Happy New Year everyone, we hope you’re settling into the new term. As promised here is a post about flat roof maintenance. Whether you have a new roof or an old one, regular maintenance is essential to prolong its life and ensure that any problems don’t get out of hand.

Flat roof maintenance – Why is it important?

flat roof maintenance - grass

A well maintained roof won’t look like this

Flat roofs, by their nature, are easy to forget. Many of them don’t get seen in our day to day work, unlike furniture, floor coverings or windows. It isn’t hard for them to be out of sight, out of mind. However, if you want to keep your school warm and dry, there are a two major reasons why regular maintenance is essential.

1. Flat Roof Maintenance keeps the Guarantee Valid

If your roof has a guarantee, it will have a required maintenance regime. If you cannot demonstrate that the maintenance required has been carried out, your guarantee will be invalidated.

Keep a maintenance record so that you can demonstrate that regular maintenance has been carried out in accordance with the guarantee terms and the manufacturer’s advice. That way, if something does go wrong, you’ve done what is required and you’ll be protected.

2. Flat Roof Maintenance identifies Problems before they Grow

flat roof maintenance - blister

Not all damage is this visible!

As your roof ages, and even if it doesn’t have a guarantee, carrying out regular maintenance will allow you to keep an eye on the condition of the roof, and identify any problems before they cause major damage.

Small areas of damage to a flat roof could be fixed by patching or an “overlay” rather than a complete strip, which might be required if the roof is very damaged. An overlay will produce much less disruption to the school and if it can be done, is much more cost effective, as much less resource is required in terms of materials and labour. If you can spot a problem in time, considerable cost and disruption will be saved.

flat roof maintenance - football blockage

Footballs can cause blockages

Maintenance will allow you to keep the roof clear of debris.  Leaves, silt, even tree branches can land on a roof and get swept into the gutters causing blockages and back up. This can result in additional costs clearing the rainwater pipework.

In a school environment, it is also more likely that you’ll get footballs, tennis balls and other detritus ending up on the roof. If a leaf guard on a downpipe comes loose and one of these items gets stuck in the downpipe it can be difficult to clear, and cause backups and flooding. Much better to get this stuff off the roof regularly to avoid additional cost and disruption.

In summary, you wouldn’t buy a brand-new car and not have it serviced – a flat roof is just the same.

 

Before we go any further: Health and Safety

school flat roof maintenance

Even a roof in good condition is not a safe place to be

Being up on a roof is always risky, and flat roofs should be designed for maintenance, so that maintenance can be carried out safely and to minimize the risk of being on the roof. Nevertheless, going up on the roof isn’t a job for anyone who isn’t qualified or insured.

Your School Risk Assessment will identify that one of the obvious hazards is going up on the roof. A member of staff without proper training and qualifications should NEVER go on the roof. Instead, flat roof maintenance should always be carried out by a qualified and insured contractor.

In normal circumstances, the contractor who installed your flat roofs would carry out a maintenance regime. If you don’t have a contractor carrying out regular roof maintenance get in touch and we would be happy to recommend one of our DATAC accredited contractors in your area. Better safe than sorry.

How Often should you carry out Flat Roof Maintenance?

Roof maintenance should be carried out twice yearly – once in the Autumn and once in the Spring.

SIG Design and Technology Technical Services recommend that their built-up felt roofs and waterproofing systems are inspected and maintained in accordance with the guidelines given in British Standards BS8217:2005 Clause 10 & BS6229:2003 Annex B, which state as follows:

BS8217:2005 Clause 10 Maintenance and Repair

A flat roof, which has been designed and installed in accordance with the recommendations of this British Standard, can be expected to provide trouble-free service provided it is properly maintained.

BS6229:2003 Annex B.2

A flat roof should be routinely inspected every spring and autumn. The spring inspection may detect winter related roof damage. The autumn inspection should ensure that the roof is clear of leaves, debris, and dirt before the approach of winter.

Roofs in high-risk locations, those in areas subject to high dust or pollution, or in close proximity to trees, should be inspected more frequently.

SIG Design and Technology’s Flat Roof Maintenance Support

If one of our DATAC Accredited contractors installed your flat roof, we would have provided a maintenance guide. The guide covers all the areas required in the Standard BS6229:2003 Annex B including:

  • Surface condition
  • Membrane condition
  • Condition of the Substrate
  • Rainwater outlets
  • Upstand condition
  • Eaves/verge condition
  • Movement Joints
  • Abutments
  • Roof Fixtures and Penetrations, and
  • Bird guano, trees and other conditions.

The guide also provides advice on repairs, keeping a maintenance schedule, an inspection regime, cleaning and other advice.

We highly recommend the client takes out maintenance with the same contractor as that which installed the roof. This maintains your obligations under the guarantee but even more importantly, ensures a long and fully functioning, trouble free life for your flat roofing system.

If you have a question about flat roof maintenance do contact me I’ll be happy to help.

 

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About the author – Ian Dryden

Ian is an experienced specification manager with ten years working in flat roofing. He works with our technical team of surveyors, technicians and roofing specialists at SIG Design and Technology to deliver better flat roofs on schools across the country.