The Firs Environmental Research Station

Situated in the University of Manchester’s botanical grounds, which form part of the Firs environmental research station, Complete Roofing Systems was engaged to deliver the metal roof element in the redevelopment of a research centre, following a £2 million investment from the university endowment fund.

The research centre is located next to state-of-the-art greenhouses that are used for research and studies on food security and climate change.


The primary element of the project was installing the Kingspan KingZip aluminium roof. We worked in tandem with another specialist contractor tasked with fitting the Twinfix sections of the roof. Due to the nature of the building, Twinfix was installed as a canopy system to allow for a range of controlled environments to simulate climate change, such as tropical to sub-artic, therefore it was critical we worked closely with the Twinfix installer to seamlessly join both roof systems.

We then fitted outer pressed metal sheets on top of the Kingspan Rainspan wall panels using a tophat support system. This created challenges as each rainspan panel weighed up to 34.2kg/m2. We were not able to use mini static cranes, which would normally be used in this circumstance, due to the narrow nature of the site, so we overcame the issue by using Genie hoists.

Europanel F5 was installed to the clients chosen colour Pegasus Green which was a striking metallic green finish.

Due to the low-pitched roof (less than five degrees), we also fitted a temporary ManSafe system to prevent our operatives sliding down and causing potential injury.


Manchester & Cheshire Construction Company


Fallowfield, Manchester


Metal Roof



The Firs Environmental Research Station

Project challenges

The main challenge was the site layout – the research centre is situated on a long, narrow site next to old greenhouses on protected land. It is also part of a busy university campus, just off a main road, so we employed banksmen to direct machinery and guide and protect pedestrians. These considerations also meant that deliveries had to be carefully managed to avoid rush hour.

Research for the future

The university’s investment in the Firs and specialist facilities such as this research centre, enables critical research into environmental issues to be conducted. This project will support research and development and the ongoing protection of the planet for many years to come.

Looking for a metal roof solution? Click the link to find out more.

The Firs Environmental Research Station
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