SpaceRafter Open Web Rafters Deliver Space and Savings in New Student Housing in Edinburgh

By Administrator

ITW Construction Products

9th Jun 2015

Ochil Timber Products supplied high-performance ITW SpaceRafters and SpaceJoists to the value of £35,500 for the roof and floors of a 6 storey, steel-frame student housing development in Edinburgh. Named “Shrubhill House,” the development for client, Ziggurat Student Living, will provide retail space on the ground level with 260 student beds and communal kitchen and living spaces in the floors above. In order to be ready for the new University intake in September 2015, a 10-month build programme was put in place.

Traditional mono-pitch rafters were initially specified for the roof structure. However, to achieve the required long spans with large roof voids within the tight timescale, Ochil Timber Product’s’ SpaceRafters and SpaceJoists were identified as the best option. 

Ochil’s Managing Director, Andrew McAree commented: “By specifying SpaceRafter and SpaceJoist the client benefitted from significant savings in time and labour as well as on the cost of metalwork. SpaceRafter eliminated the need for joist hangers, while the “packing out” of steel and ensured “room-in-the-roof” space was available by using a top-hung detail. I’m absolutely confident that this product could prove similarly advantageous across a range of buildings, particularly those where wide spans are needed, such as schools and commercial premises.”

CAG Architects’ scheme is sympathetic to the conservation area where the development sits. The traditional exterior design satisfied planners, with its traditional slated roof to the front, stone rainscreen cladding and a street-facing elevation which presents as a series of tenements.

Project Architect, Gregor Small reiterates Mr McAree’s comments: “Building this development in 10 months means that speed is of the essence and Ochil were very pro-active and helpful in delivering both the detailed design and the manufactured components quickly. SpaceRafter also meant that the large roof voids were retained, something the client can use for future additional bed spaces.”

Shrubhill House is the latest in a run of projects in which Ochil has successfully partnered design-build contractors, Ogilvie Construction. Alistair Forsyth, Senior Project Manager with Ogilvie, expressed his satisfaction with this project’s progress and specifically with the use of SpaceJoist and SpaceRafter in the roof – commenting: “Ochil proposed their lightweight, economical solution to us, which met with our engineers’ approval, so we were happy to accept. They then designed and manufactured the components and delivered them to site, on time and on budget. The whole process was just fine.”

Project Engineer, Iain Paton, of T Lawrie & Partners concurred: “I liked SpaceRafter and would certainly use them again where appropriate, particularly where there are long spans and where you need to use the metal web space to get services through easily.”

The SpaceRafters and SpaceJoists were designed using ITW engineering software and manufactured offsite at Ochil’s Denny factory with sustainably sourced timber. On ITW, Andrew McAree commented: “We have used ITW Construction Products as our software provider for the past 40 years and have always found them to be at the forefront in developing products which conform to all the required codes of practice. Their systems such as SpaceJoist and SpaceRafter have many benefits over more conventional products.”

If you’d like to benefit from the time saving, cost and engineering benefits of SpaceJoists or SpaceRafters on your next project, contact system supplier ITW Construction Products on 01592 771132 or visit for more information.

Tags on this post: construction, roofing