Ongar Leisure Centre with Tecnatorch

In the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, sport and exercise became more essential than ever for many across the UK, this led the owners of Ongar Leisure Centre to undertake a major upgrade and refurbishment of the heavily leaking roof.

The Project

In the case of Ongar Leisure Centre – a community hub in a small market town in the Epping Forest region, it became clear that a major upgrade and complete refurbishment project was required. In addition to renewing its swimming pool plant, it was clear that the contractor simultaneously needed to replace its old, heavily leaking and unfit-for-purpose roof.

As a bitumen roof with chippings, and many non-standard features, such as bespoke rooflights, together with the fire risk of old timber in the support, this was a challenging prospect.

  • Project Name: Ongar Leisure Centre

  • Contractor: Southern Counties

  • Client: Places for People Leisure Ltd

  • Solution: Icopal’s Tecnatorch system

Ongar Leisure Centre Syndicate

The System

“BMI Icopal’s Tecnatorch system perfectly occupied a balance between commercial cost-effectiveness, durability, and the reassurance of a 15-year guarantee.”

Southern Counties (Contractor)


The Guarantee

“BMI sent an inspection team to conduct a rigorous assessment, ensuring quality of workmanship, and then issued the required 15-year guarantee.”

Southern Counties (Contractor)


The Challenge

The Challenge

In terms of the roof itself, complexity was rooted in the non-standard rooflights and features. Working with intricate, bespoke details, the team needed to stay true to the original design of the roof, yet bring it in line with modern expectations of performance. By specifying a custom design for new, high-performance rooflights, the team effectively removed this source of complexity.

A second source of complexity was the existing timber – and the very real fire risk it presented. So, working with TorchSafe detailing, and focusing on health and safety, the team mitigated this fire risk and made the site safe for workers and leisure centre users alike.

Thirdly, the presence of chippings on the existing roof complicated proceedings. With these chippings in place, waterproofing was impossible – so the team needed to safely remove these chipping and sufficiently apply waterproofing.

Finally, complexity was presented by the in-use nature of the site. Amid a rush of post lockdown leisure centre customers, the challenge was to minimise disruption while working safely and securely. Given that the mechanical removal of an existing roof is an inherently noisy process, the team needed to find optimum times and working areas to operate in that would reduce potential disruption and keep the project on track.


The Solution

The Solution

Southern Counties, together with BMI, were brought in at an early stage to effectively design a solution to the needs of the building. Through an initial survey and assessment to examine the roof, test weathertightness and thermal performance, and identify issues, the team together designed a fit-for-purpose specification to meet future requirements.

In terms of material choices, the team specified a full system solution, through BMI Icopal Tecnatorch bituminous membrane built-up torch-on roofing system. This system was specified in order to deliver a cohesive roof that would be easy to maintain, as well as install, negating the impact of the roof’s bespoke features. With everything working in harmony, the entire roof could be specified as a single system, satisfying all requirements while minimising rework and the resultant disruption.

For installation, preparing the roof involved clearing the existing roof of chippings, to make way for adequate waterproofing. The roof was then primed with the liquid waterproofing in order to securely adhere the insulation layer. Two layers of bitumen were then installed as waterproofing, followed by the carefully measured and pre-designed rooflights.

Following this, BMI sent an inspection team to conduct a rigorous assessment, ensuring quality of workmanship, and then issued the required 15-year guarantee.


The Impact

The Impact

This reroofing project was part of a wider refurbishment project, bringing Ongar Leisure Centre in line with modern requirements and expectations.

Through a strong working relationship and close collaboration between the contractor, Project Managers and the BMI manufacturing and specification teams, the right system and materials, the right processes and installation, and the right balance of cost-effectiveness and long-lasting guarantees were achieved, to bring this community leisure centre up to the expectations of today’s users. This ensured that the public could continue to enjoy fitness and leisure activities, no matter what life in the pandemic presents.




Pride. Passion. Performance

Tecnatorch is a complete bitumen roof system that makes it easier for you to achieve a flat roof you can be proud of, that’s backed by our passion for roofing, and expert performance.  

Key features

  • Greater lap security

  • Safer low flame application

  • Exceptional bond strength

  • Technically advanced low heat-reactive bitumen

Tecnatorch plp image