How long can it be before the gas torch is banned from the flat-roofing industry?

Hot works in general have seen a drastic decline since the Center Parcs disaster in 2002. Insurance premiums rocketed and the success of fluid-applied membranes and certain single-ply membranes has flourished. Even the traditional hot works industries, such as bituminous membranes, have been frantically searching for different methods of attachments, using mechanical means and adhesives, and most of our national bitumen membrane manufacturers appear to have brought in a single-ply membrane and a liquid-applied system to support their ailing industry.

I know felt manufacturers will point to the fact that they have worked tremendously hard on safety, with the introduction of mechanically fixed systems and the use of fire-retardant membranes. The problem is that the membranes are only fire retardant after application and most, if not all, roof fires occur during application.

This letter was prompted by yet another roof fire that fortunately resulted in only one person being slightly injured, but it took more than 30 fire fighters to tackle the blaze and could have been much worse.

Do we really have to wait for fatalities, when there are good alternative waterproofing methods available?

Terry Wain, technical field services manager, Liquid Plastics