Safe2Torch – Specification Guidance for Icopal TorchSafe Torch free detailing

NFRC Safe2Torch – Specification Guidance for Icopal TorchSafe Torch free detailing

Icopal is a registered member of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Safe2Torch campaign. Icopal’s TorchSafe design and specification service reduces the risk of roof fires when using gas torches on roofs. 

Below you can find guidance for contractors and specifiers on how to meet the goals and objectives of the NFRC Safe2Torch campaign

  • Safety Through Considered Design

    Responsibility resides with all parties involved in a construction project. Whether it is a specification writer or a contractor, a person has a duty of care to assess the hazards and health and safety issues associated with a product or the works, and to design out, or greatly reduce so far as is reasonably practicable, any risk involved in its implementation. This responsibility is highlighted under the Construction Design and Management Regulation (CDM) guidance, which states:

    “The person who selects products for use in construction is a designer and must take account of health and safety issues arising from their use. If a product is purpose-built, the person who prepares the specification is a designer, and so are manufacturers if they develop a detailed design.

    As a manufacturer, Icopal understands these responsibilities, and is committed to advocating safety best practice principles through our products and their application, and in providing a roof survey and specification service, promote safe installation methodology with our approved contractors and in accordance with the NFRC Safe2Torch campaign.

    Our technical service offers comprehensive project support throughout the whole design and consultation process. Our team of Technical Managers are committed to providing the most appropriate solution for the project at hand, one which is both practical and cost effective.

    The Area Technical Manager will undertake a detailed roof survey and produce a roof condition report with photographic record, and will highlight those at-risk areas if a gas torch was to be used. A recommended course of action will then be provided.

    Consultation and Site Survey

    Our experienced team of Area Technical Managers are on hand to offer professional advice:

    • The appropriate design for the roof build-up and building use, and a recommendation of the correct waterproofing system and interface detailing.
    • Detailed existing site surveys, including photographic record.
    • Clear identification of risk zones.
    • Core samples and moisture content readings.
    • Rooflight replacement programme.


    A bespoke specification will be provided and will specify the best waterproofing to suit the type of project, needs and budget, and may include detail drawings, tapered insulation schemes, thermal and condensation analysis, drainage and wind uplift calculations.

    To discuss your project in more detail or to obtain a bespoke specification please contact a Local Icopal Area Manager .

    Alternatively our head office technical support team can be contacted on:  0161 865 4444 or by email at


  • Safe2Torch Campaign & Safety Checklist


    Safe2Torch is a National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) campaign developed in partnership with contractor and manufacturer members of the NFRC, which seeks to significantly reduce the risk of roof fires when using gas torches, either to dry out roofs or when used to install torch-on membranes.

    The NFRC estimates that the campaign will affect at least 50% of the flat roofs installed in the UK.

    The Safe2Torch campaign promotes the positive side of the industry, where safe specifications and safe working practices are second nature. It will give clients assurance that if they engage with a Safe2Torch Contractor and/or Manufacturer, their roof works will have been planned and installed within the requirements of the Safe2Torch guidance.

    As an Safe2Torch Registered Member Icopal are committed to:

    • Highlighting and reporting specifications which do not conform to Safe2Torch
    • Identifying and reducing the risk of roof fires caused by gas torches
    • Ensuring all employees are trained in the use of gas torches and their associated risks
    • Ensuring all supervisors or charge hands have completed the Safe2Torch checklist prior to hot works commencing


    What are the main points?

    Those who create risks have a responsibility to manage those risks – placing the ownership of potential fire risks in the right place is the main message of Safe2Torch.

    The Safe2Torch campaign is designed to support specification writers to comply with the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, and ties in with the HSE’s led ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ strategy which promotes a safer and healthier working environment.

    For more information on the Safe2Torch campaign, visit the NFRC website at

    Safety Checklist

    It is recommended that anyone preparing a specification should refer to the Safe2Torch Checklist for any identified items and use of a direct torch-on application and use a TorchSafe™ solution.


    • Expansion joints with voids and/or combustible fillers
    • Fibreboard or timber fillets
    • Detail under abutments to roof tiles, slates and thatch
    • Detail under cladding/rendering
    • All abutments with open cavities (open perpends)
    • All timber substrates
    • Change in level details with fixed timber or plastic fascias and/or all soffits, gutters or restricted spaces
    • Window sills and frames, door sills, louvered vents, air ducts, intakes and outtakes
    • Junctions to existing waterproofing with flammable insulation/ deck materials
    • Vulnerable plastic curbs, domes, pipes, etc
    • Working while in close proximity to potentially flammable coatings


    Decks and insulation

    • Timber / Other combustible materials
    • Metal deck (refurbishment) where old materials may accumulate in the troughs
    • Insulation - unless specifically designed and tested for use with torch-on membranes


    Existing weathering components with concealed flammable materials. These include:

    • Timber, DPC or sarking membranes beneath fixed metal capping systems
    • Existing kitchen extraction plant coated in oils or fats
    • Flammable wrapping to trunking/ducting
    • Timber cladding
    • Existing metal or plastic copings/cappings


    It is always the responsibility of the contractor to carry out a risk assessment on all aspects of the contract. This guidance is solely to provide assistance in the assessment of the risks at specification stage.

