Flash Of Inspiration

A progressive church has been inspired to simultaneously meet the needs of its growing congregation and address the issue of creating a sustainable building which deters theft in part with help from Z-Led Aluflash.


St Andrews Church in Malvern, Worcestershire, designated a centre for mission by the Archdeacon of Worcester, nestles at the foot of the Malvern Hills. It needed to refurbish its existing premises and extend to provide additional space, taking into account latest Regulations, ecological demands and the growing problem of lead theft from ecclesiastical buildings which has grown over 16,000%* in five years.


As a result, the entire roof- both existing slate and new sedum- has been finished and detailed using Z-Led’s innovative Aluflash environmentally-friendly lead flashing alternative.


Site manager Brian Eaton, for contractor Rok Building Ltd, “Z-Led’s Aluflash gave us enhanced lifetime costs over traditional lead- the church has in the past had quantities of lead stolen from its roof- so it overcomes the issue of replacement costs for materials and labour. It also brought ecological benefits and we found it was easier to lay, particularly over the complex curves of the new roof.”


The completed building provides an enhanced church entrance, extended foyer to allow greater interaction between people, six additional meeting rooms and improved parking, to enable all, regardless of ability, to optimise access to the church.


Z-Led Aluflash is the only material of its type to have attained an AA fire rating, enabling unrestricted use regardless of proximity of neighbouring buildings. Aluflash uses a combination of corrosion-resistant aluminium with a solvent lacquer coloured surface and self-adhesive butyl backing to create a material that provides a viable alternative to traditional, heavy lead. It can be used wherever lead flashing would traditionally be employed- and beyond: its non-toxic construction means it is suitable for use with rainwater harvesting installations, and prevents oxidisation over time. 


Z-Led has developed two unique surface finishes for Aluflash, depending on the application, but both of which are compatible with all common roof materials. The embossed surface is designed for applications requiring less complex shapes, such as pitched roof valleys, soakers and box gutters; the unique cross-corrugated surface is designed for use where the flashing has to be moulded over and around complex shapes, and allows the Aluflash to be dressed in more than one direction.  A 100% recyclable polymer ‘release’ backing sheet helps keep the self adhesive butyl layer clean until required, ensuring a secure bond.


AluFlash is unaffected by temperature, can be laid effectively in hot or cold conditions. The material is supplied in manageable 5m rolls, in widths from 150mm- 600mm in 50mm increments, minimising wastage and time spent cutting to fit. It does not require specialist tools or skills to install. The surface finish can be simply wiped clean to remove site dirt and debris such as cement mortar, and comes in a traditional ‘lead grey’ to complement the building aesthetics.


Aluflash is just part of Z-Led’s comprehensive range of materials to defend buildings against damp and gas penetration, and optimise fire protection. Part of the Building Product Design Group, Z-Led (www.z-led.com) specialises in developing innovative yet practical solutions to meet changing demands in its specific markets.


* % based on figures from Ecclesiastical Insurance; in 2002 it received just 14 claims for lead theft, rising to 2,300 claims in 2007.

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