Creating homes which are as desirable as they are practical is crucial to the long-term mental wellbeing of occupants, particularly for those living in densely populated urban areas. For developments in built-up towns and cities, optimising limited living space has become a priority for designers. Hence, roof terraces and balconies are increasingly seen as ideal access points to fresh air, interesting views and a happier domestic situation for occupants. However, there is much to consider when creating a roof terrace.


Insulation build-up is a key issue in roof terrace applications. The system needs to be thin enough to meet regulation height issues for windows and doors, but offer a sufficient thermal performance to ensure requisite U-values are met. An innovative VIP panel such as Deck VQ® fulfils each of these requirements. Despite its ultra-slim composition, Deck VQ®’s superior thermal credentials – it has a lambda value of the core of 0.006 W/mK – come to the fore in enabling even the most complex terrace projects to be carried out without the need for structural changes.


Prior to ordering a VIP solution it is recommended to arrange a site survey, as the initial take-off drawing/specification of a project will differ from the on-site reality. This should take into account potential obstructions or openings such as rooflight and drainage outlets, which would affect the layout of a vacuum insulation panel scheme. Pre-installation, it is advised to make the contractor aware of the insulation technology being used in a roof terrace application, particularly in relation to VIPs which cannot be cut or altered on site.


When specifying a VIP panel for roof terracing, use a protected panel.  Deck VQ®, for example, is fully-encapsulated within a high-density PIR protective shell. This better safeguard’s the panel against puncture, which will lead to the VIP’s insulation value degrading to that of a conventional PIR material.


Always use the design layout provided. By working with Gradient, a full project design package and survey is supplied. This will create a scheme layout in conjunction with the product delivery and ensure the quantity of material delivered is optimised to eliminate or reduce site waste. It is therefore vital that the design scheme is followed exactly, in order to avoid installation difficulties and product shortfall.


As reliable as Deck VQ is, good practice in relation to its installation remains key to its performance. However, its correct implementation as part of a built-up felt or single-ply membrane waterproofing system, will safeguard roof terracing and balconies’ value as areas of welcome alfresco escape for residents in the long term.


Being mindful of mental health

Individual spiritual wellbeing is very much the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year takes place between May 9th and 15th. As well as producing insulation products for the creation of interior spaces that optimise comfort levels for occupants, Gradient is extremely aware of the need to nurture its employees’ mental health and wellbeing. We have a number of dedicated mental health first aiders at our manufacturing site in Staffordshire. Team member Paul Rogers explains why such initiatives are important to the workplace.


“The manufacturing environment can be a very busy, noisy place to be. Indeed, the same can be said of the construction industry as a whole. This can increase an employees’ stress levels, hence the importance of having trained people on-hand to talk things through and help make sense of the feelings they’re keeping.”


“Mental wellbeing is not only essential to an individual’s overall health, it’s also very good for business,” Paul continued. “A happy workplace is a productive workplace, therefore it’s in a company’s interests to safeguard their employees’ peace of mind. At Gradient, we’re in the midst of creating a breakaway room, a quiet space for staff to escape to the hustle and bustle of the workplace during moments of stress. It’s one of many initiatives we hope to introduce over time in order to increase staff comfort levels. Their health is our priority because our employees are the greatest asset we have.”


For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week, visit: