Building our green roof photos

Thanks for reading this blog.  If you have any questions we will be happy to assist. Please spread the word to inspire others to consider greening a roof to benefit our well being and the planet. If you have a green roof please send a photo so it can be posted on this site. Read on for the step-by-step process for building our Green Roof.

Structural Engineer

We employed a Structural Engineer to assess that our building could hold a green roof. He was given the original 1950s structural plan. We had to drill a core hole through the roof and into the ceiling below to determine the thickness of the roof slab.

Drilling Core hole to test slab thickness

Drilling Core hole to test slab thickness

The Core Hole

The Core Hole

We engaged a Land Surveyor who analysed the levels of the roof to determine where the slab was thick and where it was thin. Our roof is our gutter system and so slopes towards outlets.

Land Surveyors

Land Surveyors

The Structural Engineer analysed all the above and the result was that we could have a green roof with a substrate depth of 160mm (it will be a meadow of indigenous grasses). We could have vegetable planter boxes over structural strong points such as over the brick walls dividing the rooms below. There was an exclusion over two bedrooms because the slab was too thin. Overall we were ecstatic we could have something up there.

Building Surveyor

The National Construction Code specifies a barrier height or railing needs to be at least one metre from the ground. And the gaps in the horizontal rails can be no more than 125mm. The Green Roof substrate will be 160mm deep and our railing height would be below one metre so we need to increase the height of our railings to comply. To do this we employed a Building Surveyor to provide a building permit. And a Registered Builder to build up our railing.

Vince increases the height of the railing.

Vince increases the height of the railing.

Water and Power

The Green Roof will be watered by a drip irrigation system when rain is scarce. So we need to supply a tap for irrigation and power for a timer system. These were installed by our friendly plumber and electrician.

Electrician installing power outlet

Electrician installing power outlet

Water Tap and Electrical Outlet

Water Tap and Electrical Outlet

Outside the grant money we recently installed some water tanks (with a capacity of 7,000 litres) that were connected to our down pipes. Eventually we hope to pump this water back up to the roof to assist with the watering of the Green Roof.

Water Tank

Water Tank

Building Work

Our builder Mark, started work today to prepare for the Green Roof. He has to remove all the doors to make them smaller or replace them with smaller doors so a brick hob can be built underneath. The brick hob is required so our Green Roof membrane has something to attach on.

Our builder removing old doors on or Hot Water Service Units

Our builder removing old doors on our Hot Water Service Units

Our laundry door has been removed and the wall has been cut so our bricklayer can build a hob underneath.

Our laundry door has been removed and the wall has been cut so our bricklayer can build a hob underneath.

Brick hob work completed.

Brick hob work completed.

Now we have to wait for the membrane to be built and then the new doors and wall can be completed. In the meantime the laundry will be made weather tight.

Move things up

Our Green Roof substrate is 160mm. In order to make space for the Green Roof we need to move things up i.e. balustrade railings, washing lines, down pipes and air conditioning units.

Air Conditioning unit on the ground being moved up by our Air Conditioning Contractor.

Air Conditioning unit on the ground being moved up by our Air Conditioning Contractor.

Unit now attached to the brick parapet with room to install the green roof underneath

Unit now attached to the brick parapet with space for the green roof underneath

Membrane and Timber Lifting

Our Green Roof Membrane Contractors started work today. The membrane (APTC/IMPER TPO) is water and root resistant. It comes with a 20 year warranty.

Roof membrane rolls arrive by truck.

Roof membrane rolls arrive by truck.

Thanks Mr Crane Driver

Thanks Mr Crane Driver

Special air delivery to the roof

Special air delivery to the roof

Our crane was booked for a minimum four hour call and luckily we had time to lift our timber decking materials onto the roof, saving our backs from carrying it up. We are using a sustainable timber called Spotted Gum.

Timber for our decks start their upward journey.

Timber for our decks start their upward journey.

Almost to the top guided by Mark our builder.

Almost to the top guided by Mark our builder.

Membrane and timber on the roof top.

Membrane and timber on the roof top.

