ROOFING & CLADDING
21ST CENTURY SAFETY
Way back in the early 1900s,
Chris Pearce, safety representative for the National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers (NARM) and
founder member of the Advisory Committee for Roofsafety (ACR) looks at the evolution of roof safety and
the contribution of the rooflight sector.
JUNE 2018 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 33
industrial and commercial
buildings were being roofed
with new asbestos cement (AC)
corrugated sheets. There was no requirement to
make the sheets safe to walk on, and for clarity,
they were made as ‘fragile’ roof sheets with
instructions not to be walked on. In the 1950s
translucent profiled rooflights were introduced
that matched the corrugations of the AC sheets.
They were also manufactured as ‘fragile’ sheets to
match the surrounding roof.
It was not until the mid 1990s that the Health
and Safety Executive (HSE) stated that it wanted
all roofing products to be manufactured to be
‘non-fragile’ when fixed. However, it did not
‘Test for Non-fragility of Large Element Roofing
define ‘non-fragile’, so the rooflight industry
Assemblies’. From the year 2000, most UK
started discussions with the HSE to establish
industrial roofing has been designed to be nonfragile
a universal test, that could be carried out by
and it should be recognised that it was the
manufacturers of roofing products, to ensure the
safety and non-fragility of a roof.
All trade bodies associated with the
manufacture of roofs and their components
formed an organisation called the Advisory
Committee for Roofsafety (ACR). It took its lead
from the HSE, which specified the performance
it required for a worker on the roof to stumble
and fall onto the roof, without falling through it.
A test rig was designed and the full details of the
test stated in the ACR ‘Red Book’ ACR (M)001 Continued on page 34 >>>
UK rooflight industry that started this process.
It should also be recognised that most roofing
components have been improved and not just the
rooflights. Asbestos cement sheets have evolved
and are now manufactured from fibre cement
with reinforcement strips. Metal profiled sheets
and metal lining panels are made thicker and
stronger, and profiled rooflights are now generally
stronger, and can be made as strong as the metal