Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Innovative Roofing Reduces Effort and Future-Proofs Landmark Building

Effective partnership has enabled the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to future-proof its new, state-of-the-art studio building- and do so quickly and with reduced labour.

The new Spiers Locks2 building- designed by award-winning Malcolm Fraser Architects- is intended to put the Royal Conservatoire at the heart of an ambitious urban regeneration programme supported by Glasgow City Council by creating a hub of artistic activity in that part of the city.

Single ply roofing was chosen as the logical option, as the roof of the new steel portal frame large scale rehearsal spaces is essentially flat. The solution installed on the 600m2 roof is Protan’s unique vacuum roof system, with Protan SE1.6mm prefabricated membrane, laid on top of a pre-cast concrete plank, tapered insulation and a vapour control layer, on the advice of roofing contractor Curtis Moore in partnership with Protan.

Using prefabricated membrane reduced the number of seam welds by up to 65%. The mechanical fixing only at perimeter and penetrations and loose-laying for the vacuum system further accelerated installation. Once, installed, air movement across the roof and through strategically positioned vents creates suction, drawing air from between the membrane and airtight substrate below, causing the Protan SE membrane to ‘stick’ to the roof. The stronger the wind, the more the membrane adheres to the roof structure.

Further, 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.

“Using Protan prefabricated membrane with Protan’s vacuum system actually meant installation was more straight forward than standard overlap, and gave us savings on time and labour. The Protan solution was also less expensive than the original specification of an adhered single ply roof,” explained Curtis Moore project co-ordinator Graeme Ritchie.

Added Protan Business Development Manager Andy Nelson, “The new building had to be future-proof: the roof construction had to be designed to potentially enable a new floor to be added above, but also give appropriate life expectancy if that did not happen. The easy removal and total recyclability of Protan’s of the SE membrane and the vacuum system was of real interest to the client; if they choose leave the roof in place, it will last for decades.”

Professor John Wallace CBE, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, observed, "The Speirs Locks 2 campus is the envy of other UK Conservatoires .  This state-of-the-art facility will add to the already dynamic student experience at the RCS.  I am delighted with the way in which the many contractors involved in this build have come together to help us create this unique learning environment."

Established some 75 years ago, and still privately-owned, Protan is one of the top 3 membrane manufacturers in Europe; it 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.