Building Regulations to Consider when Installing a Rooflight
A rooflight is a window installed within a pitched or flat roof in order to provide more light to rooms or spaces within both residential and commercial buildings. Although rooflights are primarily an aesthetic installation, in addition to improving the overall look of the building, it’s also important to ensure that the roof continues to work as required. Approval under Building Regulations will be needed for rooflights for the following reasons:
Roof structure generally requires altering in order to install a new rooflight and this alteration should meet building regulations to ensure that the structure is not compromised, and is safe for habitation. Installation usually involves cutting part of or one or more roof rafters or joists away, in order to make space for the rooflight. The roof should then be able to carry the new weight and if it is unable to do so, it will need to be strengthened.
Building regulations cover both internal and external fire spread which applies to the linings and coverings of both the roofs and walls of buildings. When specifying a rooflight, you must consider the materials used and ensure that they help to inhibit the spread of fire to not only protect occupants inside but to stop the fire from spreading across properties.
In addition, correctly fitted rooflights should not impact on the structural integrity of the building, which means, in the event of a fire, the building should not collapse prematurely.
If a rooflight is above or forms part of an escape route, the design and materials used must be carefully considered. If the rooflight is acrylic the material could easily ignite and cause burning droplets to fall on the escape route. At Xtralite, we provide glass glazing materials which have a fire rating up to one hour so are more suited if the rooflight is part of an escape route.
The final part of fire safety related to rooflights is aiding the emergency services in fighting the fire and rescuing occupants. There are mixed opinions on the role of rooflights in this case. The use of polycarbonate can aid escape by melting and therefore producing a vent for the hot and toxic fumes from the fire. The material you choose to comply with fire safety will depend on the location and use of the rooflight. Our expert team can provide advice and guidance to ensure that you specify the correct rooflight for every situation.
When installing any rooflight, the energy efficiency of the structure and materials should be considered. Rooflights for both residential and commercial buildings should be designed using materials which will take steps to reduce the amount of heat lost through the glazing and structure. Remember that limiting heat loss during the colder months is just as important as preventing a greenhouse effect in the warmer months.
Although rooflights should be aesthetically pleasing, they should also bear in mind the comfort and costs to the occupants of the building. An inefficient rooflight will cause sky-high energy bills. Our materials are resistant to UV rays from the sun and will prevent heat from penetrating through the rooflight. On the other hand, our materials also help to keep heat inside the building. At Xtralite, we provide advice to help you specify the right material after considering the needs of the building.