Staying safe on low level flat roofing projects

Soni Sheimar, General Manager at Easi-Dec discusses how to ensure low level safety in RCI’s Issues & Solutions section.

The Issue

Roofing contractors understand the importance of retaining profits and remaining safe when working at height, but as we know, time equals money, so a safety system that will save them time and won’t cost them money in the long run is required.

This is particularly apparent on short term low level flat roofing projects, which require contractors to access the rooftop quickly to complete short duration works like repairing leaks or replacing a section of a roof.  These types of projects usually see contractors working on single garages or a collection of flat roof units.  They require safe access to the roof and the appropriate roof edge protection for while they are working at height.

More often than not, the safety system available to roofing contractors is scaffolding.

While this method has its advantages, for short term projects it can become more of a hindrance. It can sometimes be time-consuming to arrange and if you are a regular scaffold user you will know the problems around the removal of the scaffolding; it’s not always taken down as quickly as you need it to. Therefore forcing your client to complain to you or your principle contractor about the length of times it is taking for the removal of the scaffolding.

The Solution

A much better solution, in my view, is provided by using a dedicated Low Level Roof Access Platform System combined with edge protection specifically designed to allow you to work on the roof and sides of a building without moving the system. These systems provide continuous protection during repairs or inspection to specific areas of a flat roof, or whilst re-roofing work is being undertaken whilst complying with currently legislations.

This type of system typically incorporates a 2m wide access platform on adjustable legs with winged gates to provide wider roof edge protection to EN13374 Class C and safe access up onto the roof.  To ensure safety while on top of the roof, these structures also include Body-Guard Systems with extensions to adapt to different roof length whilst still complying with EN13374 Class A and a sturdier and safer demarcation handrail rather than just tape or chains.  These systems can accommodate different width roofs and can be installed as straight run to provide edge protection for specific roof areas, or connected at right angles around the perimeter of the roof for complete collective protection.

Due to its modular design, the system easily fits into place. The system is built on the ground and raised to the required working height and then fixed to the building.

These platforms can be easily transported in a transit type van. Manufactured from lightweight aluminium, this type of platform is also quick and easy to set up, take down, move to another location, and then re-assemble.  It can be installed and ready to start work in less than 15 minutes, a huge time saving advantage over traditional scaffolding.

Access platforms are a cost effective alternative to scaffolding. Comparisons have proven that if a contractor hires scaffolding at £250 and is planning to complete 40 projects per year, the annual cost will sit at £10,000, with a retained profit of £1,000. Completing the same number of projects with an Easi-Dec access platform system, with a one off purchase cost of £6,159, allows the contractor to benefit from a retained profit of £3,841 and an access system which can be re-used over many years meaning your profit could increase the next year to £10,000+.

Not only is this a thought-through solution for the roofing contractor, but this option also complies with the current relevant legislation.

By opting for a low level roof access system, in my view contractors have a fully certified, safe and stable platform that will also save time and money on site.

This article can be found on Page 34 of the November issue of RCI.