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Loft flooring to access solar PV inverters

The rise of renewables

Government targets are causing developers to incorporate renewables such as solar PV in their developments on an increasing scale. However, in the new-build homes we survey we almost never see adequate access platforms installed by developers to access this maintainable equipment. More often than not, developers are not providing any platform at all.

This can present a big problem for the homeowner. When a tradesman visits to access the equipment they may refuse to enter the loft on the grounds of health and safety. We have experienced this first hand, and have installed access platforms for customers after they have had a Gas or Solar technician visit them and refuse to enter the loft.

According to Which? magazine, nearly a quarter (23%) of solar panel owners have had a problem with their system, and problems with the inverter are the most common (40%).

Solar panels on roof
Source: Which.co.uk

What are the requirements?

Really there should be a requirement for developers to include this mandatory access platform. Well, actually there is. The NHBC Technical Standards requires that member developers (such as Barratt, Cala, Miller and others) provide a minimum 1m2 platform in front of any permanent equipment in the loft, and a fixed walkway to access it from the loft hatch.* Even the existence of this requirement does not seem to prevent new homes being signed-off by NHBC without adequate access.

NHBC Requirement for Boarded Walkways in Lofts

Snagging

The good news is that if you are still within your snagging period (usually 2 years) then this is absolutely something you should insist your builder rectifies. You can point them in the direction of either ourselves or LoftZone for details on fitting an access platform compliant with all regulations. If you are outwith this snagging period you may need to arrange this yourself. In that case, we’d be delighted to help.

You can book a free survey here: https://loftboardingscotland.co.uk/book-survey/

 

*The requirement as set out by the NHBC is that access should:

“include securely fixed boarded walkways between the opening and the cistern or other permanent equipment; boarding should be securely fixed without compressing the insulation; at each piece of permanent equipment or cistern, a minimum 1m2 platform should be provided to facilitate maintenance.”

NHBC Technical Standards Plus, p9 Section 7.2.12

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