Cost effective roof drainage & eaves solutions – top marks for aluminium
When it’s a building site.
Two of the primary aims of our education system in the UK are:
• comprehensive learning
Alutec will now consider the impact something as simple as building material choice could have on the learning environment.
From the perspective of teaching practice, distraction is recognised as one of the main barriers to effective learning. If would be fair to assume the noise and disruption created by the presence of access equipment, drilling, cutting, hammering, would be detrimental to the students learning experience. You could therefore argue in favour of materials with a long-life expectancy that limits the frequency of such distraction.
An educator’s duty of care to student has gained prominence over the last couple of decades too. Building sites are one of the most hazardous places to work in the UK (even without the presence of young children), therefore valuable money that could be spent on labour and materials are being sacrificed to provide equipment to keep students safe during building works. This again argues in favour of materials requiring little or minimum maintenance. With a functional life expectancy of 50 years, Aluminium is that material.
So, we have established how the durability of material such as aluminium could contribute to reducing the disruption and potential hazards that maintenance, planned or otherwise, can have on the learning environment. Does this mean specifying aluminium eaves products compromises choice for designers striving to either reinstate or modernise their school building stock? Not at all.
At Urmston Grammar School in Manchester, the existing eaves system was a combination of dated cast iron and faded PVC systems, both subject to different cyclical maintenance programmes. They were replaced with Evoke Type B fascia and soffit system in RAL 9010 white colour and Evolve Ogee gutter and 76mm Flushfit downpipes in a textured black finish to reinstate the appearance of the existing cast iron – the entire eaves is no longer subject to ongoing cyclical maintenance in the short/medium term.
In the case of St Michael’s Primary School in Southfields, London, the rainwater specification initially called for aluminium gutters attached to timber fascia at three story height. However, after consulting with Alutec’s technical team and weighing up the cost of scaffolding, the architect at Wandsworth Council decided to opt for products from Alutec’s Evoke fascia and soffit range instead to maximise the longevity of the system as a whole. Why install a gutter with a function life expectancy of 50 years onto a timber fascia which will need repainting in ten to fifteen years?
Designers can also take advantage of other possibilities aluminium rainwater systems make available to them, for example ‘Secured by design’ – vandal resistant downpipes which cannot be pulled off the wall or climbed can be used to fortify and discourage vandalism or trespass on school premises.
Sometimes designers also are faced with hazards present within the existing building, for example asbestos. Built in the 1950s, South Holderness Technical College was constructed with a flat roof using asbestos cement roof decking popular at that time. The roofing system used continuous asbestos cement sheets to form both the internal ceiling finish and the external soffits, so removal of these boards was not a practical option. Working with the local County Council, Alutec came up with the solution to encapsulate the asbestos using its Evoke fascia and soffit system. One of the main challenges was designing a system that could span distances up to 2 metres without the need to fix into the asbestos substrate, instead fixing into the existing secondary timber and window heads.
Choosing durable eaves products can limit the distraction and hazards caused by maintenance leaving more time and money for learning.