  • Safety Through Responsible Specification

    It is essential to ensure all fire risks are identified as far as reasonably possible at the survey stage and factored into the specification as it is written. This means that where any fire risk has been identified or, just as importantly, where it cannot be ruled out, that the relevant parts of that specification must default to TorchSafe™ . Sometimes the risk may not be fully known until work begins (e.g. while uncovering an area on a refurbishment project) and the roofing contractor will be able to evaluate the risks and adapt as work proceeds. If, subsequently, it can be demonstrated that an area is safe then the specification can, if agreed between all parties, revert to torch application.

    The images below are examples of elements which may be present on a roof which are deemed to be vulnerable, and where a TorchSafe™ solution should be specified from the outset. Our area technical managers will conduct a pre specification check to identify potential risk areas and TorchSafe™ zones. Other pre-work checks should include an assessment of the substrate – under no circumstances should a torch be applied direct to a timber roof deck or timber upstands, including timber fillets, even if the substrate has been treated with a bituminous primer.

    vertical tile hanging   roof lanterns   rooflight kerbs upstands
    Vertical hanging tiles   Roof lanterns   Rooflight kerbs and upstands
    open perpends   wall cladding   timber-upstands
    Open perpends   Wall cladding   Timber upstands
    pitched roof abutments   timber-decks    
    Pitched roof abutments   Timber decks    

    Roof Survey Plan

    Roof plans showing the Safe and At-Risk zones will be provided allowing our survey information to be combined with risk assessments carried out by other parties to allow the project team to communicate project risks, to highlight any potential issues and to design out any risks, for example by changing the sequence of build, prior to the start of work.

    safe2torch roof survey plan

    green-zone Safe To Torch Zone - Normal, safe, torch- on application permitted.
    red-zone At Risk Zone - Areas highlighted with flammable or vulnerable detailing
  • Safety Through Application


    Exclusion Zones

    A torch-free exclusion zone should be created a minimum 900mm from all areas considered at risk due to being constructed from combustible materials, or adjacent to details where there is a risk of fire due to debris or other flammable hazards.

    Example: Refurbishment at existing pitched roof abutment


    TorchSafe™ Detailing Principles

    Within the exclusion zone, detailing work can be completed using a combination of Thermically Activated membranes allowing combustible and sensitive substrates and details to be covered “cold” using hot-air welding techniques to encapsulate and protect the combustible materials keeping all surfaces free from fire risk during application and enable risk-free application of torch on membranes. In situations where the risk with a naked flame is still present, for example adjacent to existing pitched tiled roof areas or wall cladding, a completely TorchSafe™ flame- free application is available, utilising T.A. membranes for the VCL, underlay and the capsheet and using hot-air welding and solvent-free waterproof adhesive to form secure and watertight flashings. Alternatively, detailing with an Icopal cold-applied liquid system may be utilised.

    If a completely flame-free system is required, the FireSmart TorchSafe M.A. system is available which can be secured using membrane adhesive or mechanically fastening, in conjunction with hot-air welded overlaps and flame-free, thermically-activated self-adhesive detailing membranes.


    TorchSafe™ membranes are suitable for new build or refurbishment projects, offer the durability and flexibility of traditional reinforced built up bitumen waterproofing with the benefit of safer application and speed of installation. Utilising the latest development in bitumen technology, TorchSafe™ combines the use of self-adhesive membranes, hot air welding and solvent-free adhesives to create flame-free application methods to satisfy the most stringent site safety conditions.

    The development of Anderson Thermically Activated (T.A.) and self-adhesive bitumen has been a significant development in bitumen membrane technology,

    System Benefits

    • Flame-free self-adhesive membranes available for VCL, underlay and capsheet layers
    • Flame-Free application methods - reduces risk for contractors, and clients alike
    • Clean & safe installation


    Key Features

    • Self-adhesive side laps protect combustible substrates during installation
    • Low melt bitumen – Hot air welded
    • Wide range of choice of capsheet to suit budget and performance requirements
    • Adhered or Mechanically fixed waterproofing options
    • FireSmart capsheet options available
    • Excellent durability & flexibility
    • BBA approval 



  • Download Guidance Document

    download pdf TorchSafe™ Detailing Guidance Document for Reinforced Bitumen Waterproofing (ICO3394)
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