Crowngate Apartments

Project name: Crowngate Apartments
Client: Midland Heart
Sub contractor: Hodgson Sayers
Solution: BMI Sealoflex, BMI Tecnatorch Firesmart, BMI Total Torch, BMI Sealoflex, BMI Tecnatorch Firesmart, BMI Total Torch, BMI Redland Cambrian slate

A logistically complex project to replace and upgrade the pitched and flat roofing systems on Crowngate Apartments in Birmingham’s city centre. The building is home to 180 tenants who remained in residence throughout the project. As a result working times, clear access areas for residents and working areas had to be clearly identified and adhered to.


There were pitched roof areas and three internal flat roofs to strip and re-cover and access to these roofs was either from up and over the main roofs at high level or through the building at lower level. This made it difficult moving materials logistically. Two of the internal roofs needed to have new box gutters built to overcome previous problems with blockages and flooding. This was achieved by installing a tapered insulation scheme. The neighbouring building was privately owned and access was not permitted, so the scaffolding was designed to span over the apartments.

The building also had an old window cleaning cradle lift fitted to enable access to the windows of the internal elevations above the low level flat roofs. With the added thickness of the new insulation fitted there was insufficient height between the top of the insulation and the bottom of the rig to form a conventional upstand at the base of each of the steel support posts. BMI solved this problem by using a liquid covering in conjunction with the felt to seal around the base of each metal post.


Excellent standards of workmanship were delivered by the Hodgson Sayers’ pitched and flat roofing installers throughout the project. The flat roof installation process involved stripping off all of the old materials back to the original concrete-deck substrate. Self-adhesive primer and self-adhesive felt were applied to abutment walls, perimeter and all vulnerable areas to comply with the requirements of Safe2Torch.

Hodgson Sayers ensured there was a night seal on all exposed areas before leaving the site at the end of each day. The process was periodically inspected by BMI to ensure that the specification was fully complied with and that a high level quality workmanship was maintained to completion. This enabled BMI to fully guarantee the new roof and for the project to achieve the Competent Roof Scheme status.

Project Management

Progress and standards were inspected on a weekly basis by a contracts manager and the site manager sent daily progress reports including photographs to the contracts managers. These reports were a vital source of information that enabled the team to monitor progress and manage material deliveries and ensure performance exceeded client expectations.

Health and safety and environment

The removal of debris and delivery of material, due to limited storage, was planned around the restricted environment which created an almost continuous flow of material via the integrated hoisting arrangements. To support the site manager, monthly visits were carried out by the company’s SHEQ Department. This allowed for a documented assessment of the operational processes, which were measured against regulated criteria to make sure health and safety standards were being upheld on site.

BIM aided detail and interface design

The use of BIM technologies also assisted with the design and understanding of the junctions between the various different roof types, windows and flashings which, due to the increase in insulation depth were all altered while still complying with building regulations. Hodgson Sayers created virtual images of the existing abutments and junctions and then overlaid the images with the new specification to ensure that what it was trying to achieve in theory could be achieved in reality.

One of the greatest challenges was carrying out this lengthy project with the least disruption possible to tenants living in the flats. Hodgson Sayers had to maintain safe access for residents at all times and strictly adhere to its own working areas. Scaffolding had to be constructed around the exterior of Crowngate so that the construction team could access the different roofs, and also provide an edge protection to the entire building. It was also essential that large quantities of roofing material was removed safely and transported quickly from the site as there was very little on-site storage and the building lies between two busy roads on the edge of Birmingham’s bustling Jewellery Quarter. - Rob Kraska, Senior Contracts Manager, Midland Heart

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Crowngate Apartments