Originally opened in 1964 and extended in 1985 Reading University Library has undergone complete refurbishment, both internally and externally to meet the needs of ever changing technologies. The University invested over £40 million into the refurbishment to increase space and improve facilities for individual study and to make better use of the areas on the Ground and 1st Floors.


Project name: Reading University Library

Roofing Contractor: Owlsworth Roofing

Project Category: Roof Refurbishment Project

Project Location: Whiteknights Campus, Reading

Material used: Sarnafil G410-12ELF Light Grey

Awards: WINNER of the Single Ply Category of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Roofing Awards 2020

Awards: WINNER of the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) Refurbishment Roof of the Year 2020

The Reading University Library redevelopment provides better access and security across the building as well as improving its energy efficiency, as a result of improved insulation and ventilation. In addition to a new build Café extension, a new entrance canopy and a new ground to roof level lift and stair core extension – each featuring new flat roof areas – each and every one of the 10 existing flat roof areas was refurbished along with re-cladding of the exterior of the building and replacement windows

The Library remained operational to students across the entirety of the redevelopment which started in 2016 and is was completed in October 2019.

The complex multi-level building featured the following:-

  • 13 separate flat roof areas with 10 existing and 3 new build flat roof areas
  • 8 different roof levels
  • 4 different structural decks – concrete, plywood, profiled steel and profiled aluminium
  • 8 different specifications using various combinations of strip and recover, overlay, new build, varying thickness of flat board insulation and cut to falls insulation

Because of the multi-level layout of the building traditional scaffolded perimeter edge protection to roof areas would need to be built up from lower roof levels, restricting productivity on the roof areas below, adding time consuming restraints on programme as well as being a costly but only temporary solution to edge protection. To solve this problem the Architects, Cladding contractor and Owlsworth Roofing worked closely together to design and build raised external parapets that would not only enable safe access to roof level during the refurbishment works but would remain in place permanently for access and maintenance for the foreseeable future. This detail was installed on 6 of the largest and most accessible roof areas with just under half a kilometre of raised external parapets installed in total