032 RCI 0517

RCI May 2017

MANAGING ASBESTOS Dealing with roofline asbestos risks Here, Kevin Wallis, category manager at Marley Alutec, explains how roofline asbestos risks can be managed effectively whilst also improving the performance and aesthetics of the buildings Buildings of a certain age, typically constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, commonly contain a significant amount of asbestos. While it is perfectly safe if undamaged and intact, as the buildings start to deteriorate, the risks increase. Causing around 5,000 deaths a year, asbestos is a recognised carcinogen and very expensive to remove, especially when it is integral to the building fabric. It therefore makes good sense for those responsible for the building to look for other solutions to manage the risks. One common area for asbestos use is in the eaves systems, particularly on flat-roofed public buildings built in that era where asbestos cement roof decking was popular. The problem with this roof decking is that the continuous sheets often form both the internal ceiling finish and the external soffits – meaning removal would now come hand-in-hand with a complete roof reconstruction. Bringing in specialist contractors and sometimes even having to close public sites soon drives costs upward, however other options are available that will mitigate asbestos eaves risks without the need for removal. It is widely accepted that the type of asbestos used in soffits and roof decking poses no danger as long as it is in good condition and left undisturbed. Durable eaves systems provide an ideal solution to this problem, however the material’s attributes are crucial to the application. The key is that the new eaves system is strong and rigid enough to span the depth of the soffit required without the need to drill and fix into the existing asbestos system. Marley Alutec recently worked with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to overcome just such a challenge at South Holderness Technology College during its renovation and extension. Built in the 1950s, South Holderness Technical College was constructed with a flat roof using asbestos cement roof decking. What’s more, the soffits had been painted and cross contamination 032 MAY 2017 RCIMAG.COM had occurred between the paint and asbestos, meaning any flaking paint would be a potential risk to the site users. Bespoke solution In collaboration with the on-site installer Amazon Rainwater Systems, Marley Alutec’s technical department came up with a bespoke solution using the Evoke fascia and soffit system. The main challenge was to design a soffit system which could span in excess of two metres without fixing to the existing roof deck. Thankfully, the Evoke range is made from a recycled polyethylene core with a composite aluminium outer layer, which is extremely strong and rigid despite being only 4mm thick. The result was a bespoke soffit support design that fixed into the external cladding rather than the asbestos itself. Philip Hand, commercial director at Amazon Rainwater Systems, the subcontractor that installed the rainwater systems and fascia and soffits at the college, said: “Marley Alutec’s aluminium Evoke product is perfect to overcome these types of challenges. Despite being very thin it has a good rigidity and is able to maintain its shape across large expanses. It is also very easy to work with as it’s so light and can be modified on site using standard carpentry tools.” High quality composite aluminium systems are also well suited to the task because of their extremely long life expectancy and minimal maintenance requirements. Marley Alutec’s Evoke fascia and soffit system, for example, has a life expectancy of 50 years or more and incorporates a nano self-cleaning additive, which resists the build up of dust, grime and moss. The use of such durable eaves materials means in one stroke it may be possible to contain the risk of future contamination by encapsulating the existing eaves for the entire remaining life of the building. When you weigh up the risks against the costs, it’s a worthwhile consideration. One other bonus of using aluminium systems is their aesthetics. Once installed, aluminium systems provide a sleek and uniform finish that is difficult to match with other materials. The effect of rainwater and eaves systems to frame a building can be quite pronounced and is particularly effective when aluminium fenestration is also being used. At Marley Alutec we are exploiting the material attributes of aluminium composite material to provide a safe, cost effective answer to the issue of asbestos at eaves. The South Holderness scheme is an example of what can be achieved working with a creative, capable manufacturer with years of experience offering a full technical service where most challenges can be overcome. www.marleyalutec.co.uk Images show South Holderness Technical College before (left) and after (below) Marley Alutec’s and Amazon Rainwater Systems’ work


RCI May 2017
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