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STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS


Working together to harness the benefits of innovation


David Hulme of Square 4 Services discusses the value of roof trades and architects collaborating to ensure that roofing systems achieve design innovation and maximum performance potential


H


istorically, rooftops have served a primary purpose of providing shelter for buildings, but


evolutions in building designs have become acutely geared towards sustainability and making better use of space, driving demand for rooftops to fulfil new functions. Architects are under increasing pressure to incorporate multiple elements including solar PV, skylights, HVAC systems and green spaces into roof designs, balancing the requirements of each.


Industry challenges


As the specifications of systems adapt and designs change, there can be a negative impact on other elements, inflating costs and compromising performance. To effectively balance design criteria to achieve optimum performance, there is value in specialist roof trades collaborating with architects on design from the early stages. Specialist roof trades can offer additional support and expertise to help architects create roof designs that might have been thought unachievable. The reality is that the industry is moving at pace, and new developments in materials and technologies are creating increased opportunity for design innovation.


Meeting design criteria with adequate consideration to all systems is complex and requires a lot of time and attention over the course of the design and build. In the commotion of convoluted conversations and design changes, inaccurate decisions can sometimes impede performance. For example, some roof surfaces are changed during the design and build schedule in the interest of ‘value engineering,’ without the change being properly communicated to solar PV partners. When installers arrive on site it becomes evident that the roof surface is not


ADF JANUARY 2020


57


suitable for the fixings that were initially specified and these need to be changed for a different option. In some cases, this can significantly inflate costs and add time to tight build schedules, counteracting the perceived benefits of value engineering. Balancing the requirements of the roof with the needs of different systems is no easy task. Working with such limited space on projects it is difficult to identify where elements such as solar PV, skylights, SVPs and HVAC systems might be best implemented, and which should be prioritised.


Maximising design potential It is extremely beneficial for architects to consult specialist roof trades at the very beginning of conversations about rooftop design. By working with strategic partners, architects can be confident that every area of the design is acknowledged thoroughly


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The key to designing innovative roof spaces is thoughtfully planning out and creating systems that maximise performance potential


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