026 RCI 0717

RCI July 2017

THE ENVELOPE What does the Safe2Torch campaign mean for the roofing sector? What is Safe2Torch? Safe2Torch is an NFRC campaign developed in partnership with contractor and manufacturer members of the NFRC. It was launched on Monday 3 July 2017 and 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. What are the main points? Those who create risks have a responsibility to manage those risks – placing the ownership of potential fire risks in the right place is the main message of Safe2Torch. Therefore, it is essential to make sure all fire risks are identified at the survey stage and factored into the specification before it is written. This means that where any fire risk has been identified, or – just as importantly – where it cannot be ruled out, then the relevant parts of that specification must default to torch-free solutions. If it can be subsequently demonstrated that an area is safe (e.g. when uncovering an area on a refurbishment project) then the specification can, if agreed between all parties, revert to torch application. This approach reverses what has generally happened in the industry to this point, in that torch-on is often specified as standard, but needs changing when a fire risk is identified. Getting the necessary changes agreed with all parties can potentially be an arduous process for all concerned, and a torch first philosophy also increases the risk of the operative on site with the torch missing or ignoring the fire risk altogether, and the consequences of that do not really need to be spelled out. The Safe2Torch campaign is designed to support specification writers to comply with the Construction Design and 026 RCIMAG.COM JU LY 2017 Management Regulations 2015, and ties in with the HSE-led ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ strategy which promotes a safer and healthier working environment. Put simply, Safe2Torch is a positive message which puts safety first at the design stage. Why was it necessary? The Safe2Torch campaign will directly affect at least 50% of all the flat roofs installed in the UK. 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. At the NFRC we believe that by working together, fires of this nature can be prevented and it is for this reason that we have now launched our Safe2Torch campaign. Roof fires tend to be big news, and when a gas torch is involved this brings unwelcome publicity to the flat roofing industry and especially to torch-on membranes which are still by far the biggest part of the sector in the UK. It is not an exaggeration to say that many companies are one fire away from going out of business, or that the industry itself might be only one high profile roof fire away from torch-on being banned in certain locations. We only need to look to New York, where torches have been banned completely for several years, to demonstrate that this is a distinct possibility. So it was necessary to bring leading suppliers, installers and others together to create guidance which would, if used correctly, significantly reduce the risk of a fire. The Safe2Torch campaign will promote the positive side of the industry, where safe specifications and safe working practices are second nature. It will give clients assurance that if they engage with a Safe2Torch Contractor and / or manufacturer, their roof works will have been planned and installed within the requirements of the Safe2Torch guidance. How can you support Safe2Torch? Any organisation can pledge support for the Safe2Torch campaign. Pledging support means that the organisation has read and understood the guidance and is committed to promoting and implementing the campaign throughout their organisation. Who can register for Safe2Torch? Safe2Torch registration is available to those NFRC contractor members, manufacturers, and members of CompetentRoofer, who are responsible for either writing specifications or working to them, and meet all other relevant criteria. For further information and to download the guidance and to pledge your support visit: www.nfrc.co.uk/safe2torch or contact safe2torch@nfrc.co.uk www.nfrc.co.uk By Kevin Taylor, head of technical at the NFRC Above: The Safe2Torch checklist Above: The Safe2Torch Guidance book


RCI July 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above