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Glass Rooflight Safety Standards

Not only do they look great, installing glass rooflights can dramatically improve the natural daylight, ventilation and thermal efficiency of your building; not to mention the added environmental benefits. If your home or office has rooflights installed, it’s worth giving them a little care and attention to keep them looking and working their best.

As a relatively ‘fit and forget’ installation, roof lights are perfect for busy workplaces, but, as with all commercial property, it pays to be aware of up to date legislation and regulations.

Although HSEstates that ‘’Working on a roof can be dangerous. Falls account for more deaths and serious injuries in construction than anything else and roofers account for 24% – the biggest category of worker by far – of those people who are killed in all falls from height”. it’s critical that we remember the hazards are not restricted to those working on sites and can lead to injuries to maintenance workers, surveyors, or even the public. Those who are accessing the roof for maintenance or surveys won’t necessarily be trained roofers therefore may not be aware of all the risks.

Maintaining Glass Rooflights

Glass is used throughout buildings for its optical clarity, longevity and structural properties; it can provide natural light into rooms where privacy is required. Although rooflights don’t require a huge amount of maintenance it is important that they’re well looked after to keep them at their best and reduce risks to anyone who may need to access the roof.

One of the aspects to look out for is leaks; these will become apparent when it rains and are typically caused by damage or deterioration. In order to keep your roof safe, and your glass rooflight looking great you will need an expert installer to fix the issue. Generally, the maintenance will need to be carried out every 6-12 months.

Glass rooflights must be installed by a competent installer and regularly maintained to manufacturer guidelines. This will ensure safety and that the guarantee is still valid. As well as this, if at any point the rooflight is damaged, inspection and repair is extremely important. Contact the Xtralite Installation Team if you require further information or assistance.

Look for accreditations such as NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) and NARM (National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers) when searching for rooflight maintenance companies.

The importance of keeping Glass Rooflights clean

Rooflights are always at risk of bird droppings, tree sap, moss, vehicle pollution and rainwater. Condensation can also become a problem due to heat rising in humid rooms, understandably, this makes keeping glass rooflights clean a common concern.

It is recommended to manually clean the interior and exterior of your rooflight every six months. Although this may not seem like a major issue, more of an aesthetic problem, it can lead to dangerous situations. There may be a need for workers to be able to access the roof for maintenance and unclean rooflights can become difficult to see. This recently caused issues for a Yorkshire company after two workers were injured after ‘workers had not realised that the roof contained roof lights, which were not visible due to a build-up of moss and dirt’ (Health + Safety At Work) showing the importance of regular cleaning and maintenance.

How to clean the interior of your glass rooflights

 

When cleaning your glass rooflights the first step is to move any furniture out of the way; this will minimise the risk of dirt and spills damaging the furniture. For further protection, you could also spread some plastic sheeting to avoid damage to flooring. Then you can begin to dust the rooflight, eliminating any loose dirt and cobwebs. When cleaning the glass, you should only use warm soapy water, or glass cleaning products. Always avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners because these are not suitable for glass surfaces. The rooflight can be dried using a soft, lint-free cloth; this will give the glass a lovely and clean, streak-free finish.

How to clean the exterior of your glass rooflights

We would never recommend cleaning the exterior of your own rooflight for safety reasons, however if you are confident in working at height and need to clean the exterior of your rooflight you must ensure that you have access to a specialist roof ladder for safe access to the rooflight. At no point should you stand or lean on the rooflight unit. When cleaning the glass, you should only use warm soapy water, or glass cleaning products. The best way to do this is by adding mild detergent to a bucket and carrying the bucket to the roof before adding the warm water from a hosepipe. Always avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners because these are not suitable for glass surfaces. Once the rooflight and its surrounding fixings are all clean, you can then wipe dry with a soft lint-free cloth. Contact Xtralitefor advice or to arrange a rooflight maintenance check.

Regulations and Legislations for Glass Rooflights

At Xtralite Rooflights we have a team of extremely knowledgeable consultants, designers, installers and manufacturers who can provide expert advice, every step of the way, including aftercare of your rooflight. Xtralite can answer any questions you may have regarding the specific regulations and legislations. We now also cover the maintenance of your glass rooflight and can follow out any tests or inspections ensure safety and compliance.

Approved Document B

Approved Document Bis in relation to fire safety and places certain limitations around the use of rooflights. This document outlines which glazing materials can be used on certain buildings, which will vary dependant on the building and rooflight size, the use of the area below the rooflights, and the total roof area etc. The most relevant information can be found in Approved Document B, Volume 1(Sections 3 and 10) and Approved Document B, Volume 2(Sections 6, 12 and 13).

Approved Document E

Approved Document Eis in relation to the resistance of sound and sound insulation. The aim of this document is to limit noise disturbance for surrounding homes by including sufficient acoustic properties and insulation in areas. Glass rooflights should perform in accordance with these requirements.

Approved Document F

Approved Document Fis in relation to the ventilation requirements to maintain indoor air quality. This document outlines the minimum requirements which are set for all ventilation types, including extract. Rooflights often help buildings in being compliant with this document, especially when there are no other means of external aperture.

Approved Document L

Approved Document Lis in relation to the energy performance of new and existing buildings. This document is split in to four distinct publications and aims to set requirements for materials and workmanship as well as CE Marking, British Standards and more. However, we still suggest checking any proposals with the relevant control body. Xtralite Rooflights have all had extensive testing to be compliant with these standards.

Approved Document L1Acovers the conservation of fuel and power in new dwellings. Whereas Approved Document L2Acovers the conservation of fuel and power in all other new buildings. These documents include the requirements set on the design standards such as the Target CO2 emission rate, secondary heating and internal lighting. The document also gives guidance on the limit of solar gains throughout summer. Due to extended daylight hours and higher temperatures, the inside of a building can become extremely warm and this is referred to as solar heat gain. In order to reduce this, solar control glass can be used. Solar control glass has been developed to reflect heat and reduce glare; this reduces the need for air-conditioning systems and therefore reduces the amount of CO2 emissions it gives out.


Generally, research shows that a rooflight area of 15-20% is most beneficial in reducing CO2 emissions. However, this will vary depending on the size and design of the building. More often than not, artificial lighting will actually consume more energy than heating does, making rooflights an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative in most cases. According to NARM; ‘rooflights provide three times more light than the same area of vertical glazing.’ Even in buildings where artificial lighting is controlled by sensors, rooflights can still lead to a significant reduction in energy used. In relation to glass rooflights in particular, NARM has stated ‘Glass has excellent fire properties, good impact performance, very high light transmission and provides the mark against which the optical clarity of all other glazing media is commonly compared.


Other Standards relating to rooflights

BS 6229

The British Standard 6229 was set in 1982; this is the code of practice put in place for flat roofs with continuously supported flexible waterproof coverings. Rooflights are required to raise the mat least 150mm above the uppermost roof surface to which the roof covering is bonded or dressed.

BRE-BR443
There are various standards covering the calculation of U-values. These documents are put together to be used as guidance and provide the methods of calculations that are suitable for different building elements. The U-value conventions were originally published in 2002 and the 2006 edition is an update which provides additional information and reflects changes in the underlying British Standards. More information regarding BR443 can be found on the BRE (Building Research Establishment) website.

There is also a wide range of laws relevant to roof work safety, some of which will apply to rooflights more than others. The principal elements are:

For further advice on safety regulations and rooflight maintenance, please contact Xtralite.