What are the safety considerations of a green roof?

Green roofs may be beautiful, bio diverse platforms for decorating your home in an eco-friendly manner, but there are safety considerations that must be adhered to when building or installing a green roof.

  • Construction regulations

Risk assessments are required by law when building a green roof, in order to identify and alleviate any potential risks that may occur during construction or maintenance.

  • Health and safety regulations

Legally, you are required to provide a safe working platform and fall protection for anyone who may be working on the roof during installation or maintenance.

Building a green roof requires the same stringent practices as building or installing a normal roof, as safety is tantamount to those living beneath it. This is why ensuring the safety of those working on the construction is vital to guarantee a perfect finished product.

Having fall protection in place allows for the entirety of the workforce to continue safe work practice, which is a requirement for all construction and maintenance sites that operate from a height.

What maintenance is needed?

The maintenance of green roofs should be performed regularly, and is different for each type of green roof:

Extensive roof maintenance – < 100mm low nutrition substrate

  • Irrigation: Irrigation for extensive green roofs should not be required, however, the water shortage capacity of the system and the water requirements of the plants must be accurately assessed.
  • Fertilisation: This type of green roof will usually have a low nutrient requirement, and will usually only need annual fertilisation – in spring – with a slow-release fertiliser.  
  • Plant management: It is important to remove unwanted plant species and fallen leaves twice each year, or as often as required.
  • General: Drainage outlets, shingle and gravel borders should be cleared of vegetation twice a year, or as often as needed

Intensive roof maintenance – 200mm + medium nutrition substrates and top soils

  • Irrigation: It is vital to perform regular irrigation of these roofs, dependant on plant specifications and the microclimatic and climatic conditions at roof level.
  • Fertilisation: This type of roof will most likely have a wider range of plants, vegetation and even trees, so use a more fertile growing medium and more regular fertilisation routine.
  • Plant management: Plant management and lawn maintenance – including hedges and borders – is a regular requirement. Undesirable vegetation and failed plants should be removed twice weekly.
  • General: Drainage outlet, shingle and gravel borders should be cleared twice yearly, and where excessive substrate has occurred, this should be replaced.