The Holistic Approach to Roof Design

One of the most interesting discussions during our recent seminar on Designing the Perfect Roof concerned the question ‘Why?’

Why do you design roofs ‘from the deck up’ for free?
What’s in it for you? 

To answer this question we need to begin at the beginning. Why was SIG Design & Technology set up in the first place? It began at the end, with Guarantees.

Begin with the Objective – Genuine Guarantees

Our parent group, SIG Plc, are materials suppliers. In fact they are one of the largest suppliers of construction materials in Europe. But SIG Design and Technology don’t just supply materials; we make product choices, design the roof, and manage the process on site through accredited contractors.

All this is to ensure we can provide genuine guarantees.

At the core of our offer are flat roofing systems. Flat roofs are a key part of the UK built environment – the market for flat roofing systems has been in excess of 20million m2 for much of the last decade*. Many modern buildings need flat roofs for practical purposes, as well as aesthetic ones. There is a genuine and growing need for good flat roofing systems.

However flat roofs have a reputation for reliability problems, so there is a client requirement to reduce the risk of using flat roofs, which they communicate to their contractors via a request for long, reliable guarantees.

Our company, SIG Design & Technology was originally set up to help our main contractor clients provide genuine, long guarantees for flat roofs. We can provide guarantees that cover both product and workmanship, and therefore we need to ensure that workmanship is good quality, so we need to be able to influence how they are installed.

Manage the Site Process

 In order to guarantee our roofing systems, we need to ensure the process of installation is reliable and good quality. We do this through our accredited contractor scheme (DATAC) and regular monitoring of the roof installations by our team of field technicians. These processes ensure that reliable, experienced roofing contractors install the roof and that they have the specialist technical support on hand when they need it.

Manage the Roof Design Process

Of course a badly designed roof will always be impossible to install well, so to ensure we can provide guarantees we also need to be involved in the process of designing the roof.

This is the part of the process our architect clients sometimes find it hard to understand. Why would we take on the roof design and carry the risk through our own PI insurance, for free?

If you look at the design in the context of a holistic approach, however, it makes sense.

1.       We design the roof so that we can take on the risk.

2.       We take on the risk so that we can provide the genuine guarantees. And

3.       Our reward comes, as normal, through the supply of the product itself.

However, unlike product manufacturers, we don’t just recommend our products. Because we are suppliers, we have put together a portfolio of products. This way we can recommend the right products, objectively, for the right application, every time.

Manage Product Selection

Lastly we come to the beginning of the process, the point where a specifier might start, the choice of product. We feel it is essential for a ‘PerfectRoof’ that your choice of product is based on the requirements of your roof, not on the power of a manufacturer’s sales team.

SIG Design & Technology pride ourselves on being ‘Product Agnostic’. This means that we can advise you on the right type of waterproofing, the right type of green or metal roof, to suit all the needs of your project. Criteria you might have include the basic ones of cost and longevity, but also sustainability matters like environmental performance, whole life costing, responsible sourcing and health and safety of operatives.

Being specialists in more than one roofing system, we can help you choose the right product. The choice of product is up to you, and if you specify our products, whichever ones you choose, we ultimately are rewarded through the supply chain. In this way our technical advice, design support and all the on site support systems, are provided completely free of charge to our customers, including architects and other specifiers.

The Holistic Approach

So our motivation for ‘free roof design’ becomes clear. We design good quality roofs because we have to guarantee them. We guarantee our roofs because our clients require it, and we provide you with free, objective product advice, technical support and design to enable us to provide those guarantees.

*Flat Roofing Market Report – UK 2013-2017 Analysis, AMA research

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