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Safe2Torch – A Guide for Clients

Safe2Torch is a risk assessment strategy instigated by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), which aims to reduce the risk of roof fires when using gas torches on roofs. AccuRoof (as AccuRoof) were one of the first NFRC members to sign up to the campaign.

Why do clients need to be concerned about Safe2Torch?

Torch on roofing is a long established and high-quality product which is used extensively across the country, but the associated fire risk has always been a concern. A number of fires in recent years being put down to have reportedly been caused by the poor use of naked flames or other ‘hot works’ on roofing projects. 

The NFRC states that hot works (naked flames, sparks and hot materials) are used in at least 50 percent of all flat roofs installed in the UK. 

Roof fires caused by hot works currently pose a serious threat to life, property and the image of the industry.  Kevin Taylor, Head of Technical Services at NFRC, also stated that they “pose a threat to even the long-term future of torch-on as an accepted method of covering a roof.” 

Safe2Torch overcomes these issues by making the process of removing risk simple and easy to follow. 

How Safe2Torch works

Safe2Torch is designed to confirm that where there is a fire risk (or a fire risk cannot be ruled out) designers and installers will default to torch-free solutions and revert to torch application only if it is proven safe and agreed between all parties.

Safe2Torch also fits into existing risk assessment systems. It is designed to support specification writers in complying with the  Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, which state that,

“The person who selects products for use in construction is a designer and must take account of health and safety issues arising from their use. If a product is purpose-built, the person who prepares the specification is a designer and so are manufacturers, if they develop a detailed design.”

The Safe2Torch strategy is therefore important for anyone involved in the design, specification, and installation of roofing in the UK.

To assist in the implementation of the strategy, the NFRC have produced a guidance document, a checklist and a ‘Safe2Torch Pledge’ to which designers and installers can commit.

Ask your architect to ensure that roofing package designers, manufacturers and roofing contractors are signed up to the Safe2Torch Pledge, and use the Safe2Torch guidelines on your project.

The Safe2Torch Pledge

As part of their campaign to spread the use of the Safe2Torch guidance, the NFRC has urged all designers and installers to sign the Safe2Torch pledge.

AccuRoof signed up to the Safe2Torch campaign in 2017 and is a registered Safe2Torch member.

The Safe2Torch pledge which states that we will:

  • Highlight and report specifications which do not conform to Safe2Torch;
  • Identify and reduce the risk of roof fires caused by gas torches;
  • Ensure all employees are trained in the use of gas torches and their associated risks;
  • Ensure all supervisors or charge hands have completed the Safe2Torch checklist prior to hot works commencing.

How AccuRoof implements Safe2Torch

As roofing designers and operators of an AccuRoof Certified Installer Scheme (ACIS), AccuRoof has also pledged to:

  • Require all our ACIS contractors to sign up to the Safe2Torch Pledge in their own right;
  • Introduce training to ACIS contractors;
  • Provide support and advice to specifiers with whom we work.

Our long-standing relationships with manufacturers help us provide the most up-to-date product-related advice to specifiers and our contractor network. When necessary, we can offer products that require no hot works, such as cold applied waterproofing systems, single ply systems and so on. 

We follow the Safe2Torch approach to when using torch-free alternatives should be considered. In our roofing surveys we will identify risk areas and highlight areas which are not Safe2Torch using a Safe2Torch roof plan. 

Safe2Torch procedures are part of our ACIS contractor training if you work with our ACIS members, you’ll know theyre Safe2Torch registered. We require ACIS installers to sign up to the Safe2Torch Pledge as part of their accreditation. 

When our contractors carry out hot works to our designs, they will follow the guidance and best practice for using the equipment and use non-hot works methods for protecting and drying roofs. 

Find out more

The NFRC has a microsite about its Safe2Torch campaign together with a range of resources including general guidance, checklists and the Safe2Torch System of Works for Gas Torches.

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