TRADE ASSOCIATION NEWS
Green roof organisation evolution –
an important moment for the industry
The Green Roof Organisation (GRO), which has been the representative body for the green roof industry
since 2008, has now become a trade association. Nick Day, managing director of Optigreen, and a member
of the new board at the GRO, reflects on the history of the organisation and the great opportunities that
now lie ahead
These are exciting times for the
green roof industry as The
Green Roof Organisation (GRO),
the independent UK body which
represents the industry, has now become
a fully-fledged trade association.
Originally founded in 2008 to answer
the demand for UK relevant guidance
for the increasing number of green roofs
being specified at the time, the GRO was
established as an industry trade body
by a partnership of green roof industry
manufacturers and installers together
with other stakeholders.
The aim was to develop guidance for
the specification, design, manufacture,
installation, and maintenance of green
roofs. At the time, the only guidance
reference available were the German FLL
Guidelines, which had been developed
over many years in a green roof market,
which was far more established than ours.
Design and specification
The first guidance document was
published in 2009 entitled: “The GRO
Guidelines”, which was very much
based on the FLL Guidelines previously
In 2011, the first “GRO Green Roof
Code” was released with design and
specification advice more suited to the
UK market. The code went on to achieve
widespread acceptance within the
construction industry. The Green Roof
Code was subsequently revised in 2014
as a more comprehensive document.
In 2018, the members of GRO voted
overwhelmingly for GRO to become a
trade association. This became a reality
earlier this year with the election by the
membership of a 12-person governing
board made up of representatives from
manufacturers, system and material
suppliers, contractors, and other
industry stakeholders. Mark Harris,
chair of the original GRO, was elected as
chair of the new body.
A technical secretary has since been
appointed, and one of his first tasks
will be to oversee the launch of the next
revision of the GRO Green Roof Code,
which is due to be published this year.
The new code will be more
comprehensive than the current
version, with more detailed guidance,
performance criteria and reference to
the new BS 8616 standard for substrate
Photo credit: Optigreen
testing. The technical secretary will also
be developing links already established
with other trade associations from the
roofing and landscaping industries.
Education and training will be an
important cornerstone of GRO moving
forward. In a move to improve and
maintain professional competence
within the green roof industry, GRO has
teamed up with Lantra.
This year will see the launch of the
full Lantra green roof training suite,
which will offer training and assessment
in the installation and maintenance of
green roofs. Topics covered will include
blue roofs, bio solar roofs, pitched,
shaped, and curved green roofs, as well
as maintenance regimes and techniques.
The training will be open to
architects, specifiers, estimators,
installers, contractors or for people
new to green roofing. This is the only
training suite that will allow candidates
to work towards a LISS/CSCS Green
Roofing card. More information and
details of national training providers can
be found at www.lantra.co.uk.
A majority of the members of GRO
in its previous guise are staying with
it as it becomes a trade association.
However, the organisation is very much
open to new members who have a
professional interest in green roofs, be
it from a design, supply, or installation
perspective, and is now actively
recruiting new members.
Members will have the opportunity
to be involved with shaping future
guidance and legislation for the green
roof industry. As a trade association,
GRO expects to have a much larger
profile both within the wider
construction industry, as well as national
Officially launched on 6 June, 2020,
to coincide with World Green Roof Day,
GRO had to cancel a planned public
event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the event will be held at a later
date once conditions allow.
A separate launch event is also
planned in Manchester for 2021, and a
new GRO website is currently under
construction and will be launched soon.
For more information about GRO, visit
the website below.
roof on the
18 www.rcimag.co.uk June 2020