NARM offers the easy way to avoid the risk of specifying a non-compliant rooflight.If you’ve specified rooflights during the last few years, you’ll be aware of the increasingly complex raft of standards and legislation covering all aspects of rooflighting, from energy efficiency to health and safety.
Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations; The Building Regulations Part L; The ‘Red Book’ ACR[M]001; the Building Regulations Approved Document B; and since July 2013, another layer of legislation has come to the UK: certain rooflighting products now require CE marking.
Each of the above is a subject worthy of an article in its own right. For a specifier starting from scratch, together they represent a daunting research project, although it would seem perfectly reasonable for the specifier to assume that the manufacturer could be relied upon to supply compliant rooflights. However, this has proven not always to be the case.
Rooflights from all over the world are now available on the UK market and while some of these are excellent, many others are either of substandard quality, or have simply not been tested to UK standards. This situation is made worse by the fact that some importers are keen to highlight price advantages by ‘fudging’ or ignoring compliance issues.
This means that in some cases, customers may be unaware that they are buying non-compliant rooflights. Others may actively ‘turn a blind eye’, to benefit from an unfair price advantage.
Needless to say, prosecution can result from specifying non-compliant products, particularly in cases where health & safety may be compromised.
As the united voice of the UK’s rooflight industry, NARM (the National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers) offers authoritative independent advice and support for anyone who is unsure of rooflight compliance – or the validity of a manufacturer’s or importer’s claims.*
NARM is a highly active and influential industry association, currently comprising seventeen member companies and representing a complete cross-section of currently available rooflight technologies, including glass, thermoplastics and GRP profiled sheets. The membership of NARM accounts for the majority of rooflights manufactured in the UK, as well as high quality imports mainly from Europe.
Established over thirty years ago, NARM is a member of CPA, the Construction Products Association and represents the rooflight industry in consultation with the Government. NARM plays a key role in providing information to ensure that legislation is based on best practice. The association also chairs the relevant BSI committees for all rooflight product standards and through this position, represents the UK industry with reference to European standards.
Over the last few years, NARM’s Technical Committee has been made aware of a number of serious compliance transgressions.
Among current issues receiving attention from NARM is compliance with Building Regulations Approved Document L2A. Rooflights can make a major contribution to reductions in CO2 emissions and it is widely accepted they can be an essential element of compliance with Criterion 1 of the Regulations. Criterion 2 requires rooflights to have a U-value of 2.2W/m2K, but the status of this criterion is complex and has been subject to much debate and variation in interpretation – often as a means of justifying lower-spec, lower-cost rooflights which are not compliant. NARM’s stance on this issue is simple and unequivocal, and supported by DCLG: rooflights should comply with this criteria, which means plastic rooflights must be of at least triple skin construction.
Other issues currently being addressed, include imported GRP rooflights which do not carry UK fire ratings or fall short of the glass content required by UK standards; false claims or lack of clarity in respect of non-fragility; and others.
The message is frustratingly clear: it’s too easy for specifiers to make the mistake of specifying rooflights which are either not fit for purpose or do not meet regulatory criteria, whether deliberately or through misinformation.
So how should the responsible specifier go about ensuring compliance?
NARM publishes on its website specific guidance on all aspects of compliance in relation to rooflighting, as well as links to the latest Approved Documents and Building Regulations publications. Drawing on the combined technical resources of its member companies, this resource is regularly updated and provides an authoritative source for rooflight specification information.
It should also be noted that the NARM website presents profiles of all its member companies, with clear identification of the types of rooflight that each offers. This in itself is a useful tool for specifiers, providing a portal to most of the leading UK rooflight businesses.
In fact for the busy specifier, the simple and easy short cut to ensure rooflighting compliance, is simply to choose rooflights from a NARM member company. A key condition of NARM membership is that member companies’ products must be fully compliant with UK standards and legislation. For this reason, it pays to look for the distinctive NARM logo, or simply check the NARM membership listings at www.narm.org.uk.
For further information about NARM, or any of the issues raised in this article, please visit www.narm.org.uk. If you’re interested in your business becoming a NARM member, please email: email@example.com
* The NARM Technical committee is staffed by volunteers and as such, support and advice is offered freely. Should a site visit or written report be required, NARM can provide details of a suitable organisation to carry this out.