Tackling the unique challenges of extreme conditions
AS CLIMATE CHANGE INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF THIS WINTER’S EXTREME WEATHER, WHAT FACTORS SHOULD ARCHITECTS, DEVELOPERS AND SPECIFIERS BE CONSIDERING WHEN ROOFING IN COASTAL AREAS? JOHN CUNNINGHAM, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF METROTILE UK, PROVIDES SOME ANSWERS.
Resistance to storm force winds is just one of the factors consider.
The unique challenge posed by saline air is another. Then there are transport costs to consider, too, as many coastal areas are remote and moving many tonnes materials can be prohibitively expensive.
So what are the options?
One choice is asphalt roofs covered in shingles. It’s cheap, but unattractive and not durable either, especially in stormy areas.
Clay and slate require large amounts of maintenance as storm winds chip them and can remove them altogether, causing leaks and aesthetic deterioration.
Wooden roofs look great but you can treat them as much as you like – they won’t stand up to the weather for long. At Metrotile UK we believe we that lightweight steel tiles can be the perfect solution. I say “can”, because with some manufacturers the quality is far from a given.
In fact steel roof tiles have had their critics – accusations of being easy to corrode, prone to rust and insecure.
Many of our competitors still fall victim to these criticisms, having inferior standards for installation, durability, galvanisation and coating. But high quality steel tiles are ideal, standing up against whatever nature can throw at them.
Metrotile profiles are fully accredited by the British Board of Agrément and are, as a worldwide product, tested against extreme weather – from cyclical freeze-thaw conditions in Japan, to extreme wind uplift testing in California. And they’re really light – making transport easy and cheap and reducing carbon footprint too. Specifiers working extreme locations around Britain and its territories are learning to rely on our products.
In Gibraltar, procurement specialists Colomendy have been using our products for years, recently on the refurbishment of 25 blocks of flats in Montagu Gardens and Montagu Crescent in the Reclamation Areas.
John Bromfield, Colomendy’s joint owner, said unique characteristics of the air in Gibraltar make coastal roofing a real challenge.
“Gibraltar has a very humid and a very hot climate. And it’s also coastal, so it has a humid and saline air problem. In addition there is an atmospheric solution from a refinery about 10 miles across the bay. That sulphur, mixed with salt, humidity and heat, makes an extremely aggressive environment.
“One of the main benefits of lightweight steel for export markets is the weight relative to the covered area. Clay and concrete roof tiles cost an absolute fortune to move around and there are a lot of breakages.
“Financial decision making is different here. In Spain they’ll just choose the cheapest option but building regulations are different here and decisions are made differently, with more value analysis and lifetime cost analysis.”
Our products can be found on the NBS National BIM Library. Our recent growth coincides with the new requirement of all centrally procured public sector projects to require the use of BIM.
We’ve also become members of NBS Plus so those specifying Metrotile products for their building project are able to access our roofing systems via its software.
We envision our work in Gibraltar becoming more commonplace elsewhere over the coming years.
Cost has always been a driver. Sustainability has become increasingly important in the past decade. With climate change growing as a factor, for us it’s a perfect storm.