The Green Roof Membrane

Brick dust blows around as our membrane contractor cuts a line.

Brick dust blows around as our membrane contractor cuts a line into our brick parapet where the membrane will eventually be attached.

Trent attaches the flashing into the parapet cut.

Trent attaches the flashing into the parapet cut.

Heat sealing the membrane to the flashing.

The edging work for the membrane is complete and now we are ready for the big roll out.

The edging work for the membrane is complete and now we are ready for the big roll out.

The membrane rolls are now sealed together with heat.

The membrane rolls are now sealed together with heat.

Dedicated team working night shift trying to beat the weather.

Dedicated team working night shift trying to beat the weather.

The membrane rolls have been heat sealed together and now to the detail work.

The membrane rolls have been heat sealed together and now to the detail work.

Drainage outlet had a custom made section inserted.

Drainage outlet had a custom made section inserted.

And then membrane was cut and heat sealed to make it water tight.

And then membrane was cut and heat sealed to make it water tight.

Chimneys also required detailed membrane cutting and heat sealing.

Chimneys also required detailed membrane cutting and heat sealing.

Leak Testing

Once the membrane is completed it needs to be tested for leaks to ensure it is water tight. We engaged a specialist company, International Leak Detection for this process.

Our leak detection gurus.

Our leak detection gurus.

Building Work Continues

Now that the membrane is completed Mark, our builder, can construct the doors on our Hot Water Service Units.

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Checking the levels.

Checking the levels.

New doors look great.

New doors look great.

And the decking can be built. The decks need to be installed before the Green Roof arrives so the substrate can be placed around the deck.

Cutting timber for the decking.

Cutting timber for the decking.

The subfloor is nailed together.

The subfloor is nailed together.

To protect the membrane from damage adjustable bearer supports are attached under the timber frame.

To protect the membrane from damage adjustable bearer supports are attached under the timber frame.

Deck number three in position. This deck will be completed after the green roof installation. Access is required for the irrigation to be slotted under the deck.

Deck number three in position. This deck will be completed after the green roof installation. Access is required for the irrigation to be slotted under the deck.

The Green Roof Arrives

Fytogreen arrived today to start the most anticipated process – installing the Green Roof. Very excited. It should take about two weeks. The first step is to crane components up again.

Insulation arriving by special air delivery.

Insulation arriving by special air delivery.

Almost there.

Almost there.

Landed and unpacked.

Landed and unpacked.

Geoff Heard, the CEO of Fytogreen, works as hard as his crew. He helps secure a load for the crane. He stands on Lilydale Toppings for the pathways and the black drainage cells are stacked behind.

Is it the tardis or drainage cells?

Is it the tardis or drainage cells?

Unwrapping the drainage cells.

Unwrapping the drainage cells.

Connecting the drainage cells together.

Connecting the drainage cells together.

The Drainage Cells.

The Drainage Cells.

Amazing how quickly it comes together.

Amazing how quickly it comes together.

Insulation is installed over one apartment and then drainage cells are placed on top.

Insulation is installed over one apartment and then drainage cells are placed on top.

Insulation and drainage cell completed.

Insulation and drainage cell completed.

Geofabric comes next to stop soil from falling into the drainage cells.

Geofabric comes next to stop soil from falling into the drainage cells.

Geoff helps to build a structure over chimneys for creepers to climb.

Geoff helps to build a structure over chimneys for creepers to climb.

Day one has ended and a lot has been achieved. This team knows how to build Green Roofs.

It takes a total of seven days to complete the installation of the Green Roof. See what happens next:

Hose art on the Geofabric.

Hose art on the Geofabric.

Pathways are made from a light weight base that is later topped with crushed rock.

Pathways are made from a light weight base that is later topped with crushed rock.

The soil blowing trucks arrive.

The soil blowing trucks arrive.

The pipes to transport the soil to the roof are lifted up by "We Blow" our soil blowing team.

The pipes to transport the soil to the roof are lifted up by “We Blow” our soil blowing team.

The pipes for the soil are laid as Geoff and Andrew from Fytogreen move hoses.

