An office building can be a challenging enough environment for a facilities manager, but imagine if your workplace was open seven days a week, covered a 42 acre site, welcomed thousands of visitors each year and involved management and maintenance of 41 rides, 10 of which are roller coasters and many of which have been in service for decades.
Those are the challenges facing the estates team at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, one of the UK’s busiest and most popular visitor attractions. Founded in 1896, it was thrilling visitors with its rides and attractions long before Disneyland was so much as a twinkle in Walt Disney’s eye and, 120 years later, it’s still moving with the times to introduce new rides and make a significant contribution to the 13 million visitor numbers recorded by Blackpool last year.
The Pleasure Beach’s enduring popularity and excellent safety record rely on high standards of maintenance across all the structures on the site - many of which are somewhat unconventional, to say the least – including rides, amusements and food and drink outlets.
Amongst that ongoing maintenance schedule for the attraction’s estates team is the need to ensure that all roofs are in an excellent state of repair and this has led to two recent roof overlay schemes using Kemper System’s Kemperol V210 waterproofing membrane at the Valhalla and Alice in Wonderland rides. In an environment where visitors travel from miles around, carrying out the work with as little disruption as possible and without business interruption was vital, leading to specification of a cold-applied liquid system that requires no hot works and has a BBA-accredited service life of 25-years.
The first of the two roofing schemes to be delivered by roofing contractor, Castle Roofing, was ‘Valhalla’, a Viking-themed indoor water ride, opened in 2000 at a cost of £15 million. The ride is one of the most popular attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, taking visitors on a log flume journey through Norse mythology. While few visitors leave the ride without a soaking, they queue under a roofed area in front of the ride before they enter Valhalla, while they await a boat to take them inside. The queuing area is located next to an artificial rock face façade that features a ‘waterfall’ dispensing 12,000 gallons of water per minute. All that water falls onto the queuing area roof the constant water had led to failure of the existing waterproofing membrane, causing it to leak.
Explains Tim Currey, Construction Manager at Blackpool Pleasure Beach: “The volume of water constantly pouring on the queue shelter roof for Valhalla is far in excess of what any roof would normally have to deal with so it needs a robust waterproofing membrane with no vulnerable seams and no risk of water penetration. The Kemperol V210 liquid waterproofing system is ideal for such a demanding installation because it bonds to the substrate to form a seamless, monolithic membrane that is completely impervious to water.”
Before work could begin, the flow of water on the ‘rock face’ was switched off to create a dry working area for installation of the new waterproofing membrane. Castle Roofing installed the Kemperol V210 as an overlay system, which reduced the programme and minimised disruption by avoiding the need for any strip out of the failed membrane.
The Castle Roofing team first cleaned the existing substrate and then prepared it to receive the liquid waterproofing resin using Kemper System’s D primer. The Kemperol V210 resin was then cold applied with rollers in a single wet-on-wet process, with resin applied to the roof, reinforcement fleece laid in to the wet resin and more resin applied immediately on top to ensure complete saturation of the fleece, removing any creases or air bubbles as the application progresses. The system was then allowed to cure, creating a dark grey, seamless waterproof surface that can withstand the high volumes of constant water flowing down from the adjacent wall.
While there is no manmade torrent of water falling onto the roof of the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ ride, ensuring that the roof of this attraction was waterproofed effectively was no less important. A popular family ride, dating back to the 1950s, the attraction was suffering from water ingress in some areas where the surface of its existing felt roof had split, so an effective replacement waterproofing membrane was vital to protect both visitors and the internal features of the building.
The Kemperol V210 installation for this roof was also carried out as an overlay project to minimise disruption but the age and condition of the roof demanded increased preparation.
Castle Roofing cut out areas of the felt roof surface that had de-bonded from the substrate, filling these sections with a repair mortar made from Kemper System’s D Primer and Kempertec KR Quartz. These areas were allowed to cure, creating a continuous surface onto which the Kemperol V210 system could be installed.
The roofing system was then installed in the same way, with resin, flexible reinforcement fleece and more resin applied in a single wet-on-wet process and allowed to cure. The liquid system was ideal for the details and upstands on the roof as it can be applied to match the exact contours of the substrate and has excellent adhesion, even to vertical surfaces.
Throughout both projects, Castle Roofing worked around Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s opening hours to minimise disruption.
Tim adds: “There is no such things as a quiet time of year at Blackpool Pleasure Beach so the contractor came in early for public-facing areas so that they could be off site by the time visitors started arriving at 10.30am.
“The Kemperol V210 enabled them to work on small sections at a time and manage the programme around the operational demands of the business while providing a robust, durable and flexible waterproofing solution.”