Roofing 639 views Jul 11, 2017
Started with a bang: A history of longevity

Assurances given in terms to the longevity of single ply products are not always as black and white as they first appear. This is because while the majority of manufacturers can produce statements of their products’ life expectancies or design lives via accelerated testing, it is sometimes the case that these timescales are longer than the time a manufacturer has actually been operating in the UK.

For some this situation may be acceptable. Others require ‘real’ evidence of performance when choosing the right roofing product as they recognise that a roof is the most important element in securing a building’s long-term endurance. We’re fortunate that we can show a client, architect or surveyor that what has been tested in theory has also been proven and confirmed in reality.

Trocal entered the UK market in 1972 but the company’s history prior to this point and its connection to one of the most infamous inventors of the 19th Century still remains relatively unknown by many of our UK customers.

Trocal can be traced back to Alfred Nobel, who founded Alfred Nobel & Co (later known as Dynamit Nobel AG), a chemical company involved in the production of weaponry in Troisdorf, Germany, 1865.

Nobel’s place in history was secured through the invention of Dynamite in 1867 and the establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize some 30 years later – which occurred despite the apparent contradiction in terms!

After the First World War, the company turned its attention to chemical-based products involving ‘plastics', with the first fully synthetic plastic launched in 1934.

In 1962 the first Trocal single ply roofing membrane was launched and this would be the springboard to the UK in the early 70s and achieving its first BBA certificate in 1975. In 1979 Trocal went onto be the founding member of the Flat Roofing Association (FRA) which would later become todays governing body for the single ply industry, the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA).

In late 2015, in Trocal’s 43rd year in business in the UK, we decided to improve our British Board of Agrément certification statement on the life expectancy of our membranes, which at the time stood at 30 years. We set ourselves the goal of increasing this to “in excess of 35 years” but to do so we needed to provide a sample of an existing Trocal membrane that could perform to this requirement.

Thankfully, Sika-Trocal has been a leading supplier of Single Ply and have had millions of m2 installed over the years and one client, Fossil (UK) Ltd, had a Trocal membrane installed on their headquarters in Milton Keynes in 1981, which had enjoyed 35 reliable, trouble free years.

The sample provided of the existing membrane demonstrated very similar flexibility and constitution performance to a brand new membrane and this helped Sika-Trocal have its membrane life span extended to “in excess of 35 years” by the BBA. And the rest they say is history.

By Andy Lockwood, Area Technical Manager at Sika-Trocal