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News

Modern rainwater systems help secure next generation schools

Guttermaster : 03 February, 2009  (New Product)
British schools are benefiting from the security features of modern aluminium rainwater drainage systems such as anti-climb gutters and down-pipes
The new generation of schools in the UK are designed to be stimulating places to learn and work. Many of these buildings use modern cladding and glazing and fluid shapes with curving walls and wave form or barrel roofs. Managing director Mike McKee, of architectural aluminium experts Guttermaster, involved in projects such as Retford Oaks St Giles' and Valley Comprehensive in North Nottinghamshire, advises that security and sustainability are vital.

Many new school buildings are PFI's. Therefore 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.

Rainwater down pipes are a good example. Traditional designs are available, but these stand proud from the walls, have traditional mouldings and so are easily scaled or vandalised. By making climbing easier they are a security risk for the building. New buildings such as Retford Oaks and Valley Comprehensive are more suited to the use of smooth, flush fitting no-climb designs and use Guttermaster Anti-Climb rainwater downpipes. These have smooth lines and no gaps at the back for hand grip, fixings are hidden to prevent tampering and an interlocking design is used for strength and to preserve the clean line of the pipe.

Modern rainwater down pipes stop 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 more problems.

Roof designs on new schools often have concealed gutters and projecting aerofoil fascias. These soften the lines of the building and accentuate curved frontages. Also, aerofoil fascias are themselves a climbing deterrent. Climbers cannot easily get 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 needs, 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.
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