Roof barrier launches to help prevent spread of fire

Roof Defence extreme close up being installed on roof Fire barriers are an unseen, but very important, product when specifying a roof for terraced or semi-detached housing. When a roof is compartmentalised, fire stopping is required between the top of the party wall and the roof covering to prevent spread of flames and smoke between properties in case of fire.

However, separate reports from the BRE and BBC Watchdog raised concerns that some modern homes could have inadequate, incorrectly installed and, in some cases, no fire barriers at all. In terraced or semi-detached properties, this increases the risk that fire could spread rapidly through roof voids from one home to the next.

Why are fire barriers inadequate or incorrectly installed?

Fire stopping is often achieved with a flexible mineral fibre quilt or sock, but a potential fire passage still exists at the line of the roofing battens, above the rafters, which can span across the junction between properties. There are fire barrier products available on the market to close this gap but feedback from contractors suggests that these can be difficult to install. This means there is a risk that a fire barrier is specified but it may not be installed correctly, or might not be sufficient to fill the gap.

What is the solution?

We have launched Marley Roof Defence, a new, easy-to-install fire barrier which gives housing associations the confidence that the product they specify will be installed correctly and will effectively prevent the spread of fire from one property to the next. Achieving up to a 60-minute fire rating, Roof Defence can also be specified as a comprehensive fire barrier in

larger roofs, or as a fire break in expansive buildings with large footprints such as apartment blocks, schools, care homes, offices, and hospitals.

Roof Defence features two strips of intumescent material bonded at 90 degrees, with an inverted T design, that can simply be installed under tiles and between roof battens to close all gaps in the event of fire. When activated by heat, the inverted T intumescent seal expands, filling the space between roofing battens and sealing all gaps under the tiles, slates, and other roofing elements. The fire barrier is supplied on a compact roll for easy storage and handling and is available in 100mm width and 6.3 metre length.

Roof Defence has outperformed all fire testing requirements and fills every void from the party wall to the bottom tile, meaning smoke and fire cannot pass through.

Guaranteeing the safety of the whole roof

With ongoing reforms to the building safety regulatory system and increasing focus on accountability in the construction sector, inevitably there will be more scrutiny on roofing specifications over the coming years.

Recent reports about concealed fires in roof voids mean it is important for housing associations to have the reassurance they need when specifying fire barriers. However, they also need to consider this within the context of the safety and security of the whole pitched roof.

That’s why our new fire barrier can also be specified as part of our full pitched roof system, which includes tiles, battens, underlay, fixings, accessories and optional solar PV panels, all backed up with a 15-year guarantee. This provides housing associations with the peace of mind that every one of their roofs meets the highest quality and fire safety standards, reduces the risk of inferior or incompatible products being used and provides a single point of liability.

For the first time, housing associations are now able to specify a full pitched roof system from one manufacturer that will not only reduce the spread of fire and guarantee compliance with British Standards, but can also include integrated solar PV panels to help them meet new Part L carbon reduction targets.  

Category: Roofing Standards