High Level Thinking: ACO and Aquality Design Blue Roof Playground at Madani Girls’ School

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Set within a purpose-built Grade II listed Victorian building, Madani Girls’ School is based in the borough of Tower Hamlets and the suburbs of inner-city London. With a mission to deliver a high-quality teaching and learning experience for its pupils, the school embarked on a project to extend and add a new library, IT suite and sports hall to its facility.

Given the nature of the site the only practical place to cite these new facilities was in the existing playground, and in order not to lose valuable outdoor play space, the decision was made to convert the roof space of the new building into a playground for the pupils. A key challenge facing the project was satisfying Tower Hamlets Council’s planning conditions in relation to surface water management. Namely, this was ensuring that the surface water will discharge at an appropriate rate to prevent downstream flooding.

 Warming up to the task

Owing to the prohibitive site, the project team had already identified that a blue roof would be an ideal way of managing the surface water whilst also allowing multi-functional use of the roof space for the new building. However only preliminary calculations and an outline feasibility of the blue roof had been presented at planning.

To this end, Plumbsa Plumbing Ltd the subcontractors designated to work on the roofing and plumbing of the project, turned to surface water management specialists ACO Building Drainage and Aquality, stormwater management professionals, to help solve the issue.

Aquality undertook the hydraulic design and calculations and partnered with ACO Building Drainage to provide the ACO RoofBloxx geocellular tank, roof outlets, and blue roof flow control to provide a complete blue roof attenuation system.

To demonstrate the versatility and strength of the ACO RoofBloxx system, a porous asphalt playground was built over the top of the tank. Rainwater is designed to filter through the porous surface into the storage void. Alongside this, to ensure pupils had an aesthetically pleasing and biodiverse area to enjoy, an extensive green roof was incorporated around the perimeter of the roof.

Demonstrating the flexibility of blue roofs

 Ali Adan from Plumbsa Plumbing Ltd said: “After discussions with the teams at ACO and Aquality, we were very pleased with the end result of the ACO RoofBloxx blue roof. It goes to show that even in some of the most difficult projects, rainwater can be managed with sustainability and amenity in mind, and SuDS principles can be followed. Not only did ACO and Aquality help with the consultation and hydraulic specification, but installation was also quick, simple and cost-effective.”

The Madani Girls’ School’s blue roof now works to prevent flooding whilst also retaining valuable outdoor space for students to enjoy and use for learning. For more about ACO Building Drainage and the ACO RoofBloxx system, please visit: https://www.aco.co.uk/products/roofbloxx

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