Sandwell Homes has managed numerous high rise Decent Homes refurbishments in partnership with Sandwell Council’s Urban Design team, including Lancaster House in Oldbury, West Midlands. In order to sufficiently meet the Decent Homes standard a complete refurbishment of the building was necessary, and Ash & Lacy Building Systems was chosen to provide the roofing solution.
Lancaster House contains 112 flats over 10 storeys and is situated on a busy through road in view of the motorway. In addition to the residential space, there are 15 shop units and a building that hosts activities for the whole community. Furthermore there is a basement level used for refuse and storage, which is accessed from the rear of the block.
Upon initial structural investigation, it became clear that Lancaster House was suffering from problems inherent with flat roofs including degradation of brickwork and concrete. Further problems included access to the block, as residents and service vehicles experienced heavy congestion from the busy main entrance. A new entrance at the rear of the block was stipulated to alleviate the congestion problems. To allow for the new entrance, some external garages and the community room were demolished and replaced with a larger car park and a three storey atrium was created.
Sandwell Council’s Urban Design decided that Ash & Lacy’s standing seam roofing system was the perfect choice to fulfil the refurbishment requirements. Ash & Lacy supplied 2000m2 of Ashzip 400 to offer a solution for covering the existing roof, the atrium and also cladding the curved roof of the lift and motor room.
The standing seam roof provided a lightweight solution that also ensures protection against harsh weather conditions thanks to the unbroken sheets that are impenetrable to the elements. The steel frames of the new roof structure could be reduced in size thanks to the strength provided by the Ashzip jointing technique which helped to reduce the loadings imposed to the existing structure. A further advantage of Ashzip is the ability to cut and form the material on site. This was particularly useful for the nature of this project as the block was built in the 1960s and does not have a uniform profile. As well as giving an attractive result, the challenge of the curved roof on the lift motor room was met without any problems by the Ashzip system.
The project received recognition for its sustainability and technical viability by receiving a commendation in the refurbishment category of the Ash & Lacy Awards 2010.
Tony Davies, Principal Design Team Leader at Sandwell Council’s Urban Design commented ‘The project presented challenges initially due to the building not being a uniform shape, but Ashzip met the requirements perfectly and the only problem we have is that being eleven storeys up, no-one else can see how well the product performs. Not only is the product excellent, but Ash & Lacy service and delivery can always be relied upon’.