NFRC spearheads ‘torch-on’ membranes safety campaign for flat roofs

In a bid to reduce the number of fires caused by the inappropriate use of gas torches on flat and low slope roofs, The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) – the UK’s largest roofing trade association – has spearheaded a safety campaign to alert roofing contractors, architects and specifiers to the potential dangers of torch-on membranes and the fact that contractors may not be insured to do the work.

After having identified a number of common flat roofing trouble spots – where flat roofs abut pitched roofs, where there are flammable materials and in the gaps between the plywood decking sheets – a ‘Responsible Specification Checklist’ has been produced that is aimed primarily at contractors and specifiers for use on site.

Ray Horwood CBE, Chief Executive of NFRC explains:

“When specifying bituminous membranes for certain flat roofs, architects, specifiers and contractors need to be aware of the hazards. In the right situation, it is perfectly safe to use torch-on membranes, providing the torch does not come in direct contact with any combustible materials.

“Fully endorsed by HSE, the new checklist is already proving popular with contractors. Should they identify any potential danger, they are advised to switch to an alternative method of applying bitumen, such as self-adhesive or the pour and roll method,” adds Ray.

“Given the pivotal role that architects and specifiers play in roofing design and in such a fast-changing construction environment, it’s critical that they keep abreast of all developments within roofing, and this is one such issue.”

This latest announcement continues the ‘Think roofs – think NFRC’ campaign that was successfully launched by NFRC last year. It is designed to keep architects and specifiers abreast of all the benefits that the Association and its members can bring when designing and specifying roofs and roofing materials.

As well as putting them in touch with contractors, designers and manufacturers, NFRC provides an overriding umbrella of knowledge and co-operation through the supply chain. Thanks to its resource centre, it can also become the first point of call for architects and specifiers for all matters roofing.