National Library of Australia,

Retrofit low-pitched roof on a listed building

The Parkes Place building that houses the National Library of Australia was opened in 1968 and is now a listed building under Australia’s Commonwealth Heritage List. By their very nature, the contents of a library collection are particularly sensitive to moisture and vulnerable to roof leaks. In 2020, this worst case became reality: a major hail storm on 20 January 2020 caused significant damage to the building’s copper roof, and water damage to collections subsequently occurred during periods of heavy rainfall.

This project came to pro clima Australia in 2021 in the form of an inquiry that specified 8 months of outdoor exposure and also stipulated that not a single drop of water should get into the building. To meet these needs, pro clima Australia developed the FlatHERO® protection system for low-pitched roofs (> 2°), which utilises the SOLITEX EXTASANA ADHERO self-adhered weathering-protection membrane installed onto rigid board and is complemented by pro clima sealing accessories such as TESCON® PRIMER RP, TESCON EXTOSEAL®, TESCON EXTORA®, TESCON® NAIDECK and ROFLEX grommets.

  • Surface area of roof: 6,000 m²
  • Roof slope: between 4° and 7°
  • Project duration: 2021 – 2023
  • Project planning and construction management: Manteena Group, Fyshwick, ACT
  • Contractor: ARC Roofing, Sydney

The National Library with Canberra's Capital Hill and the Parliament House, the seat of the Austrialian national legislature, in the background.

Installation of SOLITEX EXTASANA ADHERO has begun in the foreground.

Aerial view of the roof during the installation phase: installation of the new copper covering has begun on the left; the red covering that is visible in the top right is temporary protection.

The National Library on the banks of the Molonglo River, with the National Museum of Australia across the river and the peak of Black Mountain in the background.

Video: Introduction and contractor testimonials

Project presentation by Daniel Jakobs from pro clima Australia, with contractors sharing their experience of working with SOLITEX EXTASANA ADHERO.

How was this project implemented?

In the course of this retrofit project, it was necessary to remove the storm seal and damaged copper roof sheets, which left the building structure underneath exposed. The roof was replaced in a gradual manner in 5 metre wide sections, with the current working area always protected underneath white plastic ‘bubbles’ that were visible from afar. While the roof was being re-covered, the workers also cleaned up the roof space and repaired any timber trusses and battens that had deteriorated over time. During the project, asbestos was discovered in the roof, so decontamination of the roof structure also had to be carried out. This led to significant extra work and caused delays in the construction schedule.

After this refurbishment step, a new plywood substrate was installed, which was then covered with the SOLITEX EXTASANA ADHERO peel-and-stick weather resistive barrier membranes from pro clima Australia. These membranes served as temporary weather protection during the repair work, and also add long-term protection in the case of any future storm damage. Finally, the building’s listed roof covering was restored: a new standing-seam copper roof without rear ventilation was then fitted above this.

Roof surfaces with SOLITEX EXTASANA ADHERO weathering-protection membranes, with lengths of copper covering ready for mounting

Find out more about this project from the roofing and cladding contractor and read about the background to this project in the local press.

The following pro clima products were used in this project: