What is Safe2Torch?

Safe2Torch is the new NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) backed strategy to reduce the risk of roof fires when using gas torches to either dry the roof or install systems on roofs by introducing a risk assessment strategy.

It is designed to support specification writers in complying with the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, the Safe2Torch strategy is therefore important for anyone involved in the design, specification and installation of roofing in the UK.

Why Safe2Torch is important

The NFRC states that Safe2Torch will affect at least 50% of all flat roofs installed in the UK, as hot works are so dominate in our industry. “Hot works” include drying substrate, cutting, grinding and welding, torch on roofing and bitumen boilers. 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 believes that they “pose a threat to even the long-term future of torch-on as an accepted method of covering a roof.” 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. To assist in the implementation of this new strategy, the NFRC have produced a guidance document, a checklist and a ‘Safe2Torch Pledge’ to which designers and installers can commit.

Safe2Torch Guidance

Safe2Torch have a free guide on there website. The guide includes a checklist that should be completed by anyone preparing a specification where hot works may be included. The checklist sets out a range of circumstances in which direct torch-on applications should be avoided, and the also offers a range of alternative applications to use.

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. OptiTec Ltd is a Safe2Torch Registered Member, and has signed up to 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.

As we are also roofing designers and operators of an accredited contractor scheme, we require all our approved contractors to sign up to the Safe2Torch Pledge in their own right;

  • Introduce training to approved contractors to ensure they are aware of the risks of hot works, and provide support and advice to specifiers with whom we work.

What Architects can do about Safe2Torch

As a designer, you will be familiar with your responsibilities under the CDM Regs 2015. ThenSafe2Torch guidance should help you ensure your responsibilities regarding roof design and hot works are fulfilled.
The simplest way to do this would be to use a deck-up roofing package designer that is a Safe2Torch Registered Member to design your roofs. OptiTec Ltd offer a free complete design, product selection, accredited contractor system, inspection and guarantee service to clients and
specifiers, so there is no need to worry about additional cost.