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The History

Opened on 31 October 1879, David Morgan's began as a small draper's store and steadily expanded to became the largest independent department store in Wales, rivalling the nearby James Howells store.

The store ceased trading in January 2005 and the buildings sold to a London based property investment company, for a reported £29 million.

The re-development project included a total re-roof and internal alterations to provide ground floor retail premises with luxury apartments to the upper floors.

The anticipated value of the completed development is £80 million.


In May 2005 we were contacted directly by Haskoll architects who requested that we carry out a survey of the existing roofs and then prepare a specification for re-roofing.

The existing roof of this Grade II listed building was finished with natural Welsh slates from a variety of quarries, with a number of different slate colours and sizes evident.

Significant slate delamination was noted, particularly on the rear roofs. Numerous patch repairs were evident as was significant pollution staining. Lead roofs and flashings were found to contain splits, holes and detail defects a long with further repair attempts. No underlay appeared to be present.


SSQ Del Carmen natural Spanish slates were recommended in order to satisfy planning and budget requirements and, in order to avoid significant increases in the finished roof height, YBS Superquilt 14 multi-layer insulation blankets were recommended as all slate areas were to be warm roof constructions.

In order to ensure that condensation would not cause problems within the construction, Proctor Roofshield breather membrane was also suggested.

Further information was provided to ensure that any official specification was compliant with:
  • BS5534: 2003 (Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling),
  • BS8000-6: 1990 (Workmanship on Building Sites, Part 6 slating and tiling),
  • BS5250: 2002 (Code of Practice for Control of Condensation in Buildings),
  • Lead Sheet Association recommendations,
  • Respective manufacturers' recommendations, etc.
This information was then used to prepare the NBS specification, which we received from HBG Construction within their sub-contract enquiry package. This was then used to prepare our tender for the work, which was submitted in August 2005.

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We were awarded the sub-contract in December 2005 and commenced on site in January 2006.

The re-roofing work, which was split into North, Middle and South buildings across a 23 month period, used a total of 45,000 slates.

The city centre location provided significant logistical problems from arranging deliveries to lifting and distributing materials. Good communications and house-keeping were essential in addition to some extremely hard work, to ensure that the workface could be continually serviced.

As the project design was continually evolving, we were required to be very flexible in our approach and in our ability to accommodate additional work as further extensions and details were added.