofing with significant technical challenges. The team, for example, had to devise a battening solution that could replicate the unbroken and smooth flow of the roof, apply it safely while adhering to BS 5534, before fixing nearly 60,000 Marley Eternit Acme Double Camber clay plain tiles, all of which had to be hand cut.
Having a flexible and problem-solving ethos on the project also helped Rowlands Roofing. A case in point was the solution devised to maintain a waterproof roof. Where the roof fell outside BS 5534 parameters, the team created an EPDM rubber gutter to channel the water to the lowest point of the curve in order to allow the water back over the tile and then make its way down the roof in the traditional way. This solution could only be devised once the project was underway and the ability to think on their feet, adapt to circumstances and create a workable solution that did not unduly delay timescales, was a constant feature of how the team approached the project and worked with all the stakeholders.
Other issues of difficulty included access to areas of the roof with steep drops and non-traditional spaces, both of which meant constant re-appraisal of the scaffolding used, to ensure safe conditions for the operatives and avoiding disturbance to other trades.
The ‘snake like’ shape of the roof meant the traditional approach to batten fixing would not succeed, forcing Rowlands Roofing to devise another solution. To match the fluidity of the roof, each batten had to be precisely cut in order to give the contractors the ability to curve and bend the wood batten. Entire lengths of batten were reduced from 25mm thickness down to 13mm/12mm/9mm/8mm to promote the bending effect. Rowlands Roofing then layered the ‘thinner’ battens on top of each other to provide the necessary height required and provide the perfect foundation for the clay tile covering. This was a
painstaking task for the team.
The 820m2 roof was a significant area and to achieve the design vision, each of the 60,000 tiles had to be individually marked and cut to match the space requirements of all the roof sections. With some areas having pitches of just 21 degrees, the team was mindful at all times of adhering to BS 5534 best practice, as not only had the roof to be stunning to look at, it also had to be waterproof and secure. Though time-consuming, a steadfast approach to the battening and tiling stages was the only way to
ensure the property got the roof it deserved.
The complex nature of the roofing design meant it would provide challenges in many areas, not least managing expectations. Andy Rowlands ensured the client was constantly informed about progress and fully understood the requirement for adequate timescales needed to complete the job using non-traditional methods. The client was clearly briefed from the start about the amount of time it would take to deliver such a fluid and ambitious roof design and as a result Rowlands Roofing had the support of
client and architect.
Quintain House also provided a brilliant experience for the roofing team, some of whom had not encountered such a roof design before. It enabled the more experienced roofers to add to their knowledge and capability, while providing the apprentice a roofing challenge that will be invaluable in his future roofing career. Rowlands Roofing believes that passing on skills to a new generation of roofers is the responsibility of industry, and exposing the team to the unique requirements of Quintain House will provide untold
benefits in years to come.
The challenging access to parts of the roof was overcome by using a cantilevered scaffolding solution to ensure appropriate and safe working access to some areas which, could not be reached with traditional scaffolding. Full scaffolding was used for all other areas.
Likewise, with 60,000 clay plain tiles to cut, dust suppression and the provision of a designated cutting area, meant working conditions were kept fully under control for all site workers and not just the roofing team, which is in accordance with all health and safety best-practice guidelines.
Adhering to the standards set out in BS 8000 Part 6 meant safety was at the forefront of the project at all times, with all correct personal protection equipment used as per the given guidelines. By following this safety-first approach and, despite the challenging nature of the complex roof design, the project successfully achieved zero incidents of safety failure across the entire roofing project timescale.
“The roofing skills on display at Quintain House are the result of a lifetime of experience and are proof that, with the right attitude and integrity, roofing structures of this ilk are still possible to achieve at a time when worries about future skills shortages exist. It was created with passion, attention to detail and unrivalled skill, resulting in successfully delivery to the delight of the property owner, as well as many other observers who have commented that it is a landmark roof, crowning a landmark building”. Rowlands Roofing