British Library, Boston Spa - Built-Up Flat Roofing



While St Pancras, London, is the main site for the British Library, much of the vast collection of documents is stored across a number of other London sites and at the national document delivery operation at Boston Spa, near Wetherby in West Yorkshire.

The Boston Spa site houses about 8.5 million books and serials and is the home of the Northern Reading Room, Northern Listening Service and Document Supply collection.



Project: British Library (Block 6), Boston Spa
Area: 4,500 m
Completion Date: 2007 
IMA Contractor: Tucker & Tunstalls Ltd, Leeds
Client: British Library
System: Profiles System

Download this case study



The waterproofing system on the existing roof was a two layer composite / modified bitumen coating covered with chippings. Apart from poor falls in certain areas, the roof appeared to be in reasonable condition until a crack revealed that the insulation was saturated with water.

A further visit to take core samples revealed that up to 60% of the roof was likely to have some form of water penetration.


IMA Contractor Tucker & Tunstalls took only three months to refurbish the 4,500m2 roof, despite work being undertaken in the winter and while the building remained fully open. The team began by stripping the existing waterproofing and saturated insulation down to the vapour control layer in order to maintain waterproofing while the works were being carried out, given the valuable property contained within the building.

BMI UK & Ireland’s Profiles Vapour Vent-XL vapour control layer was then applied over the existing layer, with the new system including BMI UK & Ireland’s tapered Thermazone Torch-on insulation, increased in thickness to meet current Building Regulations. The waterproofing system used the Profiles Vent-XL underlay and FireSmart Profiles blue-grey capsheet, which is specially formulated to reduce the risk of fire spread and penetration into the roof.

New Roofgard drainage outlets were installed at all existing outlets to ensure a completely sealed rainwater system. In addition, an additional layer of Profiles XL brown mineral surface membrane was used to delineate and reinforce walkways, and these were also lined with BMI UK & Ireland’s KwikGard freestanding roof safety system to complement the KwikGard parapet system and ManGard anchor and fall arrest systems around the perimeters.




    Contact Us

    +44 843 224 7400



    This site uses cookies in accordance with our Website Privacy Policy. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To browse without the use of cookies, you can opt-out as explained in our Website Privacy Policy or adjust your cookie settings for your browser