New Guidance on Fire Regulations for Flat Roofing 2021

Aug 4, 2021 Off Comments in News by
New Guidance on Fire Regulations for Flat Roofing 2021

Three trade associations representing the flat roofing industry have released joint guidance in response to recent changes in fire safety legislation.

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) and the Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LWRA) have joined forces to develop the guide, which is aimed at all those involved in specifying and designing flat roofing and waterproofing systems. The guide contains important information which roofing contractors should also be aware of.

The guidance follows dialogue with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) over the amendments of Approved Document B(ADB) of the Building Regulations, which was amended in 2019 following the government ban on combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings in England.

ADB now states that any products with membranes forming part of external walls on high rise residential buildings need to meet the BS EN 13501-1 fire class requirements and achieve a result that deems them non-combustible. However, this has caused some issues to be raised with regard to the practical installation of flat roofing and waterproofing.

The guidance therefore sets out the changes to the fire safety legislation, and addresses questions that have been raised regarding the implications of the new regulations on flat roofing and waterproofing membranes.

What are ‘Relevant Buildings’?

The guidance applies specifically to what are now known as ‘Relevant Buildings’. Relevant buildings include those containing dwellings or a residential room where there is a storey at least 18m above ground level, for example:

  • student accommodation
  • care homes
  • sheltered housing
  • hospitals
  • school dormitories.

The scope of the guidance is currently under review, including the height at which the combustible material ban applies.

Structure of the Guidance

The short document (only six pages) is set out in the following sections:

  • The definition of ‘External Walls’
  • The definition of ‘Specified Attachments’
  • Fire Classifications for roof systems – ADB now principally refers to the European Class.
  • External Walls which roofs connect to, including 150mm upstands terminating waterproofing up an external wall, and thermal breaks
  • Further information about ‘Specified Attachments’ including how to distinguish Flat Roofs and Balconies and waterproofing membranes for use on balconies.

We encourage you to take the time to download and read the guidance, which you can do free of charge here from the NFRC website.