Case Study

Saddleworth School, Oldham

PROMATECT®-XW’s superior weather, mould and water resistance prevents wintry weather delays for new school project. 

Project: Saddleworth School, Oldham
Brand: Etex, Siniat & Promat Promat
Products: Etex Thruwall®, Siniat Weather Defence™ and Siniat PROMATECT®-XW
Client: Department of Education
Architect: JM Architects
Sub contractor: AWH Partitions & Ceilings ltd

Project Overview

A range of real-world tested systemsincluding an innovative fire protection solution – from Etex Building Performance has enhanced the development of the new Saddleworth School. 

Due to be handed over in February 2022, the redevelopment has involved the removal of industrial buildings from the site to make way for a new, modern school offering places for 1,500 pupils, a sports hall, ancillary buildings, and a parent drop off area. The ambitious timelines meant that Etex’s ability to provide a range of fully tested products from a single source was a significant benefit as it overcame the need for Tilbury Douglas to deal with numerous different suppliers, and ensured that the system was fully-warranted and documented. 

Design and specification:

Project discussions between Etex and Tilbury Douglas started back in 2015 but numerous consultations over planning permissions delayed work from starting. The scheme was finally picked up again in July 2020 when Etex, Tilbury Douglas and the architect started to work closely on the specification, developing a solution that would benefit the project in terms of performance but also buildability. 

Etex Thruwall® was specified for the external envelope as the fully-tested performance warranted system combines a non-loadbearing EOS steel frame system, Siniat Weather Defence™ external sheathing, and internal wall lining. In the initial designs, intumescent paint was to be used to fire protect the steel frame structure. However, Tilbury Douglas where reluctant to use a sprayed solution due to the weather and environment that the new school was located in. Promat recommended the additional use of PROMATECT®-XW – an A1 non-combustible board, which offers up to 60 minutes of fire protection for structural steel. PROMATECT®-XW is real-life tested as part of a whole system to assess its interaction with other building components at limiting temperatures from 300°C to 650°C. This rigorous testing process guaranteed that the product would meet all legislation and fire safety requirements for the project. 

Another major benefit when considering the specification of PROMATECT®-XW was that it can be exposed to weather conditions for up to six months. This superior weather protection helped to overcome the challenge posed by the school’s new location in a valley, which meant that the project was at a higher risk of being affected by the adverse weather conditions during the winter. Due to the fact that the local environment is surrounded by wildlife, a canal, and a brook, the product was also chosen for the project as it mitigated any risk or impact environmentally. Due to these unrivalled properties, Tilbury Douglas approved the use of PROMATECT®-XW to provide external fire protection on the lower perimeter of the building.      

Siniat’s Weather Defence™ external sheathing was also specified due to the fact that it is faced with water repellent material, which provided superior weather protection, airtightness and fire protection to the external envelope. These boards can be left exposed on site for up to 12 months and provided a faster way to weathertight the structure compared to traditional sheathing boards, meaning internal works could proceed more quickly. 


PROMATECT®-XW is quick to install and highly resistant to water, weather and mould, which allowed internal work to proceed whilst the fully weathertight external envelope was being constructed using Siniat’s Weather Defence™ 

Etex’s technical team worked with Tilbury Douglas and the subcontractor, AWH, to address any queries during the installation of the PROMATECT®-XW boards. During this process, Etex’s technical team supplied drawings to show how to work around some of the interface detailing at the junction between the window reveals & multiple steel connection and the PROMATECT®-XW boards, as well as detailed assistance on how the boards should be installed on the junctions between the primary steelwork and cross bracing.   

To provide this level of detail, Etex utilised the expertise of its Promat and EOS steel frame brands to work alongside Tilbury Douglas and AWH and come up with a workable solution. This involved the use of hot rolled steel sections to allow PROMATECT®-XW to be installed in a way that worked alongside the EOS steel frame system and cross bracing without drastically changing the design. The use of PROMATECT®-XW also meant that the project benefitted from a speedier, easier installation process as the board can be secured using simple staple fixings with no glue, filler or paint required. This level of technical support and drawing revisions, coupled with the ease of install, allowed the work to proceed smoothly and quickly.  

 A considerable part of the project was carried out during the pandemic which meant that only a limited site presence was possible, so Etex ensured consistent communication via virtual design meetings and phone calls with Tilbury Douglas and AWH to provide all the information required. Additionally, Etex’s National Business Development Manager conducted a number of site visits to check that the project was on track and that the installation was running smoothly.  

Final Results:

Etex was able to provide solutions that could be installed quickly and easily whilst offering high levels of fire safety and external envelope protection. PROMATECT®-XW’s weather durability enabled the fire protection to be installed early on in the construction process before the building was fully weathertight, meaning that Thruwall® and Weather Defence™ could be installed simultaneously to construct the external envelope as quickly as possible. 

In addition to supplying high performance products, Etex provided exceptional design and specification support. Using one manufacturer for the full range of systems was a great benefit to Tilbury Douglas as it allowed Etex brands, Promat and EOS, to combine their expertise to resolve any installation uncertainties, which meant that the project ran with ease. As Etex was able to supply the diverse range of products, the contractor and subcontractor also benefitted from streamlined communication and the peace of mind that the systems were fully tested, documented and warranted. 

Ultimately, the unrivalled performance and speedy installation of Etex’s system played a significant part ensuring that the project handed over on time with the school opening it doors for the first time to pupils on the 2nd March as planned.  

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