• Outputs

    Outputs

Advanced Roof Tiling

New house building is facing a huge skills shortage, with the sector currently unable to meet customer and Government demand for 300,000 new houses year on year. It is important for the supply chain and SMEs to work with their clients in order to meet these targets, with offsite manufacture seen as a way to increase productivity, and improve standards of health, safety and quality assurance.

In 2019 Forster Roofing and MTC started developing an advanced roof tiling solution to address these challenges. 

 

Roofing group
Roof workstation
Finished roof

summary

AIMCH project partner, Forster Roofing, part of the Forster Group, is a small medium enterprise (SME) and Scotland’s largest integrated roofing and solar company, covering one-in-five new homes in Scotland. Recognised for its innovative approach and commitment to excellence, Forster works extensively with industry and government bodies to raise standards and drive change. At Forster, innovation sits at the heart of a strategic approach to sustainable, long-term growth, and the search for solutions to industry challenges, including quality, productivity and an integrated low carbon energy future.

The AIMCH project presented the opportunity for Forster Roofing to partner with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), an independent research & technology organisation that develops and proves innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile, low risk environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions.

In 2019 Forster Roofing and MTC started developing an advanced roof tiling solution to address these challenges. The potential benefits of a successful project could significantly reduce site installation times, in turn increasing productivity, as well as a range of health and safety benefits.

Successful trials have been performed at MTC’s workshop and on Forster’s live construction sites in Scotland. These trials are still ongoing as the solution is further developed. The next stage includes productivity studies to validate the expected benefits.

 

Journey

AIMCH partners began by understanding the “traditional” methods of construction and the key constraints and challenges the industry faces. For the Advanced Roof Tiling system, this was achieved by conducting a series of workshops between MTC’s engineers and Forster Roofing’s roofers and management.

Forster’s vision combined with the experience and technical ability of the MTC resulted in a roadmap that gives Forster Roofing the opportunity to turn their vision into reality.

Trials conducted with teams composed of MTC and Forster’s staff led to excellent knowledge transfer which reduced the number of iterations needed to generate a working solution.

As the number and complexity of the trials increased, so did the confidence in the solution. These outcomes have increased Forster Roofing’s confidence to invest in taking the solution to the next stage.

 

Forster Roofing
Roofing mask
Team workshop

 

Principal OUTCOMES

The AIMCH partners delivered the following principal Advanced Roof Tiling outcomes

1
Circa 20 roofs on construction sites have been built using the advanced roof tiling system
2

The project validated the technical feasibility of a new approach to roof tiling that has the potential to reduce installation times by circa 30%, in turn increasing productivity by circa 50%. This is achieved by reducing the complexities of the tiling process

3
Other benefits include reducing site health risks such as Silica dust exposure, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) and Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
4
The outcomes of the project could lead to a major shift in the industry. Forster Roofing’s new advanced roof tiling solution proves that it is possible to be more productive while safeguarding the health of the workforce.

Conclusion

Forster Roofing’s new approach to roofing has both significant improvements in health, safety and environment, delivery times and productivity. This project has shown that it is clearly feasible from a technical and practical standpoint.

Forster’s roofers have perfected the art of tiling a roof over more than 30 years. Leveraging their experience was critical to develop this solution. As the project progressed it became apparent that the key to success was not to dramatically change processes but rather adapt them.

The next stage of the project is to develop a manufacturing prototype and perform a more detailed productivity study.