The University of Manchester, Manchester

Project: The University of Manchester, Manchester

An historic building at The University of Manchester has undergone a complete roof refurbishment with help from the UK experts in single-layer tapered roofing. Gradient Flat Roofing supplied 3,000 sq mtrs of its Powerdeck F tapered insulation to provide the University’s Ellen Wilkinson Building with a modern and reliable roof solution that now provides significantly improved thermal performance and excellent rainwater run-off.

Northwest based multi-disciplined waterproofing contractor, Rooftop Solutions, chose a Gradient solution for this project, with the two companies having worked together on a number of successful previous contracts. The four separate roofs which make up the project were stripped back to the decking before the Gradient tapered insulation was applied over a waterproofing membrane. The project team faced a number of challenges including unexpectedly high levels of rainfall, limited access to the building, lack of storage space on the site plus the need to complete the work during the University’s busy exam period.

“Fortunately the offsite manufacturing process which we use to create our insulation solutions helped tackled those sorts of issues,” explains Gradient’s National Field Sales Manager, Richard Milward. “Each section of the insulation is manufactured under controlled factory conditions and delivered to site ready for immediate installation. This allows us to create whatever falls are needed to ensure efficient drainage, it helps protect the roof from bad weather at an earlier stage, and it also reduces the installation time significantly compared to building up a traditional roof, layer-by-layer.”

The off-site manufacturing also allowed Gradient to schedule deliveries of the insulation so that the need for site storage was reduced, and any disruption to the building’s occupants was minimised.
Charles Openshaw, Rooftop Solutions Managing Director, commented: “This wasn’t the simplest of jobs but it was certainly a success. Having worked with Gradient before we were confident that they could help us tackle the challenges and meet the tight deadlines involved and they did not let us down.”

The Ellen Wilkinson building was named after the University’s famous ex-student who went on to become the MP for Middlesbrough East, the first female Minister of Education and a prominent supporter of the 1936 Jarrow March.