Many of the new developments are PFI’s and this is one of the driving forces behind the need for endurance and security. The investment companies that build and own the school buildings have long term obligations that are often formalised in a service level agreement. Under these arrangements, if classrooms or other facilities are not available the owner of the building faces a financial penalty. Against this background sound engineering design in the architectural details, the use of resilient, low maintenance materials and consideration of the practical threats that the building faces are essential.
Modern rainwater down pipes bar access to the roof where intruders could cause harm to themselves, cause damage to roofing and skylights or gain access to the building and cause further mischief.
Roof designs on new schools often have concealed gutters and projecting aerofoil fascias. These soften the lines of the building and accentuate curved frontages. In addition, aerofoil fascias are themselves a climbing deterrent. Climbers cannot easily get around and over their smooth contours and access the gutter.
At Highfield Community Primary School in Sunderland, Guttermaster supplied semi spherical aerofoil fascias at the eaves and stepped shadow curve verges on the building gables. The shadow verges disguise the depth of the highly insulated roof and emphasise the vault curvature. Taking sustainability to a higher level, these buildings also have green roofs from Bauder. These have carpets of sedum plants on the roof to reduce storm water run off, absorb carbon, reduce solar heat gain and help the building to sit more comfortably in the landscape.
Aluminium is Guttermaster’s material of choice for both standard rainwater products and bespoke fabrications. Aluminium offers long term sustainability. In addition to its long life and low maintenance requirements, it remains a high value material that is easy to recycle with only modest energy input – reduced by 95 percent compared with the energy consumed in the production of virgin aluminium from ore. Around 40 percent of the products made by Guttermaster are made from recycled material.