Reducing Fire Risk When Installing Flat Roofs

Fire is probably the most discussed and debated topic within the construction industry post the Grenfell Tragedy, and whilst the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has amended the Building Regulations with the aim of minimizing the loss of life risk in buildings due to fires there are other initiatives that pre-date the Grenfell Tragedy that are aimed at reducing the risk of fire during the construction process.

Roof fires caused by gas torches, no matter how minor, pose a serious threat to life, property, the image of the industry and possibly even the long-term future of torch-on as an accepted method of covering a roof. 

The Safe2Torch campaign is designed to support specification writers to comply with the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, and ties in with the HSE led ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ strategy which promotes a safer and healthier working environment.  An NFRC lead initiative supported by the LRWA and SPRA, Safe2Torch provides guidance that seeks to significantly reduce the risk of roof fires when using gas torches, either to dry out roofs or when used to install torch-on membranes.

However, the choice of thermal insulation material can significantly contribute to risk reduction, especially at perimeter upstands and penetrations. For example, when installing a warm roof system, the installation of QI Rockwool Mineral Wool or QI Foamglas insulation as the vertical insulation on upstands and penetrations, from the vapour layer upwards, will provide a non-combustible Euro class A1 solution. Suitable for use with single ply membranes, reinforced bitumen membranes or cold liquid applied waterproofing these insulation solutions can be used in combination with a PIR insulation on the flat area to meet the requirements of Building Regulations Approved Document B.

When it comes to Inverted Roofing applications the vertical insulation board is typically installed after the upstand has been waterproofed, with the insulation sitting in front of the waterproofing. In these applications compliance with Building Regulations Approved Document B can be achieved in the same manner using QI RockFace A2 Upstand Board. This Fire-tested stonewool based insulation board has a 6mm Cement Particle Board facer factory laminated and provides Euro Class A2 non-combustible fire performance. Installed vertically from the waterproofing and secured in place with QI XPS or VIP insulation QI RockFace A2 Upstand Board can be free standing or, subject to height requirements, mechanically fastened to provide a fire-resistant decorative finish.