Total trust in timber

Dave Jackson
Dave Jackson

Dave Jackson, managing director of Icotherm, talks about the fundamental importance of timber as a structural roofing element. The very best properties are built using timber and we are going to see wider adoption in the tiled roof market as he explains.

Timber has been used in construction since the dawn of time and in stark contrast to the aluminium and PVC-U systems in the industry that go back to the 1950’s.

Granted, steel was used even earlier, but the fact remains that wood is not only good, but it’s the ultimate construction material from cost-effective homes to luxurious £multi-million new builds.

There are many different grades of timber that are used in the construction industry, and we must also consider the fact that it is over 1,000 times better from an energy efficiency and insulation aspect than aluminium, according to figures carefully sourced from online university physics resources and materials. The implications are significant when we look at the recent changes in building regulations and those anticipated in the not-too-distant future.

While aluminium benefits from its inherent structural rigidity, requiring only thin walls to achieve the necessary calculations, we are now seeing companies having to add undercladding to aluminium framed solid roofs to meet the regulations for 0.15 W/(m2K) in England and more challenging still 0.12 W/(m2K) in Scotland and Wales. But undercladding increases the depth of the roof and therefore has implications on fascia boards, box gutters and other overall roof specifications.

The tiled roof market emerged around 15 years ago as a niche sector to tackle the issue of failing conservatory roofs. An estimated two million were in need of an upgrade or restoration at the time with a similar number addressable today in terms of stock.

But the roof sector has evolved rapidly with our sales now showing that there is a 50:50 split between replacements and new installation projects. Clearly, the sector has finally moved into the domain of the single storey extension market and the jobbing builder, which could help ignite further growth.

Over this period, companies have come in that specialise in conservatory refurbishments, though given the additional weight of a solid roof, consideration needs to be made as to whether the vertical structure, including frames and corner posts is capable of receiving the load in all climatic conditions.

We’ve been developing our timber roofing systems for over eight years now and have built up considerable expertise. We have a retained a qualified structural engineer on our books, along with newly appointed Tim Harris who has a great deal of expertise in roofing systems of all materials.

Our premise is also simple – the standard Icotherm roof has a U-value of 0.15 W/(m2K), while an enhanced version – Icotherm Pro – has a certified U-value of 0.12 W/(m2K) as standard, though lower U-values can also be achieved, all with the necessarily ventilation requirements as defined by the current building regulations. Official BRE testing of Icoroof has also proven no interstitial condensation is predicted at any interface, in any month of the year.

Should further legislative changes come into effect in 2025, then Icotherm is well prepared for any possible challenges that may lay ahead.

Our timbers are fully traceable and structurally graded to achieve wider spans across the range of roofs. Icoroof is our standard roofing solution that also facilitates Velux rooflights and we can also achieve a gable and eaves overhang for the adoption of downlighters.

Icoview takes this a step further with fully glazed panels from eaves to ridge, while Ico600 is perfect for the lean-to sector where wall plate height is critical. There is also Icospan in our portfolio of roofs, a structurally proven orangery roof system that comes with a Sheerline lantern as standard.

The whole construction sector has complete trust in timber as a building material as any specifier, architect or even structural engineer will highlight.

Our success over the last eight years and our growth has shown that it’s not only a product platform for today’s market, but also one for the future, given that building regulations are again likely to change in the coming years. We’re well prepared for that. Is your current roofing partner?