Spring into Action with a Flat Roof Inspection
Spring has definitely sprung here in the UK (although you wouldn’t always think so when the skies are grey and gloomy) which means spring cleaning of all sorts is the order of the day. Any business owner with commercial premises will need to ensure that everything is in good condition and put right any damage caused by the ravages of winter. One of the areas that suffers the most during the winter months is the roof, especially the flat roofs that are often installed on commercial buildings. If you own premises with a flat roof, here are some tips on how to carry out a roof inspection.
The first step is to establish a plan for the roof inspection based on the features of the roof so that you know which areas of aspects of the roof should be examined for damage. The following five categories should help you to make sure that all areas of the roof are thoroughly inspected:
- Gutters, drains and scuppers – look for leaves or debris that may block the proper flow of water through these features. If water cannot drain efficiently, the roof may suffer serious damage due to standing water. Check seals around drainage features to ensure that water goes through the drain, rather than around it. Inspect any screens or strainers designed to prevent debris entering the drain and make sure they are clear.
- Rooftop units and penetrations - this includes vents, hatches, stacks and skylights – these should be inspected in a specific order to determine a path across the rooftop. The use of a fixed or removable rooftop walkway will enable safe access to areas that need inspection. Check all rain caps on stacks to ensure that they are watertight, check seams in roof units and check the area surrounding rooftop penetrations to ensure that no damage has occurred during installation or repairs.
- Surface area of the roof – look for any physical damage from tools, heavy objects, or excessive roof traffic. Any roof that requires regular access for maintenance of plant or machinery should feature a safe means of access, such as rooftop demarcation barriers that provide a safe route to the areas where equipment has been installed. Check the roofing material for blisters or separation between the roof layers.
- Flashings, roof edges, terminations, expansions and control joints – check the edge of the roof for cracks or splits. Examine metal flashing or expansion joints for damage and masonry walls should be checked for signs of water penetration or other deterioration.
- Plant, machinery and access equipment located on the roof - these areas may be particularly vulnerable, especially if they are accessed regularly for routine maintenance or repair work. A flat roof that houses plant or machinery should be equipped with a method of safe access to that area. This may include demarcation barriers that highlight the route to the machinery and prevent access to more vulnerable areas such as the roof edge.