New Dimensions in Roofing

‘Room in the roof’ systems provide invaluable benefits to housebuilders looking to create space and energy efficient design – this is reflected in a new system from Ultrapanel that is set to combine offsite techniques and advanced manufacturing.

The Ultrapanel ‘room in the roof’ system has been developed by Ultraframe, a long-time leader in the UK’s home improvement sector and precision engineered at Ultraframe’s 500,000sq ft facility in Lancashire. Essentially the Ultrapanel system is a hybrid roofing system, geared towards meeting the demands of volume housing developers looking for a high-performance, flexible and quality assured roofing solution.

“At Ultraframe we’ve always designed products that are easy to handle, quick to assemble by relatively unskilled labor and products that can add light and space to a home” says Andrew Thomson, Design and Development Director, Ultraframe UK. “With Ultrapanel we’re bringing those benefits to the housebuilding sector, designing a flat packed room-in-roof system that can easily be incorporated into any house design.”

With factory production only taking two weeks, Ultrapanel’s short lead time provides flexibility to housebuilders managing complex and demanding schedules, and like all offsite technologies reduces on-site frustrations such as poor weather and labour shortages. The system is both lightweight and easy to manoeuvre with use of a telehandler, reducing the cost and complexity of expensive lifting equipment and on-site cranage. The Ultrapanel system can be installed by a team of three in just one day to achieve a rapid weathertight building envelope. The flexible system can see a roof installed in a single day and creates approx. 50-60% more usable space than traditional attic trusses.

Importantly, windows and dormers can be placed anywhere in the roof with no ‘dead zones’. This means that the layout of the top floor room can be maximised as windows can be placed exactly where they are needed – even above staircases to bring natural light into the floors below. As Ultrapanel has no traditional roof trusses or purlins, the ceiling can be vaulted allowing space for a mezzanine floor in some roof designs.

“The complete Ultrapanel system is the only room-in-roof system with BBA certification and NHBC Accepts,” says Andrew. “This provides assurance to housebuilders that the structural, thermal, condensation risk and fire risk have all been independently verified. The design has a structural eaves section which distributes the load into the supporting wall so the support traditionally required either side of a roof opening does not need aligning with the wall below. The absence of internal structure means maximum flexibility to utilise the space.”

The Ultrapanel system is precision engineered in one ‘unitised hybrid panelised solution’ to maximise the material properties of the structural steel and timber elements, integrated with a high-performance insulation core. The Ultrapanel system is delivered to site as a complete room-in-roof kit of parts including all components and fixings at a pre-agreed assured price. Reducing the costs and risks surrounding on-site storage, this means the system is more sustainable and eliminates much on-site waste and associated disposal costs.

“To make the system both lightweight and thermally efficient the structure is a composite I-beam with steel cords and a hardboard web using a patented joining method,” adds Andrew. “This utilises the best characteristics of each of these materials – the steel is both strong and formable, to create easy clip features, the hardboard creates the thermal break. Together they support the insulation to make a panel which is less than 6kg/sq m, so a 5m roof panel only weighs 18kg. There are also structural beams using both steel and OSB which are fully insulated so there are no cold spots in the system.”

A dedicated Ultrapanel team will be offering continuous support – from the first enquiry to the installation – through its dedicated customer care and site teams. With installer training for in-house operatives, the Ultrapanel team will also be offering guidance throughout the design, specification, manufacturing and installation process. “We have been developing the system over the past four years alongside major housebuilders to ensure we get off to a quick start, says Andrew. “We have developed a version of the panel using non-combustible materials which we use for the party wall structure and we will continue to extend applications of this new material.”

Originally featured in Offsite Magazine – click here to read full article.

Click here to find out more information about the Room in the Roof System.

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