Beith Street, Glasgow

Vacuum System Helps Fill Void in Student Accommodation

Property developer Downing has continued its reputation for innovation, through to the roof at one of its latest projects, the £60m Beith St in Glasgow.

To help accommodate the city’s growing student population, Downing has built two X ten-storey blocks delivering 701 student rooms. To achieve optimum build speed, Protan’s unique single ply roofing vacuum system has been installed.

Contractor McKay Roofing recommended Protan’s vacuum technology to help address Downing’s requirements of a system that delivered speed of install, even at 10 storeys high, and the need to detail around over 30 service penetrations across the 1750m2 roof.

“An adhered system was originally specified, but that would require a huge number of fixings because of the complexity and height of the roof,” observed Protan’s Fraser Maitland. “Protan is unique in freeing a vacuum system, but the concept was ideal for this: it is much quicker to install, requires fewer fixings, and the height of the roofs and exposed location on the banks of the River Kelvin suits its performance principles.”

Dark grey Protan EXG 1.6mm membrane was loose-laid directly onto the bituminous vapour control layer which had been spot-bonded to polystyrene and mineral wool insulation. The Protan EXG (specifically manufactured for use directly onto polystyrene insulation) was mechanically-fixed at the perimeter, and the Protan vacuum vents inserted across the roof plane.

Air movement across the roof and through the vents creates suction, drawing air from between the membrane and airtight substrate below, causing the single ply to ‘stick’ to the roof. The stronger the wind, the more the membrane adheres to the roof structure. As the construction process avoids penetration of the support structure and vapour control layer, and requires an airtight base, the system can help achieve, or exceed, the requirements of Building Regulations Approved Document L.

Protan is one of the top 3 membrane manufacturers in Europe, and developed the vacuum system to provide an effective, value, solution to single ply roofing in the continent, especially Scandinavia, where winds equivalent to a category 4 hurricane have been experienced in the past few years.”

Manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Norway, Protan roofing solutions are guaranteed for a minimum 10 years, but the company has roofs that have been in place for 30+ years without performance-affecting degradation. A full support service, from NBS specification and in-house CAD design through to technical advice is provided from Protan UK’s Warrington office.