Duranite ‘seals the deal’ for community project

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Following extensive roofing and internal fit-out works, The Tree of Life Centre, Newall Green, South Manchester is now open to the public. Occupying the site of the former Greenbrow School, The Tree of Life collect, store and re-distribute good quality used furniture, white goods and clothes within the local community at affordable prices. More than 900 square metres (9684 square feet) of the Duranite flat roof system now protect the building and its sensitive contents from the outside elements.

“The Tree of Life was a great project to be involved in and we are proud to be able to say we helped the project stay within budget. Peter Farmer, Duranite Technical Manger:

Since its closure around five years earlier, the disused former school had fallen in to a state of disrepair with vandalism and lead theft also contributing to the problems. Leaks from the building’s flat roof however were nothing new and had been an issue for many years, with water damage to ceilings, paintwork and hardwood parquet flooring evident throughout.

The Tree of Life, together with project manager Parkway Green Housing Trust appointed main contractor B4box Construction to carry out the works and refurbish the building to its former glory. A new tarmac roadway was constructed by the Territorial Army to allow the goods vehicles used for transporting items of furniture to access to the large doors at the rear of the former main hall. A new kitchen and cafe area were completely fitted out and the doors and windows were replaced with UPVC double glazing. Carpets, suspended ceilings, some small areas of parquet flooring, were also renewed.

High on the agenda was waterproofing of the building’s flat roof. The outdated construction methods employed in the roof structures, coupled with unusual design of the four distinctly separate areas of the roof presented a number of challenges. After evaluating and subsequently discounting a number of roofing contractors and systems, the roofing works contract was awarded to a Licensed Duranite Installer. The flexibility of the Duranite Flat Roof System allowed swift, economical, problem free lining of not only the roofs, but all internal gutters and rainwater outlets, all backed up with a solid guarantee. Whilst the majority of the roof was of cast in-situ concrete construction, the roof over the main hall building consisted of a wood-wool slab roof deck supported by steel work. The existing felt roof covering was visibly degraded and had become detached, flapping around in the wind and becoming worse by the day. Having the option to either adhere or mechanically fix the Duranite membrane, meant the one system could be utilised throughout both areas. The Durafast Secret Fix System and Duratex fleece separation layer further allowed over two thirds of the area to be overlaid above the existing roof covering, and fixed in to the roof deck below. The resultant savings in labour and waste disposal costs were significant factors with regards to the budget, not to mention the reduced environmental impact thanks to around 50 tonnes of aged bitumen being kept from landfill.

Today The Tree of Life is a thriving hub of the community, well on the way to achieving its long term plan, and although best known for its furniture re-use shop, which is renowned in the local area for giving people on pensions, benefits and low incomes the chance to buy household items that they couldn’t otherwise afford, whilst preventing many perfectly good items ending up in landfill, it also provides many other valuable services to the local community, from health and wellbeing sessions, advice and friendship groups to providing an opportunity for local people to train for qualifications and get valuable experience by volunteering in their spare time. The community café at The Tree of Life also provides a good meal and a hot drink, along with a warm, welcoming atmosphere from £2.65.

Lyndsey Grundy, Tenancy Support Officer at Parkway Green Housing Trust: “Tree of Life helps us to support our most vulnerable tenants by providing them with items such as a sofa or double bed, to furnish their homes to a decent standard.”

Peter Farmer, Duranite Technical Manger: “The Tree of Life was a great project to be involved in and we are proud to be able to say we helped the project stay within budget. The roofs were quite a unique challenge as a large proportion of the water run-off is discharged in to a long narrow section of roof above a corridor, which is completely flat and couldn’t be altered within the budget due to adjacent window openings etc, so the water doesn’t really run away from that area.”    





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