Fibre cement profiled sheeting from Marley Eternit has helped to turn the lives of a mother and her son upside down in a Scottish highland village.

Cairine MacIver commissioned Neil Sutherland Architects, based in nearby Inverness, to design and build a new home in her parent’s wooded garden in Evanton by the River Sgitheach as it flows into the Cromarty Firth.

Fibre cement enthusiasts, the practice specified Marley Eternit’s profiled sheeting, which was originally designed for agricultural buildings, for three main reasons – its low embodied energy, affordability and vapour permeability - and turned the house upside down so the living accommodation is on the upper floor to make the most of the views.

The roof extends well over one gable end to provide a covered entrance area and balcony above and features a velux-type window to maximise the light already provided by a large proportion of full-length windows on both floors.

The 74m² property was built in less than a year by MAKAR, the construction arm of Neil Sutherland Architects, using timber frame with exposed timber rafters and walls cladded with larch. It has been designed so that if the family grows, it can potentially be extended by a bay.

Neil Sutherland Architects, who have used Marley Eternit profiled sheeting on many previous homes, aim to produce good contemporary architecture which is both fit for purpose and challenging while sustainable, healthy, fully integrated with the landscape and appropriate to its context.

The practice’s Sarah Johnston said: “We specified the Marley Eternit sheeting because of its low embodied energy in manufacture, its affordability and ability to absorb moisture which avoids the condensation issues typical of metal corrugated roofs. It combines with the timber to create modern agricultural aesthetic. The client is delighted.

“Also on cost and aesthetics, the profiled sheeting product has a contemporary sharp look and being less expensive than equivalents such as slate, allows the developer to reallocate budget costs to increasing thermal performance - with more insulation or higher performance windows for example.

“We are now confident this roofing material is suitable for further domestic projects having successfully detailed the integration of elements such as velux roof lights, solar collectors and standard chimney flue sections.

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