‘The Serpentine’

With a name like ‘The Serpentine’, it’s no wonder that this snaking housing project called for a flexible roofing solution!

The £11.6 million regeneration scheme in Aylesbury saw a former Territorial Army site transformed into an affordable and sustainable housing development, comprising 94 terraced houses and apartment blocks forming a continuous curved building.

After the existing army building was demolished, a timber-frame structure was erected to form the development’s unusual snaking shape. Accurate Roofing were tasked with challenge of installing the roof element, with Sika Sarnafil single ply specified for its flexibility and suitability to tricky detailing. Accurate Roofing’s commercial director Adrian Humphries said the shape of the building posed a number of technical challenges.

“The main challenge was the unusual construction method used by the main contractor, Denne,” he reveals. “This saw the huge timber structure erected from opposite ends, section by section, until eventually meeting in the middle. The main reason for this was to overcome the fire hazard that working in a complete, elongated structure otherwise posed. But this meant the roofs had to be weathered very much on a section-by-section basis before meeting in the middle.”
















The roof features a total of 3,800sq m Sika Sarnafil G410-18ELF membrane in Lead Grey, together with some G410-15EL also in Lead Grey for detailing. The shape and pitch of the roof called for the utmost precision when installing the main membrane as well as the various detailing and profiles. As Adrian continues: “The curvaceous nature of the roof meant we had to install the single ply in sections on a steep 20-degree pitch to make sure that the layout of the standing seam profiles were precisely measured to create the stunning visual appearance of the finished roof.”

Because of the size of the project as well as the tight 12-week contract period, Accurate put three teams of installers on the job to ensure it was completed on time and to the highest standard of workmanship. But, says Adrian, this was no mean feat. “We used over 150 tins of adhesive to install the roof slopes, 5,000 fixings to fix the perimeter detailing and hand welded over 6,000m of standing seam profiles. This illustrates the scale of the task we faced! But thanks to our careful planning with the site teams and our sealing each area, section by section, as works progressed, not one single incidence of damage occurred at the joints between the buildings.”

As a very newly appointed Sika Sarnafil approved contractor at the time, Adrian says Accurate Roofing is particularly proud to have secured and successfully completed this prestigious project. “The Serpentine put our skills to the test, but we are pleased to have overcome the various challenges on time, on budget and to the satisfaction of our clients, the Homes & Communities Agency, Denne and Thames Valley Housing Association. They and architect RDA agreed it is one of the most spectacular constructions they have seen due to its size, innovative construction method and extremely unusual shape. We certainly feel it is a truly visually stunning project.”