New Article Template

A 40 year old ‘temporary’ teaching block in Lancashire has been transformed into a thermally efficient modern facility using Marley Eternit’s Natura fibre cement cladding as part of a rainscreen cladding system.

surface which allows the texture of the fibre cement to show through, creating a visually engaging overclad solution for the St Bede’s Catholic High School refurbishment project. 

St Bede’s Catholic High School in Lytham St Annes is one of many across the UK with a ‘ROSLA’  (Raising Of School Leaving Age) building, constructed to accommodate the extra year group when the leaving age was increased to 16 in 1973. ROSLA buildings were originally planned as a short term solution and generally had little insulation.

The block at St Bede’s was a timber frame structure originally clad with PVC-U weatherboard and insulated with just 50mm of mineral wool. Heat loss was becoming a pressing issue for the school, where managers sought to reduce the cost of heating the building and its carbon footprint. A further problem was that the structure looked ‘tired’ with discoloration of the PVC-U weatherboard and plywood used around the roofline requiring frequent maintenance.

Demolition and rebuilding was considered, but the building was still structurally sound and so a refurbishment using a Natura fibre cement overclad solution was chosen. This proved to be the more economical solution, and one which would have less impact on the environment by avoiding the carbon footprint created with new builds. The overclad solution also allowed for an additional 50mm of rigid insulation to be added externally, avoiding the loss of any interior teaching space.

The project proved highly cost effective, compared to new build, and helped the school to achieve two national educational awards for sustainability.

Marley Eternit Natura in White, Anthracite and Natural Grey, with an anti graffiti ‘Pro’ coating was specified by architects Cassidy & Ashton of Preston. The clean, modern lines of fibre cement enabled the designers to give the building a complete visual upgrade, which made the completed building looking like new.

Project Building Surveyor Robert Goodall says: “We specified Natura as an overclad solution principally because of its aesthetics and low maintenance, along with the fact its lightweight properties were ideally suited to the existing timber frame structure. The rainscreen cladding system has totally transformed both the thermal performance and visual appearance of the teaching block and the school is delighted that it makes the building look and perform like new.”

Practical qualities of Marley Eternit fibre cement ranges include meeting Class 0 fire performance and EN 13501-1 non combustible, durability, strength and an installed life expectancy of at least 50 years.

St Bede’s Catholic High School Head Teacher Mr Philip Grice said: “The school is committed to minimising its own carbon emissions and encouraging others to do the same. We chose to refurbish rather than replace the ROSLA building because this had less impact on the environment, and it now stands as a striking demonstration of what can be achieved through a sustainable refurbishment. Fibre cement overcladding was an appropriate choice for the exterior because of the materials low embodied energy.”

Marley Eternit fibre cement cladding can also achieve an A+ rating as defined in the BRE Green Guide to Specification based on generic rating for autoclaved fibre cement single sheet - (Element Ref: 80623042, 806230422, 806230447, 806230450).

Following completion of the project, St Bede’s Catholic High School won two national educational awards for sustainability: the Times Educational Supplement School Award and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Chairman's Award.

See more about Natura Fibre Cement cladding.

Here at Marley Eternit, we are always on hand to offer practical and experienced support. Select an option below or call us on 01283 722588.