The Big Build

Any of you who have visited us since May 2007 have seen the transformation at Oak Tree Vet Centre.

We have a client who used to live in the house and kindly gave me a picture of the house circa 1979. In fact I (Alistair) consult in what was her daughter’s bedroom!

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We bought the house in 1996 and from its original state pictured below in 1979 it had “suffered” a rather poor loft conversion, with the proliferation of green felt dormer boxes.

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We added the waiting room out front and the Planning Department insisted upon the design of the roof which didn’t help adding a flat roof to the green boxes!

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Over a period of five years, we’ve been working on new ideas and consulting with the planners to improve the roofscape and extend the property to allow us to add additional services and we finally won approval in January 2007.

The big build started in earnest in May 2007 but very early on we felt one of the main contractors was failing. They were unable to manage even the simplest of tasks correctly and we suffered both huge delays and damage to what we already had. Eventually they were terminated, as they were not even attempting to make progress over several weeks. I believe the firm to be no longer trading and we do hope, earnestly, that none of you ever have the misfortune to employ these people in whatever guise they reappear.

The New Roof

Sips Industries from Dalgety Bay ( ) handled the roof transplant and made a great job of it. Rather than a traditional roof constructed on site with lots of timber projection into the roof space, they made a kit made in their factory of insulated panels, which not only is extremely efficient in terms of insulation but also maximises the internal space as there are no protruding timbers into the rooms. 

Firstly, the entire original roof of the original house was removed right down to the ceiling joists. 

Starting with a big crane!

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A new first floor deck was constructed.

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Then steelwork was erected, together with the dividing walls of the upstairs.

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The jigsaw of insulated panels was put together and over a couple of days a new roof created.

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Completing the rear.

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And the final piece at the front!

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Once the structure was completed, the roof was tiled and we fitted our own uPVC fascias and soffits. We chose Britlock Slate Tiles for the roof covering. It is a British made lightweight tile made from recycled slate residues and looks very much like slate but without the weight and maintenance.

Over the hydrotherapy suite and the new extensions is a zinc roof most expertly completed by Artisan roofing ( ).

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Some paint and a new sign and we were well on the way to a finished look.

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The hydrotherapy suite

One of the main reasons we extended was our our desire to provide hydrotherapy facilities for the rehabilitation and restoration of our dog patients.

Early on the pool was delivered and lowered into position.

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Being so large it was lowered into place before the roof and front walls of the pool room were fitted.

The hydrotherapy suite is also a SIP construction to maximise the interior space and minimise heat loss from what is a very warm room.

Almost all of the suite was a “did it ourselves” production although the help of a joiner friend and client is gratefully acknowledged.

The first stage was to line the walls with plastic to prevent the humid conditions from wetting the panels and creating a timber grid for the panels.

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In order to assist the drying of the floor in the colder months and to provide a gentle warming, we installed underfloor heating.

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Before fitting the ceiling and panels, we added to the insulation with a double foil bubble wrap.

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We then fitted a white gloss plastic ceiling.

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The room is now taking shape with the fitting of Multipanels a laminate plywood waterproof panel ( ).

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A sliding partition was created.

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The final look, with the partition in the background.

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The treadmill is beyond the sliding partition.

Links and acknowledgements

Charles and Fraser Stewart, Sips Industries

Cyril Piot, Artisan Roofing

Michael Dobson

Dave Douglas Architect for his endless enthusiasm, drawings and ideas

Colin Watson who prepared the final warrant and engineering drawings

Brian Kinnell, Charlie Macleod and Ian Mitchell from Wilkinson and Lowe, Chartered Surveyors, who were asked to intervene when things went egg shaped with our first general building contractor. They were very supportive knowledgeable and understanding and provided advice and guidance which helped get the project bask on track. Next time (if there is one!), they’ll be involved from the start to ensure things go right the first time.

Ceiling Components

uPVC roofline

and a big thank you to the guys and girls at Screwfix, Sighthill.

If you would like a no obligation tour to view our new facilities, please phone us on 0131 539 7539 or email