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Liquid assets

Sika Liquid Plastics roofing membrane is a vital element in Lancaster Uni’s energy efficient new science, technology and engineering building

Having been originally built in the 1960s, Lancaster University’s existing engineering building was no longer practical nor energy efficient and with the continuous growth of the long established engineering department needing greater space, the University recognised the current facilities were no longer fit for the 21st Century. 

Therefore, it was decided to demolish the old building and construct a new-build to house its science, technology and engineering faculties. The two-winged development, designed by internationally renowned architects, John McAslan + Partners, will be connected by a central atrium and will house laboratories, mechanical workshops, as well as offices and study space in both buildings. 

In addition, the facility allows for future growth in areas such as energy, chemical engineering and nuclear research, allowing the University to support further expansions within these sectors. 

Eric Wright Construction are the contractors for the project. They selected a Sika Liquid Plastics roofing membrane for use across the flat roofing surfaces of both buildings, opting for the newly launched Decothane Ultra. This is designed specifically for use in sensitive areas that are highly populated, such as schools, hospitals and universities, avoiding disruptions to the daily activities taking place on campus due to its low odour levels. 

Decothane Ultra achieves more than an 80% reduction in odour strength within five minutes of application and a 95% reduction after just one hour against a similar one-component competitor, established by independent testing, making this the ideal roofing solution for the University; its liquid form, moreover, means it’s easy and quick to apply for the contractors. 

The roofing membrane project got underway in June 2013 and due to a phased approach, completion is planned for the end of 2014 for the 1300sq 2 area. It is a fully built-up warm roof with Sika’s vapour control S-VAP 5000 E SA and the insulation used was Sika’s Decotherm which is bonded using Sika’s Decostick SP, all protected by Decothane Ultra, waterproof membrane. In order to guarantee consistency and quality, Sika Liquid Plastics have weekly inspections by a Sika field technician at every stage, ensuring each phase is correctly installed. 

Nigel Blacklock, head of technical for Sika, commented: “Over the past decade, concern about construction product emissions has grown significantly, especially from those involved in their supply and installation. With this backdrop we had some significant development challenges but we were keen to achieve a successful outcome without compromising other aspects of the product and we see this as the new benchmark for liquid applied roof membranes.” 

The completed building is expected to achieve an ‘outstanding’ BREEAM rating, reflecting the efficiencies integrated and incorporated into the construction which includes the roof.

www.liquidplastics.co.uk / www.sika.co.uk