The Farmhouse

Set in a green belt area of 150 acres, Charlton Farm is the home for the newest base for the Children's Hospice South West, providing care facilities for terminally ill children requiring 24 hour care as well as accommodation for families in need of respite.

This project involved the full refurbishment of five buildings, four of which are Grade 2 "curtilege" listed due to their proximity to the Downs School. The fifth of the buildings has a Grade 2 status in its own right.

The Main Contractor for this project, Cowlin Construction, approached M. Camilleri & Sons Roofing Ltd as the specialist roofing contractor for the project, with an order value of £125,000. The specification for the roofing works was a combination of Sandtoft Gaelic single Roman clay tiles and Sandtoft Goxhill clay plain tiles, with ornamental banding.

As a company more proficient in slating, we expressed reservations with the Main Contractor highlighting our relative inexperience in clay tiling. However, due to our well established relationship and our known effort and commitment levels, Cowlin Construction expressed their strong preference for us to undertake these works.

The Farmhouse

This roof - the most complex of all the buildings on this site - totals over 250m2 in area. However, this relatively small roof was crammed with various different detail requirements such as: Sandtoft Gaelic tiling, ornamental ridging (roll top, saw tooth and cocks comb profiles), changes in roof pitch, clay plain tiling (with ornamental banding) lead valleys, flashings and box gutters, Bat ingress/egress measures, tile vent terminals.

So many details within such a small roof area required significant attention to detail in order to ensure correct interfaces and a high quality finish.

In order to achieve an excellent finish, very careful attention was paid to the setting out process of these fixed-gauge tiles. In order to avoid short courses, the soffit overhangs were dictated by the tile coursing, thereby achieving perfectly uniform gauging throughout the roof. This strategy was adopted to achieve a high quality finish throughout all buildings on the site.

The Upper Barn

Constructed as a wing of The Farmhouse, the Upper Barn represents a further 220m2 of Gaelic tiling, at two different pitches. The roof is a simple "up-and-over" design with a low level lean-to roof. However, its location and orientation make the roof highly visible from the first floor of The Farmhouse as well as the main entrance to the site. Attention to detail was therefore more prominent to ensure that a high quality finish was always achieved.

Site Plan

The Upper Barn
The Middle Barn & Caretaker's Cottage

Requiring a further 550m2 of Gaelic tiling, the design of this roof includes lateral runs of up to 20m, thus requiring close attention in setting out to ensure perfectly straight tile coursing and tile "perps".

The Lower Barn

With a total area in excess of 650m2, the Lower Barn roof is finished with Sandtoft Gaelic clay single roman tiles and "sawtooth" ornamental ridge tiles. The design is comprised of five consecutive "up-and-over" roofs with single ply membrane box gutters between each. As these roofs are overlooked by the Farmhouse and the Middle Barn, it was again important to ensure the highest quality finish.

The Accommodation Blocks

Comprising two separate "up-and-over" roofs, these were the most simple roof designs of this project. However, attention was maintained to ensure that complacency did not result in a lower quality of workmanship which would have contrasted against the rest of the site.

The Buttery

The Buttery was added to the scheme to prevent its jaded finish detracting from the excellent aesthetic finish of the surrounding buildings. However, this exclusion also meant that the Buttery was not incorporated within the client's budget (which, due to the client being a registered charity, was somewhat fixed). We were therefore requested to source a cost-effective plain tile finish which would complement the tiles specified on the adjacent properties and meet the Grade 2 Listed Building parameters. This process was inhibited by the requirement for 135° angle bonnet hip tiles (at two different pitches), which had to be made as specials for the project.

This roof is the most visible when the site is accessed by the main drive and provides a perfect visual introduction to the complex.


The original programme for the entire complex included 8 weeks for roofing. Due to the complexity, site conditions and the addition of masonry work and timberwork, this was extended to a total of 20 weeks.

In order to accommodate such a long contract whilst maintaining our other contract commitments, we were forced to use a number of different site teams. This required a great deal of attention in briefing, installation and supervision to maintain a uniform, high quality finish across all buildings.