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Hot works on school roofs spell trouble

Roofing

Hot work is clearly a known source of ignition and therefore has the potential to create a significant fire risk for any premises. As an example, sparks and molten material from hot work can be scattered more than 35 feet during welding, cutting and grinding. These sparks and slag are typically at a temperature above 1000°F when expelled from the hot work operations. At this temperature, materials such as paper, wood, flammable liquids, vapours, and many other combustibles can be easily ignited if they are in the vicinity of the hot work activities.

As well as the initial risks of ignition, hot work can be a cause of rapid fire spread. Reasons for this include:

  • Work being undertaken in areas with limited fire stopping (e.g. roof voids)
  • Sparks and slag falling through cracks and other floor openings, starting fires in hidden locations
  • Work being undertaken by persons with little knowledge and awareness of fire risks and precautions
  • Work being undertaken in higher risk environments (e.g. confined spaces)
  • Pipes or other metal with conductive heat igniting combustible walls, partitions, ceilings, roofs or other combustibles

BS 9999 recommends that hot work should only be undertaken if no satisfactory alternative method is feasible.
There are market-leading, innovative systems available in 2016 that are cold, liquid-applied, making use of robust and reinforced built-in membranes. This type of system can not only provide a much longer term of protection, but can also be installed with zero disruption to the activity in the building below and carries zero fire risk.

Why not make risky hot work a thing of the past?