- In Canada, roofing codes and regulations are in place to ensure that new buildings and renovations are properly constructed to protect the safety of those who live in them.
- The Province of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act (2022) is designed to protect workers from workplace hazards and requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required for working safely on roofs, including hard hats, safety glasses, fall protection gear, and appropriate clothing.
In Canada, roofing codes and regulations are in place to ensure that new buildings and renovations are properly constructed to protect the safety of those who live in them.
These regulations, determined by the local building authority or municipality, cover everything from minimum roof slope to wind resistance requirements.
This article will cover the importance of regulations and safety when building roofs in Alberta, Canada, and provide an overview of the different types of roofs regulated by building codes:
Province of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act (in effect December 1, 2021)
The Province of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act (2021) is designed to protect workers from workplace hazards.
The act requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees, free from physical and mental harm and any potential risks related to any hazardous materials or substances used in the workplace. – Sokol Preka
Employers are required to create policies that ensure the safety of their workers, providing detailed instructions about how to safely use any machinery or equipment in the workplace. Furthermore, employers should also provide adequate protective clothing, such as hard hats and safety glasses, and ensure that any potentially hazardous areas are marked with signs.
Additionally, employers must ensure that all workers receive proper training on how to stay safe while at work.
The legislation also outlines specific measures employers must take to protect their workers. That includes illness and injury due to hazardous substances or materials in the workplace.
For example, employers must conduct regular health and safety inspections of their premises, identify potential sources of harm or danger and take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate them.
- Provide appropriate medical surveillance programs for workers exposed to hazardous substances
- Develop emergency response plans
- Maintain written records of safety violations
- Investigate accidents
- Implement prevention programs
- Document complaints and investigations
- Provide regular first aid training for employees if needed
Finally, they must ensure that all employees have access to information about occupational health and safety rights under the law.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Working Safely on Roofs
Protecting roofers from falls and other workplace hazards is paramount. Roofing is a dangerous occupation that requires a great deal of precision and caution.
It is not well known, but many roofers face the risk of severe burns, cuts, abrasions, eye injuries, or falls from heights every single day. – Sokol Preka
As a result, roofers are required by law and industry standards to wear personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, and fall protection gear.
According to RoofingCanada.com, there is basic protective equipment used by roofers and clothing regulations that roofers must follow.
For example, roofers must wear cuffless trousers to prevent tripping but long enough to extend over the work boot. Their shirts must also be long-sleeved and buttoned.
They must also wear gloves with snug-fitting cuffs at the wrist. This prevents frostbite during winter while keeping their hands safe when handling hot materials. Gloves can also protect skin when working with sharp or abrasive materials.
Boots should be high-cut and have heavy-duty toe and sole protection. They usually have to be CSA-approved styles and will most likely be checked by the company the roofer works for.
“CSA approved hard hats, as defined in CSA Z94.1 Industrial Protective Headwear – Performance, Selection, Care and Use, must be worn at all times on a construction site.” – roofingcanada.com
Hard hats are a great way to keep roofers safe while onsite. Most laws require that construction workers wear them. This is because roofers could fall, have something heavy fall onto them, or hit their heads on low-hanging beams or structures.
Hard hats are also supposed to reduce electrical shocks. A hard hat can reduce the electric shock area when working near exposed electrical conductors that might hit someone’s head.
Hard hats are also good for protecting the face and ears, which can protect roofers from chemical exposure.
Protective glasses and eyewear are required for roofers handling bitumen (asphalt) on their roofing project. Eyewear is also recommended when roofers are working with flying dust and debris. This prevents anything from entering their eye and causing injury or damage.
Roofers may also be required to wear face shields or goggles to protect themselves from hot splashes of asphalt or sharp shards of debris. Eyeglasses must also have side protection, so goggles are often popular for roofers working with tricky materials.
Fall Protection Gear
Safety gear is crucial to keeping roofers safe when working at elevated heights. Many roofers will work with harnesses on their bodies if the height of the building is hazardous enough. Other basic requirements include ladders, rails, fall arrest systems, and warning lines.
Scaffolding platforms, guardrails, and proper training are almost always required for roofers before and during their work on a roof. Whether a roofer works at a residential or commercial location, observing and following safety laws and requirements keeps the work safe and efficient.
Industry First Aid for Heat Illnesses & Disorders
“Torch down” roofing is a way of installing roofing using an open-flame propane torch to heat the material and affix it securely. However, this process generates a lot of heat, reaching temperatures as high as 2000°F, making it uncomfortable and potentially harmful to workers’ health.
This work environment can cause heat-related illnesses, such as dizziness, impaired judgment, and slow reactions. Additionally, working in such hot conditions increases the risk of other hazards, such as sweat getting into the eyes or slippery hands, making it hard to complete tasks properly.
To protect workers, employers must take adequate safety measures to prevent heat-related illnesses and provide adequate rest areas and access to cool drinks, fans, or air conditioning.
