Amazon, Swindon – IKO
IKO Permatec Ecowrap Hot Melt System
Working with IKO PLC on the design solution, BriggsAmasco installed an innovative waterproof system for the roof of a new Amazon warehouse under an extremely tight programme to allow the building to open for business on the client’s desired date.
The work was carried out at Amazon’s £400 million warehouse and distribution centre in Symmetry Park, Swindon, covering an area of 166,000m2 – the equivalent of six-and-a-half football pitches – making it the second-largest warehouse building of its type in the UK.
The client’s brief for the 4,700m2 warehouse roof was to deliver a waterproof system to accommodate a large amount of plant equipment, provide an excellent drainage system and meet the thermal performance requirements for the U-value targets. The roof had to be completed within six weeks to protect interior works and keep the business on track for a pre-Christmas opening. The client also needed a comprehensive warranty to cover materials, design and workmanship.
IKO designed an inverted roofing system for the warehouse’s roof. The IKO Permatec Ecowrap Hot Melt build-up was initially specified with a third-party insulation board. The extruded polystyrene board provided the desired thermal performance for the roof’s targeted U-value, but its overseas manufacture posed a problem: travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic meant the insulation’s UK importation could not be completed in time for the waterproofing project’s start. BriggsAmasco and IKO worked together to redesign a waterproofing system that comprised alternative insulation without compromising the targeted thermal performance. The redesign was carried out using a weighted calculation and resulted in the specification of IKO enertherm XPS, which is manufactured in the UK in IKO’s Alconbury manufacturing plant and was available in just two weeks following its order.
In terms of redesign challenges, the cladding had already been installed by another company. Additionally, the upstand FFL around the perimeter was below 150mm. This required a redesign to a weighted calculation which resulted in using a 170mm insulation board to achieve the above 150mm finishes.
Installation: Using stone paving and providing a smooth, robust finish, BriggsAmasco installed the IKO Permatec Hot Melt Roofing System to the warehouse’s concrete deck. The installation had several challenges. A huge amount of plant, including extractor fan ducting, needed to be accommodated by the hot melt waterproofing. This was installed using an array of mixers and boilers which had to be transported to the four-storey warehouse’s roof. Several large-sized cranes were procured to transfer the equipment. About 400 tonnes of ballast were dug at the foot of the warehouse building to span pipework trenches.
Quality and Commitment: With such a large roof area to cover, BriggsAmasco’s installation teams worked out of hours to ensure the waterproofing was completed on time. Neither the quality nor the workmanship was sacrificed to meet the tight deadline. For example, BriggsAmasco’s installers carried out peel tests on every 20m2 of waterproofing completed to ensure the hot melt solution was bonding effectively to the concrete deck. As part of BriggsAmasco’s all-around service provision, teams also carried out electric testing to confirm the roof’s leak-free performance post-waterproofing. This was also crucial to the system’s 25-year single-point warranty.
Thanks to IKO’s design expertise and the skills and diligence shown by BriggsAmasco’s installation team, this huge and challenging warehouse roofing project was completed within the stipulated six-week timeframe. This was despite the programme’s many logistical issues, which came at a time of great uncertainty, with the whole world in thrall to the coronavirus pandemic. The Amazon warehouse was opened for business in December 2021, ensuring thousands of customer orders were met in time for Christmas.