Maddy Moorings Boathouse, Abingdon

Gross area: 800m2

Project sector: Education

Contractor: Robseal Roofing Solutions Ltd

IKO guarantee: 25 years

Main IKO system:

IKO Armourplan P

IKO Armourplan PSG

Sedum roof

Metal deck

IKOpro Bonding Agent


IKO enertherm GOLD PIR

IKO Armourplan P

Fully mechanically fastened system

Roofs 2, 3 & 4 (also metal decks)

IKOpro Bonding Agent

IKO ULTRA H-A Detailing Underlay

IKOpro Sprayfast IBA

IKO enertherm Tapered PIR

IKO Armourplan PSG

IKO Spectrabond LFPU Adhesive

Photo of Maddy Moorings Boathouse, Abingdon under construction
Project description

Headington School is an independent girls’ school in Headington, Oxford.

The school’s boat club, Headington School Oxford Boat Club (HSOBC), was established in 1991 and has gone on to become one of the most successful school boat clubs in the UK, with more than 100 Headington rowers representing Team GB over the years and students past and present competing at the last four Olympic games.

Despite the boat club’s continued success, HSOBC had never owned its own boathouse or had direct access to the River Thames.

The school enlisted architects Spratley & Partners as part of a £5m project to develop a two-storey boathouse that is environmentally sustainable and fit for the future of the club. The eight-acre site at Long Wittenham, Abingdon, was designed to provide the boat club with 300 metres of river frontage and 5km of uncongested water.

As well as a large landing stage, boat bays and indoor storage, the new facilities included a crew room, changing facilities and a kitchen, providing a space that Headington really can call home.

Main contractor, Stepnell Ltd, and roofing contractor, Robseal Roofing Solutions Ltd, collaborated to deliver a roofing and waterproofing solution that aligned with the school’s eco-conscious goals, complemented the boathouse’s leafy location and offered a long-lasting, visually stunning result. IKO’s UK-manufactured roofing, waterproofing and insulation systems provided the ideal solution.

Challenges and solution

The IKO Armourplan PSG fleece-backed PVC membrane system was selected for the three flat roof areas, while the IKO Armourplan P polyester-reinforced mechanically fixed PVC membrane was chosen for the waterproofing element of the pitched roof, helping to create a watertight finish prior to the installation of a sedum green roof system.

A mansafe system was fitted on the pitched roof prior to the installation of the sedum roof wildflower. To ensure the system stood above the wildflower and all wires were clear of the roof, the Robseal team built 50mm plinths using insulation boards to raise the mansafe system.

The plinths were covered in the IKO Armourplan PVC membrane to create a cohesive aesthetic.

A tapered insulation design scheme was also created with IKO’s enertherm PIR insulation to improve drainage falls. Due to the positioning of the outlets, this was complicated to install.

Photo of Maddy Moorings Boathouse, Abingdon under construction

There were a number of challenges to overcome during the pitched roof installation. For example, the length of the roof (38m x 15m) made the 20-degree pitch more difficult to navigate. Installing OSB over the metal substrate and timber restraining strips – added to help hold the weight of the sedum roof and improve drainage – was also complex due to the roof pitch. The team overcame this with harness equipment that enabled them to safely access and work on the pitched roof.

Robseal also had to devise a solution to prevent any loose ballast from the sedum roof entering the drainage system or damaging the roof. An aluminium gravel guard was installed and connected to cover strips made from the IKO Armourplan PVC membrane, which were installed over the IKO Armourplan P waterproofing membrane.

Photo of Maddy Moorings Boathouse, Abingdon under construction

This meant that, if the gravel guard came loose or under pressure over time, the cover strips were impacted – rather than the IKO membrane.

The boathouse’s riverside location created additional challenges; the Robseal team was unable to access the roof on a number of occasions after the riverbanks burst, which caused the whole site to flood.

While there were inevitably project delays, there was no long-lasting water damage to the new boathouse.

Reflecting Robseal’s commitment to developing its staff, three trainees – accompanied by foremen throughout – plus a previous trainee who recently became an IKO approved contractor were involved in the project.

By remaining agile throughout the project and adhering strictly to health and safety requirements, Robseal Roofing Solutions was able to complete the project on time and in budget, creating a fantastic finish for the boathouse with the help of the IKO team.