Performance guaranteed

Glass Times speaks to Ultraframe marketing director, Alex Hewitt, about how Ultraframe has achieved the new U-Values required by Building Regulations for solid roofs.

As we all know, the Building Regulations changed in June and there has been much work to do in sectors right across the industry to reach the new standards set for U-Values.

Within Ultraframe, a huge focus for us was reducing the (already low) U-Values on our Ultraroof and Livinroof solid roof systems to ensure that they met the new 0.15 W/(m²K) requirement.

Along with ensuring our roofs would meet the new standards, it was crucial to us that there would be no extra cost or installation steps for our installers, that the aesthetics of our roofs weren’t affected, and also that homeowners were guaranteed to get a product that would meet the new regulations. It was certainly a challenge but as always, our amazing R&D team rapidly delivered, and we are delighted with the solutions that we have already put into place for our Ultraroof and Livinroof solid roofs.

On our Ultraroof tiled roof, a new foil membrane is now applied to the Ultrapanel insulation panels during the manufacturing process to enhance the U-Value to a Building Regulation compliant U-Value of 0.15 W/(m²K). As this is applied by us at the point of manufacture, there is nothing additional for the installer to do, and because the new foil membrane is now an intrinsic part of the roof, we can be certain that every Ultraroof fitted will meet the new Building Regulation standards.

On our Livinroof hybrid roof, a new high performance phenolic insulation board is now being used to provide improved thermal performance and deliver a Building Regulation compliant U-Value of 0.15. As with our Ultraroof solution, this is a new component that will be incorporated into the product by us during the manufacturing process with no additional installation steps required for the fitter.

We believe that offering a solution in this way is the fair way to do things – the homeowner gets a Building Regulation compliant roof, and the installer doesn’t incur any additional work.

However, not all roofing manufacturers have prepared their roofs in this way.

Most have chosen a solution whereby additional components, such as extra layers of PIR (insulation), or timber are attached to the roof by the fitter – increasing the install time of each roof. Some designs demand higher specification plasterboard, and although some manufacturers supply the higher specification and extra components, other suppliers offer the option for the installer to source the additional components themselves.

As the fitting of these components adds an additional (and potentially awkward) installation step, and if it is not a part of the roof when delivered, there is a risk that fitters may skip this step and not install these vital extra components.

This means that homeowners may end up with a non-compliant roof and may not be any the wiser about this until they come to sell their home in the future. These extra layers in some solid roof products will also demand the use of windows packers as the roof is raised, incurring extra cost, raising flashing lines and disrupting the aesthetic of the roofline.

To add to the problem, some manufacturers are also now offering various solutions at different U-Values, some of which are not compliant. This makes life difficult for Building Inspectors and installers who now need to be able to distinguish between several different versions of these roofing systems in order to clarify that the compliant version is being used.

For those suppliers who have based their solution around higher spec insulated plasterboard on the interior of the roof, this adds complexity to an installation as this plasterboard is heavy and trying to install it can be awkward.

As regulations change again in the future and demand even lower U-Values from 2025, manufacturers offering extra layers of products or higher spec plasterboard as their solution will be left with nowhere to go in terms of a compliant solution. Additional plasterboard would be a ‘final resort’ solution – these roofs would keep getting thicker and heavier.

As you can see, while there has been much talk around the changes to the Building Regulations, the way that companies are declaring their products to be complaint is just as much of a hot topic – and one that could have serious consequences for those homeowners who buy from companies who choose to skip the additional installation steps now required for some competitor systems.

I’m extremely proud that both our Ultraroof and Livinroof solid roofs offer guaranteed compliance to the new regulations and do not impact negatively on installer customers or on the aesthetics of the roof.