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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Thanks Mr Crane Driver
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.
Almost to the top guided by Mark our builder.
Membrane and timber on the roof top.
The Green Roof Membrane
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.
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 membrane rolls are now sealed together with heat.
Dedicated team working night shift trying to beat the weather.
The membrane rolls have been heat sealed together and now to the detail work.
Drainage outlet had a custom made section inserted.
And then membrane was cut and heat sealed to make it water tight.
Chimneys also required detailed membrane cutting and heat sealing.
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.
Building Work Continues
Now that the membrane is completed Mark, our builder, can construct the doors on our Hot Water Service Units.
Checking the levels.
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.
The subfloor is nailed together.
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.
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.
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?
Unwrapping the drainage cells.
Connecting the drainage cells together.
The Drainage Cells.
Amazing how quickly it comes together.
Insulation is installed over one apartment and then drainage cells are placed on top.
Insulation and drainage cell completed.
Geofabric comes next to stop soil from falling into the drainage cells.
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.
Pathways are made from a light weight base that is later topped with crushed rock.
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 for the soil are laid as Geoff and Andrew from Fytogreen move hoses.
Bring on the soil.
The roof is quickly covered in a layer of soil.
The pathway is defined and the first layer of soil is in place.
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.
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.
Geoff positions tree stump steps sourced by a resident from a felled Eucalyptus tree.
Fertilizer is spread in preparation for planting.
Our Green Turf arrives by air.
Roll out the green carpet.
Andrew unloads our beautiful plants. There are 3,500 seedlings.
Ready to plant.
Andrew selects some seedlings to plant.
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.
Let the growing begin.
Our upstairs backyard is happiness
The dogs approve.
And the delightful squeals of children running through a sprinkler is a sight to behold.
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.
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.
The first ladybug – go biodiversity!
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.