Residential Roof of the Year 2022
Kōtuitui Terraces, Manukau - Webb’s Brick & Roof Tiles Ltd
Published in RoofLink magazine, Spring 2022
The winner of this year’s RANZ Residential Roof of the Year Award is Webb’s Brick & Roof Tiles Ltd for their work on Kōtuitui Terraces, Manukau. This striking building is clad top to bottom using Monier Terracotta Urban Shingle tiles, giving it a truly unique look, superior building performance and enduring quality. However, despite working almost exclusively with Monier tiles throughout his over 30 year career in roofing, Bill Webb from Webb’s Brick & Roof Tiles says he had never used them as vertical cladding before embarking on the project.
“When we were approached to work on Kōtuitui Terraces through CSR (Monier) by the developers Avant, my first reaction was that we were up for the challenge. We rarely say no to anything, so we said yes.”
Bill’s understanding of the unusual design is that Crosson Architects wanted to keep a clean and simple line for the front façade, which meant no gutters. So, the front fascia is designed as a near-vertical mansard-style roof, with a lower pitch roof, a standard gutter system, and a downpipe at the rear.
“There’s no gutter on the front, just an overshoot of the tiles at the hip of the mansard roof. The secret to making it work was the Pro Clima building wrap, which is an expensive but really excellent product – I can’t speak highly enough of it. And that worked in harmony with the Monier terracotta tile system.”
The tile works similar to a brick, says Bill. “You have a cavity behind a brick so that any water that gets through runs down the back of the cavity. It’s exactly the same with these tiles. In fact, they are better than brick because they have water courses that take water away. We also had to work out how the cavity would work, as there are a lot of timber fixings. You don’t want tiles falling off, so each tile is double-screwed and clipped.”
To maintain the gap between the building wrap and the tiles, a 100mm x 50mm counter-batten runs down the wall, along with a 75mm x 50mm batten, so there’s a 100mm cavity which allows plenty of air to circulate.
As they had never used the tile as a vertical cladding, it was a constant learning experience for Bill and his team. “Fortunately, we are blessed to have really experienced people within our group; the likes of Warren
Parke, our Auckland-based construction manager, and Mark Maclean, who runs our wages team – both are experienced guys, who were absolutely key to the project’s success and took on the challenge, working with the builder and architect daily to come up with solutions.”
Another key to the success of this project was the collaboration between all the stakeholders on site. “The architects were a joy to work with – we listened to them, and they listened to us. It could have gone pear-shaped at any instant, but it didn’t because we all had the same will to make it work.”
There were some tricky technical challenges and requirements to work out, too – particularly how the flashings would work around the windows and because there was no eave on the front of the roof and also how to deal with the interdependency wall.
“To be fair, the guy with the most challenging role on this project was Dawson Chung at Roof Improvements, who supplied all the flashings, most of which no one had ever seen. Go make this – and while you’re there, make it in orange!”
The façade engineers at Oculus were a great help, too, says Bill. “Because the New Zealand building standard didn’t cover this design, they were brought on board – and they challenged us all the way, too. They made us think, which was great.” Bill says there was a determination to make this project work, to do something different, do it well, and create a landmark. “In years to come, I reckon people will be saying, I live by that orange building, no doubt about it.
When you’re up close, it’s absolutely stunning. And it’s unique. Nothing out there looks like it, and we are really proud to put our name to it.”
“Clearly, this was a design concept that challenged standard practice. It pushed the roofers
to really work outside the box to make it work and look good. Form and function are terms
architects love to claim, but in this case, it’s the roofers that have delivered it.”
– Paul Stanley-Boden, RANZ Vice-President and Technical Committee Chair
“The attention to detail. Even the step-down gables have been clad in the same product as
the roof and wall. The finish around the doors and windows, especially the raking windows,
was well executed and knowing how concrete tiles want to behave, the overall standard is
worthy of the award. The roofers have done themselves and the product proud.”
– Mark Bishop, RANZ Executive