Posted on 4 Comments

How We Levelled the K-Span Roof

Kevin came up with an ingenious way to level the K-Span roof. And it is looking beautiful! With a standard roof, the roof plates or tiles rely on the beams and trusses underneath to keep it level. If a standard roof is not straight, you know you have a problem with the underlying structure. With a beamless system, such as the K-Span, it’s a little different. The K-Span roof is self-supporting and therefore just needed some adjustment to get it level.

As explained in our previous post, our K-Span roof is a prototype and so we expected a few issues. Our biggest issue was the dip in the panels as they were installed. The installers were not expecting the weight of the arcs to pull them down the way it did. We knew that all it would take was some additional work and a plan in order to level out the roof. Kevin came up with a plan on how to do so. It was just a case of unbolting the arcs, jacking up the roof and re-bolting the arcs in the correct place. The unanimous decision was that Small Scale Engineering would take over the responsibility of levelling the roof.

Herewith a “before” photo so you can see how the roof dips; the worst area is on the left (West).

before level a roof
If you look at the top of the roof against the sky, you’ll see how it dips, especially towards the West.


Last week, we mentioned that we required scaffolding in order to complete the work. So, we hired some scaffolding from Scaffolding Solutions. Then we had to wait for the perfect weather. We needed at least two days with no wind or rain; a bit of a challenge in our Western Cape winters.

Finally, we found a gap in the weather and arranged for a team to help Kevin with the work. Early on a Friday morning, all hands were on deck and ready to get to work.

How To Level a K-Span Roof

Step One

Build the scaffolding attaching scaffold jacks to the feet and the top poles.

Using kiwkstage scaffolding jacks to jack and level a k-span roof
These are the scaffold jacks. The thread is used to lift or lower the scaffolding as required

Step Two

Attach a wooden plank to the top of the scaffold jacks. Fit cut pieces of plastic pipe between the plank and the seamed edges of the arcs.

Kevin did not want to scratch or dent our roof plates so he used this combination of wood and plastic piping to apply the pressure to the strongest part of each arc – i.e. the seam. He made two rows like this, a few meters apart, under the highest section of the roof. The more points there are, the more the pressure is distributed and the less damage to the roof.

Scaffolding against roof plates

Step Three

Unbolt the roof on the entirety of one side. We removed all the bolts from the South side of the container house (and this is why we needed a day with no wind). If you recall from a previous post, we installed C channels onto which to bolt the roof arcs.

Step Four

Using the scaffold jacks and a builders’ line, carefully jack the roof, using the scaffold jacks, until it is all at a uniform height. You can see the builders’ line on the above photo; it is the yellow line running against the wooden plank.

Step Five

Rebolt the arcs to the C channels, in their new positions. Kevin also welded vertical fins to the C-channels. They fit between each seamed arc and we could use this to bolt the arcs down this way too. We used galvanized bolts and washers. We also used a rubber spacer between the plate and washer to minimize damage to the steel and to make it water tight.

New bolts fitted

Obviously, we have a few holes in the plates that are no longer being used. We will need to patch those up. After that we can trim the arcs so we have a nice edge to our roof. The scaffolding can also be removed, but before we do that we are using it to install the additional beam (a.k.a. lattice girder – exciting stuff!) as per our engineer’s request. We’ll be sure to share the details soon.

In the meantime, I think it’s time for an “after” picture…

a nice level roof
Here the team are measuring and fitting one of the new rows of bolts.

A huge thank you to our friends who helped us with this task! We could not have done this without you. And of course, a shout-out to Scaffolding Solutions who hired us the scaffolding we required!

4 thoughts on “How We Levelled the K-Span Roof

  1. That’s looking fantastic! And I like how the sun came out for the “after” photo too!

    1. Lol! You noticed too! 🌞

  2. Wow! what an undertaking!! but I admire how you “Made a Plan come together”
    well done folkes.
    Lets all have a Carling ! 🙂

    1. 😊 I agree! When this roof is finished there will definitely be reason to celebrate!

What do you think? Let us know!