Safe Access Is Crucial When Working On Roofs
Safe working on a roof is not an add on to roofing work. It’s an essential. Whilst a roof repair can look simple, if it has to be carried out at roof height then safe access is needed. A job that can be done in a couple of hours for £100 at ground level may cost £500-£600 at roof level, as rigid scaffolding needs to be built to allow workers to safely access the area of the roof to repair. The good news for those living in bungalows is that you can expect much lower roof repair costs than those of us living in two or three storey houses.For most roofing work an access platform will be required. A ladder can be used in some circumstances for small scale work. As a guide this is where:
- Work will take a maximum of 30 minutes
- Work does not involve lifting more than 10kg
- You can maintain three points of contact (hands and feet) at the working position
- The ladder is on firm ground and can be secured
See the full guidelines on the Safe use of ladders and stepladders PDF from the HSE. As a reminder on why this is important: a third of all reported fall-from-height incidents involve ladders and stepladders – on average this accounts for 14 deaths and 1200 major injuries to workers each year.
A reputable roofing companies will ensure that their workers are safe when working. The Work At Heights Regulations cover the key aspects of this for those interested. It’s fair to say that access costs are going to be a key element of roof repairs for a two or more storey house if it involves anything other than a few minutes work . Broad costs for access via scaffolding are:
- £150 for a small access tower for very limited repairs
- £500-£600 for a larger tower with rigid scaffolding for access to a larger area
- £1,500-£3,000 for full scaffolding round a house (depending on size of house) for full access to the whole roof
Whatever level of work you plan to have done, it’s generally best to have it all done at once to minimise the scaffolding costs. Every site is likely to have its own challenges and requirements but the above prices should give an indication of what scaffolding will cost. The cost of scaffolding includes the labour to deliver it, assemble it and take it down. So hiring a large tower and then having to move it five or six times isn’t necessarily going to be cheaper than full scaffolding. It’s better to think about the total area of the roof to be worked on.