Rooflights and Regulations for Non-fragility

When specifying rooflights, designers should consider carefully the potential to eliminate or reduce known or predictable hazards. The decision on how best to specify rooflights should take account of the risks associated with temporary gaps during construction, and the risks when access to the roof is needed later e.g. during maintenance or cleaning.

As in all building work good safety standards are essential to prevent accidents. In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Construction (Design and Management) or CDM Regulations 2007 , the building should now be designed with safety in mind, not only for the construction period but throughout the normal life of the building. This must include considering the safety of people involved in maintenance and repair, and even demolition. It might mean providing permanent access to the roof, walkways and parapets, for example. The HSE document HSG 33 Safety in Roof Work refers specifically to fragile rooflights as an example of a potential hazard to be considered and to be avoided as far as possible.

Construction of the roof is one of the most hazardous operations because of the potential for falls or material dropping onto people below. The roofing contractor must plan and document a safe system of work before starting construction. This must take into account if any of the roof assembly will be fragile until fully fixed. Metal roofing systems together with appropriate rooflights, even after the first fix of lining out, can be designed to be non fragile. However until the systems are fully fixed, both metal and rooflights must be regarded as fragile.


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Read our December 2013 article on non-fragility.