Green roofs for life


Courtesy of Latchways PLC

The planning system, at both local and national levels, is now being used to expand use of green roofs in towns and cities. This policy recognises important benefits including biodiversity, pollution and CO2 removal, thermal insulation and mass, protection of the roof covering and making our cities more attractive places. Measures are also in place requiring sustainable drainage systems (SUDS), of which green roofs form an important part, to address the growing problem of flooding.

With the resulting growth in the use of green roofs, understanding maintenance requirements and designing-in provision for safe access is vital. 'Extensive’ green roofs use a lightweight growing medium with self-sustaining planting, such as the popular Sedum covering or wild flowers, and are not generally accessible to building occupiers. However, all extensive green roofs require full access over the whole planted area for a range of tasks at least twice a year.

With contributions from other organisations and experts directly involved with green roofs, Latchways has published an important guidance document on designing—in safe access and maintenance for green roofs ‘Living roofs for life’.

As with other situations, ‘collective’ fall protection solutions are preferred and Latchways’ new, lightweight aluminium VersiRail system of guardrails is ideal, offering straight, curved or inclined uprights, as well as a folding upright version which can be concealed from below when not in use. Versirail can also contain designated access ways for more frequent use—for example to services, antennae, photovoltaic zones or wind turbines—in conjunction with WalkSafe range of access walkways which provide a flat, anti-slip walking surface.

However, there may be architectural, technical, cost and other reasons why collective solutions are not suitable for perimeter protection of green roofs. Here, cable-based fall restraint or fall arrest systems using Latchways’ patented Constant Force post offer the least invasive solution. Latchways systems have been specifically designed for, and tested in conjunction with, each particular roofing system—and endorsed by major roofing system manufacturers.

Latchways offers an expert design service to meet the specific requirements of project architects and demands of safety legislation.

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