The £230m Princesshay Shopping Centre, in Exeter, officially opened to the public in September 2007, as part of the city’s biggest ever regeneration project, with over 70 shops, cafés and restaurants. The roof of the centre, installed when the building was constructed, had caused various problems throughout its life. A foldable aluminium system with a traditional zinc finish, the product had not provided sufficient waterproofing since day one and, 10 years on, needed to
be replaced. Princesshay required a solution that would offer longevity and
peace of mind for many years to come, as well as fitting in with the aesthetics of the city centre. In addition, any work on the roof would need to be carried out quickly, and without disruption to shoppers and businesses below.

Wishing to ensure roofing works were completed before the busy Christmas
period, building consultancy, Workman LLP, recommended the Sarnafil Plus
package, aware of its great reputation in the industry. The Sarnafil Plus
team offered the client a trusted roofing product, supported by its Technical
team and a fully trained contractor, backed by a solid 20 year guarantee.
Workman LLP worked on the specification for the roof, with support from
Sarnafil Plus, undertaking the initial survey and assessing the client’s
requirements. Blocks K, G and H required refurbishment, an area of around
A Sarnabar system in Lead Grey was chosen, with a T fleece between
the composite deck and the mechanically fastened Sarnafil S327-18EL
membrane. On a smaller roof with a plywood deck, Sarnafil G410-ELF, an
adhered system with a fleece backing, was specified.
It was important to emulate the previous zinc roofs, as they matched
neighbouring buildings and are in keeping with the city’s history. To achieve
this, Sarnafil Plus recommended the roof was designed with décor profiles,
making it look exactly like zinc, while benefitting from the durability of a Sika
Sarnafil membrane.
Western Flat Roofing, a Sarnafil Registered Contractor, was tasked with the
installation of the system. The Western Flat Roofing team, consisting of six
fitters, removed the zinc roof and attached the new, fully welded covering.
At 17 meters above ground, with a busy shopping precinct below, the roof
installation was by no means a simple one.
The Princesshay roof included mesh vents that had to be worked around
rather than covered over, to ensure there were no issues with condensation
in the roof cavity below. Interfaces with vertical zinc sections of the roof
called for Sarnametal trims with a Sarnaplast seal to the zinc, creating a
completely watertight bond.
By far the most impressive part of this project is the speed in which it was
carried out. Initially scheduled to take 14 weeks to complete, Princesshay
required a faster turnaround to make sure that the Christmas shopping
period would not be adversely affected. Unfortunately, the terrible fire in
Exeter city centre happened part way through the works, meaning that
installation had to go on hold for a week. There was a worry that hot ash
from the fire may have damaged the new roof, so to put the client’s mind at
rest, Sarnafil Plus extended the guarantee to cover it, and took samples of
the membrane. Fortunately, there was absolutely no damage.
In an impressive demonstration of team work, Western Flat Roofing and
Sarnafil Plus pulled out all the stops, and the project took 13 weeks in total
to complete, with nine weeks spent on the roof covering, and the remainder
on scaffold erection and striking. During the installation, Sarnafil Plus made
more than seven site visits to support the contractor and ensure everything
was running smoothly.
Once works were finished, Sarnafil Plus conducted a final inspection, in order
to issue the guarantee. More than just the icing on the cake, the Sarnafil
Plus single point guarantee is a crucial part of why clients choose the service.
With virtually zero disruption to shoppers, the project was a great success
and the client has peace of mind thanks to the Sarnafil Plus service.