Kogarah School of Arts Heritage Roof Rectification

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Client: Georges River Council
Kogarah School of Arts Heritage Roof Rectification, Project No. T77/033
Kogarah School of Arts, Corner of Queens Ave & Bowns Rd, Kogarah NSW 2217


Murphy’s were engaged to carry out the Kogarah School of Arts Heritage Roof Rectification project for Georges River Council.
Summary of the project scope of works:

  • Heritage slate roof replacement works including new sarking insulation and battens, lead flashings and dressings
  • Heritage metal roof replacement works
  • Box gutters, eaves gutters, roof plumbing including downpipes, rainwater head and sump work
  • Supply and fit new skylights
  • Supply and fit new heritage lead ridge flashing
  • Lead dust removal from the ceiling spaces
  • Strengthening of the existing roof structure with engineer’s certification
  • Other more minor project works
  • Site Clean-up, disestablishment and handover

Kogarah School of Arts was constructed in 1886 and is an example of the second wave of Australian Arts schools and mechanics’ institutes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was designed to house a centre for reading, community activities, recreational activities and entertainment in the then new outer suburbs of Sydney being made possible by the arrival of train services to these areas. The Kogarah School of Arts helped give the newly developing suburb a greater sense of social centre and significance.

The chief tasks of this project were the renewal of the slate and metal roofs of this historic nineteenth century building. Murphy’s were able to meet the heritage requirements of these works through having the skills and experience demonstrated on previous heritage slate and metal roof replacements.



The Kogarah School of Arts has both metal and slate roofs, which were restored sympathetically by Murphy’s. The slate roof was replaced using imported Cwt-y-Bugail slates from the Penrhyn Quarry in Bangor, Wales. These are genuine Welsh slates and are the equivalent replacements of the original materials used in the School of Arts construction in the 19th century. Lead ridge flashings were part of the heritage slate roof replacement. Proctor wrap sarking was laid beneath the slates at the time they were fitted. The installation was carried out by skilled slate tradesmen with extensive experience of heritage slate work in Australia and the UK.

A new 280 square metre galvanised steel corrugated metal roof was fitted, along with flashings and cappings to complete the roof. The heritage nature of the metal roof meant that True Oak corrugated roof sheets were selected. These were approved by the client’s heritage architect as they are in keeping with the heritage characteristics of the original materials. Beneath the new sheets, glasswool was laid to provide insulation. Bespoke skylights for the metal roof were specially fabricated and fitted. New box gutters, eaves gutters, rainwater heads, downpipes and sumps were replaced as part of the works. The internal structure of the roof was strengthened through the addition of welded plates to an engineers’ design and certified on completion by the engineer.
Almost the entire scope of works involved working at heights, being the replacement of the slate and metal roofs. Consequently, one of the main safety risks of the project was personnel falling from the edge of the roof or through the roof space itself. There risks were controlled by the provision of perimeter scaffolding and hand rails around the building. Given the very steep pitch of the slate roofs, the slaters used roof ladders hooked over the ridges of the roof to provide a method of work positioning. To control the risk of sheet materials blowing from the roof they were strapped down to the roof structure using builder’s strap. Roofers were trained in safe working at heights and used safety harnesses and temporary anchor points/static lines to prevent falls through the roof space.


At the start of the works, Murphy’s discovered suspected lead dust in the ceiling spaces. This was confirmed by an independent occupational hygienist when tested at a NATA accredited laboratory. Murphy’s was able to remove the lead dust in controlled conditions using a HEPA class vacuum and wet-wiping. Technicians used type 5 disposable coveralls, dust masks and gloves. The independent hygienist inspected the effectiveness of the cleaning and provided of a clearance certificate on the completion of the works.
The roofs were kept water tight throughout the replacements by progressive removal and replacement in sections. Weather and rainfall forecasts were monitored by Murphy’s project management team and the weekly work program updated accordingly.

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