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74 EXTERNAL ENVELOPE


compliance throughout the programme. The Safe2Torch guidelines provide a clear and detailed outline of areas that should be specified as torch-free zones. These include: timber roof decks and roof areas with timber upstands or fillets, hanging tiles, thatched roofs, rooflight kerbs and upstands, lantern rooflights, windowsills, and cladded areas.


The guidelines also stipulate that torch- on systems should be avoided in any confined areas and for any areas that may contain concealed flammable materials, a full list of recommendations is available on the NFRC website. To maintain the safety of the installation team and any occupants in the building, and protect the fabric of the building from fire risk, the guidelines require a self- adhesive bitumen system to be used within 900 mm of any of these torch- free areas.


Other design & specification considerations


Bitumen roofing technology has advanced significantly over the past decade, not only in response to Safe2Torch Guidelines but also to provide increased durability, performance and service life. A membrane that combines the flexibility and tensile strength of SBS bitumen with the


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hardwearing performance and U/V resistance of APAO provides the ideal solution for the UK climate. The roofing membrane should be specified in combination with a suitable insulation to meet the required thermal performance, and the structural loading of the new roof build-up should be taken into account in the specification, particularly if the roof is being designed as an overlay. Similarly, if there will be rooftop plant or equipment, the compressive strength of the roof build up should also be factored into the specification. Wind uplift, fire safety, drainage and the safety of maintenance teams should also form part of the specification process for the Safe2Torch compliant roof.


Best practice


The construction sector may still have some way to go to embed greater clarity in its specification processes but, for the roofing sector at least, the Safe2Torch guidelines provide an excellent best practice framework. It’s now up to manufacturers, specifiers and contractors to implement them.


Martin Bidewell is head of technical and product management – roofing at Sika


ADF OCTOBER 2019


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