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Welsh Slate 'reigns supreme in Sydney'

07 June 2013

Work is drawing to a close on a two-year re-roof, using natural Welsh Slate, of the Supreme Court complex in Sydney, Australia. The three-phase project has involved replacing a total of 1,6002m of roofs, including a domed element, that were covered in Spanish slate, with Welsh Slate shipped out from the company's Penrhyn quarry at Bethesda in North Wales.

The highest court in New South Wales, it was established by the 1823 Charter of Justice, with unlimited civil jurisdiction and expertise in the most serious criminal matters. Its original roof was Welsh slate but after some 150 years this was replaced with cheaper Spanish slate in the mid-1970s. Reverting to Welsh Slate brings with it a 100-year lifetime guarantee as proof of its durability.

The Penrhyn Heather Blue slate is complemented by copper rainwater goods and lead plumbing and flashings, as befits a listed heritage building.

Andy Coyne, director of local specialist contractor Combined Roofing Australia, said: "Realistically the Spanish slate lasted for 30 years and should have been replaced around 2005. Many roof repairs have been carried out over the past eight to 10 years to prolong the life of the Spanish slate but it has now completely failed and has been getting replaced over the past two years."

He added: "The project has been most challenging due to a variety of factors. The court is a heritage listed building and we have to work around it while it is in operation, with noise restrictions and so on in place.

"It's also in the middle of Sydney with no parking on a tight site and very exposed location. There was also one building with a domed roof that required a very high level of workmanship but the Welsh slate has performed excellently."

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