Innovative Youth Centre is Regenerated

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Innovative Youth Centre is Regenerated

A building heralded as ‘the most modern youth centre in Britain’ when it was built 50 years ago is again ‘state-of-the-art’, following a refurbishment to set it up for decades to come.

Universal Connections East Kilbride (originally called The Key Youth Centre), designed by Alexander Buchanan Campbell, was built in 1966 as an experiment; at the time it was called futuristic, with a deep section to optimise use of the sloping site and sliding internal partitions to deliver flexible accommodation. It now has other ‘futuristic’ features: the unique Protan vacuum system and Protan prefabricated membrane on the roofs.

South Lanarkshire Council specified single ply for the project, to deliver the longevity required, adhered to the existing concrete deck and bitumen felt overlay.

Contractor Curtis Moore suggested the state of the roofs required different treatment for each section, to deliver the long life the Council was looking for, and to minimise disruption, as the building would remain open for the duration of the contract. A combination of Protan’s prefabricated system on the higher roof, and the vacuum system on the lower roof was chosen.

The high roof has been stripped back to the rafters and a new plywood deck, vapour control layer, insulation and Protan SE 1.6mm prefabricated single ply membrane mechanically fixed across the plane.

On the lower roof, Protan EX 1.6mm single ply in conjunction with Protan’s vacuum system has been used, overlaid on top of the existing concrete deck and bitumen felt.

In addition, 11 double skin polycarbonate rooflights from Brett Martin were integrated into the lower roof, delivered to site pre-flashed with Protan membrane.

Key considerations
Curtis Moore’s Operations Director Alex Miller explained: “East Kilbride is a very windy and wet location, and the key was remaining ‘live’ whilst the work was undertaken. In our opinion, using an adhered solution wasn’t suitable.

"With Protan’s vacuum system, the stronger the wind, the tighter the ‘grip’ the membrane has.

“Also, the higher level roof had few penetrations (the rooflights are on the lower roof) so Protan’s prefabricated option was the obvious choice, as it significantly reduces installation time, effort, and the noise from drilling and fixing activities; it also removes the potential for adhesive vapours to impact on the building’s users.”

Protan is the only single ply membrane manufacturer in Europe to have developed, and to offer, a vacuum system, and a prefabricated option.

With Protan’s vacuum system, the membrane is loose-laid directly onto the roof, mechanically-fixed at the perimeter, and the Protan vacuum vents inserted across the roof plane.

Air movement across the roof and through the vents creates suction, drawing air from between the membrane and airtight substrate below, causing the single ply to ‘stick’ to the roof. The stronger the wind, the more the membrane adheres to the roof structure.

As the construction process avoids penetration of the support structure and vapour control layer, and requires an airtight base, the system can help achieve, or exceed, the requirements of Building Regulations Approved Document L.

Protan’s prefabricated solution can be used with any of the company’s membranes. It uses the company’s bespoke Proplan software to calculate the most efficient usage of material to minimise waste; the membrane is then manufactured according to the plan, and factory-welded in a controlled environment, optimising the integrity and on-site performance of seams.

Savings in labour and time
On site, all the contractor has to do is fix along the edges and abutments, and detail round penetrations etc. Research has shown potential savings in labour and time of up to 70%. Yet the option is still cost-competitive with conventional rolls of membrane.

Protan single ply membranes have been developed to withstand even the harshest weather conditions found in Europe, and are proven in practice to perform for 30 years. They are fully BBA certified.

Also, the company offers a full support service, from NBS specification and in-house CAD design through to technical advice and variable warranty depending on specification from its UK headquarters and training facility in Warrington.

Contact Protan on 01925 658001 or email

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