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Coastal environments challenge the toughest construction materials. Salt laden air, high and gusting winds, extremes of temperature were all taken into account by architects TACP in their design for the North Wales Clinical Training School at Glan Clwyd Hospital. Concealed gutters, fascias, truly curved verges and rainwater downpipes from architectural fabrication specialist Guttermaster were specified to overcome the extreme coastal conditions. Made in aluminium the rainwater system will naturally resist the weather and require little maintenance other than periodic cleaning.

The new building is a striking architectural design and is part of an initiative to improve medical school recruitment and graduate retention in Wales. It houses dedicated lecture theatres, classrooms, tutorial suites and support facilities.

Architect, Steve Taylor of TACP explained, “The area around the Glan Clwyd Hospital site is predominantly limestone, so dark finished building materials are not acceptable. It was also essential to use materials with natural resilience against the harsh elements and which had low maintenance characteristics. The Guttermaster rainwater products and fascias meet this need and are complimented by a raised seam aluminium roof and Kingspan insulated panels on the walls.”

Guttermaster managing director Mike McKee added, “For decorative reasons, the external surfaces of the downpipes, gutters and fascias are finished in long-life polyester powder coat, but the inner faces are uncoated and therefore exposed to the salt laden air, rainfall and moisture. Aluminium has extreme weather resistance because on exposure to air it acquires a thin oxide layer. This protects the metal from further attack, even in extreme locations such as Glan Clwyd. Aluminium oxide is so tough and resilient that it is commonly used in grinding wheels and cutting tools.”

The material also meets needs for sustainability. Because of its long life and low maintenance, the embedded energy used in its production is written off over many years. Even when buildings are redeveloped, aluminium remains a high-value material that is 100 percent recyclable. The aluminium used at Glan Clwyd is made from recycled material produced using only five percent of the energy required for the production of virgin material from ore.

Guttermaster produce standard rainwater products in both traditional and modern designs, in addition to bespoke architectural aluminium fabrications. All design and manufacturing processes are subject to meticulous quality assurance procedures. The company works closely with architects, contractors and their clients to provide attractive and durable roof drainage and perimeter design profiles.

The Guttermaster products were installed by roofing specialist Ervyk UK and the main contractor was Wynne Construction. The North Wales Clinical Training School is a partnership between NHS Trusts in North Wales, the University of Wales in Bangor, North East Wales Institute of Higher Education and Cardiff University. The branch of the North Wales Clinical School at Glan Clwyd Hospital is hosted, and was established as part of a larger capital project, by the Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust.

More Information
Mike McKee, Tel. +44 (0)1706 869550 Fax. +44 (0)1706 869551
E-mail: Web:
Guttermaster Ltd, Shawclough Trading Estate, Shawclough Road, Rochdale, OL12 6ND, UK

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