Langley Structures gives new lease of life to high-rise towers with flat to pitched conversion

As part of a wider regeneration project, Golding Homes selected Langley Structures’ award-winning Flat to Pitched (FTP) system to improve the long-term value and aesthetics of two of its high-rise towers.

The towers in Maidstone – Sunningdale and Midhurst – were erected in the 1960’s to provide local social housing. In addition to the FTP conversion, the extensive project included replacement doors, window upgrades, boiler replacement, as well as façade improvements. The redevelopment initially began on the Sunningdale tower in 2016, and continued on the Midhurst tower in 2017.

The Langley Structures’ team designed all aspects of the re-roofing envelope, including a lightweight pitched roof frame, a standing seam roof covering that facilitated fixing of the PV panels, plus the facias, ventilated soffit, vertical arrowhead cladding and rainwater goods. In addition, an array of 65 photovoltaic panels was also specified, generating 21kw electricity for the communal spaces.

Chris Francis, head of property services at Golding Homes, commented: “From conception to completion, Langley has surpassed our expectations, both in terms of its technical expertise and the quality of its product. The technical team wholeheartedly supported our project team throughout, and I would not hesitate to recommend or indeed use them again for future projects.”

The new roofs incorporated external downpipes – replacing the original internal drainage system – which eliminates the risk of internal leaks from blocked rainwater pipes and improves access for ongoing maintenance without disturbing the residents. In addition, a maintenance hatch was built into the aluminium standing seam to enable access to the roof, along with a fall protection system.

The existing RBM overlay was stripped down to the original asphalt with the new pitched frame fixed into the concrete deck. The new roof had to be installed over various, multi-level rooftop structures such as the higher-level lift overrun, plant room and accommodate an almost two-metre-high parapet. Because of this, the apex of the new roof was four metres above the original waterproofing level, adding to the complexity of the project.

Despite logistical challenges, for example lifting the lightweight, 11m wide panels and moving them into position at such a height, Langley Structures and approved contractor, Opus Waterproofing Solutions, worked with precision – taking into account the weather at all times – to ensure safety on-site and the quality of the works. In addition, the implementation of compounds around the site and scaffolding, ensured the project was sympathetically undertaken with minimum disruption to residents and the wider community.

The development was also faced with obstacles due to restricted access for the delivery of the roofing sheets on the Midhurst tower, hindered by the narrow curving lane with parked cars that lead to the site. Langley Structures held monthly progress meetings with the build team to discuss the forward requirements and lift plan, and organised the use of a rear steer, articulated vehicle for deliveries.

“The conversion was challenging due to working at such a height” said David Gatehouse, head of Langley Structures. “Safety was of paramount importance, and drawing on our experience and technical expertise in collaboration with the contractor we were able to ensure all logistical challenges were overcome; and delivered a quality FTP conversion to a satisfied client.”