As we have an increasing number of roofing clients, C&C Consulting has pledged its support behind the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Safe2Torch campaign.
This simple but effective campaign 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. Put simply, Safe2Torch is a positive message which puts safety first at the design stage.
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.
By completing a safe to torch survey during the planning stage of this type of roof work, surveyors and contractors can identify high risk areas in the building process where naked flames should be avoided. Listed below are some areas that should be considered high risk and where naked flames should be avoided:
Expansion joints: Expansion joints which are filled with combustible fillers, such as foam or fibreboard, should not come into contact with high heat or naked flame
Adjoining a pitched roof: If a membrane roof is adjoining a pitched roof with details to be completed under abutments to roof tiles and slates, the slates or tiles should be removed and a compatible torch-free product should be selected.
Abutments with open cavities or open perpends: A compatible torch-free product should be selected for any abutments with open cavities or open perpends.
Fixed timber, plastic fascia or soffits: Naked flames should be avoided where there is fixed timber, plastic fascia or soffits
Here are some key points to reduce the risk of starting a fire in roofing work:
- Survey the roof area, highlight on working drawings high risk areas and mark them clearly as No Flame Zones
- Ensure a hot works permit is prepared for the works and controls are effective in managing the risks
- Provide flameless alternative tools for use in the areas designated as No Flame Zones
- Ensure fire extinguishers are provided and deployed at the point of work. Ensure this equipment is fit for purpose, inspected and maintained
- Employ competent supervision on site, that is following the Safe Systems of Work and Safe2Torch guidance at all times
- Have effective emergency arrangements in place that ensure the site workers and potential occupants of the premises can take appropriate emergency action upon hearing an alarm etc.
Many of the items above are pre-requisites for a Safe System of Work relating to hot works on roofs; the Safe2Torch Campaign seeks to reduce the risk potential by identifying and removing naked flames from the areas where flames are more likely to take hold.
The full Safe2Torch guide can be downloaded from here: https://www.nfrc.co.uk/docs/default-source/campaign/safe2torch-guidance.pdf?sfvrsn=2