At a dizzying 160m (525ft) tall, London’s distinctive Walkie Talkie building required an exceptional roofing solution. Fenland Roofing and Sika Sarnafil single ply were up to the challenge.

Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and costing over £200 million, 20 Fenchurch Street is a 34-storey commercial skyscraper in London, known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building due to its top-heavy form. A large viewing deck, bar, restaurants and Sky Garden are included on the top three floors.

Awarded the project in February 2014, Cambridge-based contractor Fenland Flat Roofing was required to provide a lightweight walkable roof area for the access walkways and perimeter edges of the glazed roof to the garden and restaurant. The roofing product had to be carefully selected as it needed to curve in two directions due to the unique design of the building.

Sika Sarnafil construction of the Walkie Talkie Building
Image: During construction of the Sika Sarnafil Walkie Talkie Building
Curved Walkways on Sika Sarnafil, Walkie Talkie Project
Image: Curved Walkways on Sika Sarnafil, Walkie Talkie Project

Sarnafil G410-12EL single ply provided the perfect solution to this design criteria, thanks to its excellent flexibility and weldabilty, while offering outstanding resistance to weathering, including permanent UV irradiation. This was installed in Lead Grey to the BMU Track and covered with SarnaTred walkway tiles, allowing durable and slip resistant access for maintenance workers – a vital safety consideration.

The second part of the project was to provide a flexible high performance waterproofing membrane to the bespoke Shoulder areas in white, to match in with the steelwork structure colour. Again, Sarnafil had the product to suit the application, Sarnafil G410-15EL Traffic White.

Sika Sarnafil Field Technician on Walke Talkie Buiding
Image: Sika Sarnafil Field Technician on Walke Talkie Buiding

The Walkie Talkie project stands out due to its sheer size and height, creating challenging access issues. As there was no scaffold available, the Fenland team had to work off harnesses and safety lines on a leading edge and had to traverse the glass roof of the building to access the work area. All tools and equipment had to be properly secured at all times. To maintain the most stringent health and safety standards required diligence and planning, rewarding workers with stunning views across London.

High skill levels were required to overcome the various tricky details on the roof and the team had to interface with multiple trades. Fenland completed the project in August 2014 on time and to budget.

Internally the Walkie-Talkie provides a mixture of 13,000sq ft of retail space and 680,000sq ft of top quality offices with panoramic views of London. It is designed to have a BREEAM excellence rating.