Flag - roofing IKEA stores across Europe

As an established means of long-term waterproofing, the combination of ongoing training, technical support and rigorous site inspection which support single ply systems lie at the heart of their success. Their technical characteristics, light weight, adaptability to structural movement and suitability for a wide range of substrates have enabled them to capture an ever growing share of the flat roofing market. More recently, developments such as EPR modified polyolefin systems such as Flag-Soprema TPO membranes have provided enhanced protection against UV and combine high strength and inherent flexibility, even at low temperatures. Just as importantly, they have also enabled the issue of sustainability to be addressed. Flag-Soprema’s U.K. Sales Director Steve Greaves commented, “The flexibility of TPO membranes makes them ideal for complex detailing, and these new generation products retain their flexibility regardless of temperature variation. They are also fully recyclable and so address the increasingly important issue of sustainability”.

In terms of technical performance, this latest generation offers even greater solar reflectivity and a consequent reduction in solar gain. Improved malleability makes for easier welding and the material’s retained weldability throughout its service is good news for installers. In terms of the unseen benefits, the positive long-term environmental impact of products which are fully recyclable is one of growing importance. This may appear to be of little immediate relevance to the contractor, but the absence of harmful chlorine, halogen and bromine compounds is already driving specifiers to products with definable environmental benefits. The scope for more work using such materials is therefore increasing as a result.

IKEA is a high profile example of a retailer with a policy of seeking to reduce the environmental impact of its buildings. Its IGR initiative – 'IKEA Goes Renewable', is for 100% renewable energy. For its new £32 million, 30,500m2 store in Ballymun just outside Dublin, Flagon TPO was used to waterproof the roof as part of a requirement by Fingal County Council to meet stringent carbon reduction and 60 on-site renewable targets. Evaluations were carried out on all feasible renewable technologies, and facilities such as a closed loop, ground source geothermal heating and cooling system and a biomass boiler were installed, in addition to application of passive solar control on the south façade. TPO was installed in conjunction with a rainwater harvesting system for a client whose overall aim is to move towards 100 per cent renewable energy for all of its units. Steve Pettyfer, Deputy IKEA Properties Investments’ Property Manager for the UK and Ireland commented, “Environmental impact is at the heart of our building designs and the Flag Soprema TPO system has proved to be a very good choice”. As a result, it has also been used for IKEA re-roofs totaling 71,000 square metres at Thurrock, Wembley and Wednesbury and, currently, Croydon by Flag-Soprema’s approved contractor Letchworth Roofing. Duncan MacRae, Letchworth Roofing’s Contracts Manager for all 4 IKEA refurbs added, “The major challenge with large, high profile retail projects is keeping the stores fully functional without adverse effect on revenue. Flag’s TPO system was mechanically fixed on all the stores so there was an immense amount for us to plan and carry out within the permitted refurbishment windows. This we have achieved in full, with the manufacturer’s support.” Alongside the new Southampton store Flag has now waterproofed 22 stores across Europe.

Analysis of membrane behaviour in various waterproofing applications has been an essential element of TPO research and development, not least because substrates with a tendency for structural movement demand membranes with excellent dimensional stability. Products such as TPO Plus are the result. Like all Flag Soprema systems, it is installed only by approved contractors whose work is closely scrutinised to meet stringent installation warranty conditions. An enviable reputation for consistent performance and detailing quality has been built up as a result. Factors such as greater resistance to static and dynamic puncturing are key to long-term performance, but without high standards of contractor workmanship it is unlikely that such a reputation across the single ply sector would have been achieved. The demands of clients like IKEA bear true testament to the extent of trust being placed both in product and contracting standards.

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