The pipes for the soil are laid as Geoff and Andrew from Fytogreen move hoses.

Bring on the soil.

Bring on the soil.

 

The roof is quickly covered in a layer of soil.

The roof is quickly covered in a layer of soil.

The pathway is defined and the first layer of soil is in place.

The pathway is defined and the first layer of soil is in place.

Purple Irrigation pipes.

Purple Irrigation pipes.

The soil blower truck has gone and the crane comes back to lay soil over the irrigation pipes and first layer of soil.

The soil blower truck has gone and the crane comes back to lay soil over the irrigation pipes and first layer of soil.

Soil bags are slashed and the soil is guided into position.

Soil bags are slashed and the soil is guided into position.

The pathways are covered with Lillydale Topping and the soil is covered with Scoria. The Black Scoria is a good colour contrast to the green of the plants. And Scoria helps to deter weeds.

The pathways are covered with Lillydale Topping and the soil is covered with Scoria. The Black Scoria is a good colour contrast to the green of the plants. And Scoria helps to deter weeds.

Geoff positions tree stump steps sourced by a resident from a felled Eucalyptus tree.

Geoff positions tree stump steps sourced by a resident from a felled Eucalyptus tree.

Fertilizer is spread in preparation for planting.

Fertilizer is spread in preparation for planting.

Our Green Turf arrives by air.

Our Green Turf arrives by air.

Roll out the green carpet.

Roll out the green carpet.

Andrew unloads our beautiful plants. There are 3,500 seedlings.

Andrew unloads our beautiful plants. There are 3,500 seedlings.

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Ready to plant.

Ready to plant.

Andrew selects some seedlings to plant.

Andrew selects some seedlings to plant.

More planting

More planting

Thank you for our magnificent green space Geoff and the two Andrews from Fytogreen.

Thank you for our magnificent green space Geoff and the two Andrews from Fytogreen.

Working Bee with the neighbours filling up our veggie boxes with soil and painting doors.

Working Bee with the neighbours filling up our veggie boxes with soil and painting doors.

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Let the growing begin.

Let the growing begin.

 

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Our upstairs backyard is happiness

The dogs approve.

The dogs approve.

And the delightful squeals of children running through a sprinkler is a sight to behold.

And the delightful squeals of children running through a sprinkler is a sight to behold.

Mark finishes our magnificent deck. Thank you Mr Builder.

Mark finishes our magnificent deck. Thank you Mr Builder.

The final leak testing is conducted to ensure no leaks were made during the build. Roberto from International Leak Detection is working his magic while Peter our APTC membrane supplier helps water down the area.

The final leak testing is conducted to ensure no leaks were made during the build. Roberto from International Leak Detection is working his magic while Peter our APTC membrane supplier helps water down the area.

Very grateful for the generous donation of a push mower by Richard. Thanks DJ Richie Rich.

Very grateful for the generous donation of a push mower by Richard. Thanks DJ Richie Rich.

One year old supervising a five year old in the veggie box. Good work little people.

One year old supervising a five year old in the veggie box. Good work little people.

The first ladybug - go biodiversity!

The first ladybug – go biodiversity!

Tomatoes have been planted, there is reading to be done and friends to entertain in the sunshine.

Tomatoes have been planted, there is reading to be done and friends to entertain in the sunshine.

It is Springtime and the plants are flowering.

It is Springtime and the plants are flowering.

Deck 2 with native grasses

5 Comments

Add yours

  1. Amazing!!! x

  2. Well done Bart, Sonia and all those involved. The roof upgrade to a green roof looks amazing and the step by step photos really give a good idea of what the whole process involved. It Looks really great and you now have a special garden to enjoy and watch grow into the future!!

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of work to get there. Incredible project really guys. Px

  4. Hi Team at Westbury 38. I would like to chat about doing an article for green magazine. Can someone please contact me. Thanks.

  5. Truly inspirational and thank you for making extra time to share the process and what was involved. We have been looking at doing this in Sydney and have found it hard to find detailed Australian retro fit information.

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