Employers should also provide workers with useful information about working in extreme temperatures and how to respond in case of problems.
Types of Roofs Regulated by Building Codes:
Building codes regulate many roofs, including pitched, flat, and domed roofs(cupola). Pitched roofs are the most common type of roof and typically feature two slopes that meet at a central peak. They often feature gabled or hipped ends at each side, helping to shed rainwater quickly and efficiently away from the building.
Flat roofs are also popular and consist of one continuous horizontal plane generally made from rubber or modified bitumen. Though flat roofs can be more difficult to waterproof due to the lack of pitch in their design, modern waterproofing techniques make them much more accessible.
Domes – typically built in circles – use structural arches for support. Often found in churches and other religious buildings, domes have become iconic symbols in architecture due to their dramatic visual impact.
Other types of roofs may be regulated by local building codes, such as butterfly or barrel vaults which offer an interesting aesthetic appeal while providing the necessary protection from wind, rain, and snow.
Roof Prepping Practices
If you are a roofer in Canada, you know the importance of thorough job site preparation and safe shingle bundle storage and placement.
Job site preparation, shingle bundle storage methods, and properly placing bundles while roofing keeps roofers safe, ensuring that roofers will complete their projects with quality results.
Roof Deck Prep
Before workers can install any roofing components, contractors must adequately prepare the roof deck. The roof deck serves several crucial functions, including structural support, dimensional stability, and fire resistance. It is the responsibility of the architect or specifier to guarantee that the roof deck meets the requirements necessary for a specific project.
Inspectors and employers must also inspect the roof deck before beginning work with the roofing system. If any deficiencies are found, inspectors should report them to the superintendent or general contractor in charge of the project.
No action should be taken about the roof until all issues have been addressed and corrected!
In addition to inspecting for deficiencies, it is important to look for any signs of damage, such as weakened areas or loose materials. Signs of water damage are particularly concerning because they can affect the structural integrity and lead to mold growth or rot if left unaddressed.
Furthermore, all fasteners must be checked and tightened where necessary to ensure they remain securely in place throughout their lifespan.
Preparing a roof deck must be conducted accurately and efficiently, as this will help guarantee a long-lasting solution that provides reliable protection from rain, snow, wind, and other elements over its lifetime.
How to Store & Place Shingle Bundles
Knowing how to store and place shingle bundles is important before working on a roof. This will make the job go smoother and safer.
Roofers should store and place the shingle bundles on the top of the roof where it is more stable. This way, they don’t have to move the bundles around too much as they work. The bundles should be flat and not move around during the installation process.
It’s also important to put the bundles evenly across the top of the roof, so the weight is spread out and not too heavy in one spot. This will help prevent any damage to the roof in the long run.
Having everything in the right place on the top of the roof also makes it easier to access the materials during the installation. It also helps keep the materials dry and protected from bad weather like rain or wind, which can make the materials last longer.
Waterproofing Roofing Regulations
Waterproofing is a treatment applied to surfaces or structures to prevent the passage of water under pressure. It protects buildings, tunnels, and other structures from groundwater, protects spaces beneath roofs and plaza decks, and keeps water from leaking into basements or underground structures.
According to Canadian roofing regulations, the materials used for waterproofing must be able to perform for an extended time and be compatible with the soil and the substrate to which it is applied.
They must also resist environmental contaminants and withstand construction activity. Waterproofing is applied directly to structural decks or wall surfaces, is covered with a protection course, and is backfilled with a permanent protection slab.
Reducing or eliminating hydrostatic pressure against the waterproofing material can improve the effectiveness of the waterproofing.
Damp Proofing Roofing Requirements
On the other hand, damp-proofing is similar to waterproofing but is not as strong.
Damp Proofing is when roofers ensure that a little water doesn’t get inside the building. Roofers use different materials for this, and it’s mostly used for the outside of the building. Damp Proofing is used when there isn’t a lot of water around the building, unlike waterproofing.
Sometimes, for floor or foundation walls, roofers use both waterproofing and damp-proofing to make sure that the building stays dry and safe.
Vapor retarder materials are often used for damp-proofing floor slabs, and Solvent-based bituminous materials are often used on concrete foundation walls.
Damp Proofing applied to the exterior of walls above grade is usually transparent or is a material that can provide an attractive finish.
Why are Regulations Important?
Following roofing codes and regulations is crucial for ensuring the safety and structural integrity of a building.
These codes, set by local building authorities or municipalities, are designed to ensure that the roof can withstand typical weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snowfall, and high winds, and that it is properly ventilated and insulated.
Adhering to these codes ensures that the roof is built to a high standard, avoiding costly repairs and unsafe living conditions in the future. Furthermore, building codes also help to make sure that the home is safe, energy-efficient, and meets the requirements of government and insurance companies.
Failure to meet these codes can lead to legal issues and building permit denial or revocation by local building authorities. In short, following the rules when building or renovating a roof is important to ensure the residents’ safety and avoid legal and financial troubles.