Homeowners warned to stay off roofs
Homeowners are warned not to try and tackle roof issues themselves, as wintry weather takes its toll.
Around 100 people die, and hundreds more are injured every year in the UK after falling from or through a roof, and while many victims are construction workers and youngsters, a significant number are home owners trying to do a repair.
A roofing company has called on the government to make it illegal for homeowners to venture up onto their own roofs without professional help.
Professional company JTC Roofing claims autumn is a dangerous time as the change in season makes ageing roofs susceptible to leaks.
It believes more could be done to protect the public from the huge risk of venturing up on to rooftops to find the source of a leak or to fix a slipped slate.
Much of the UK’s housing stock consists of properties with aging roofs which are prone to suffering perished slates and tiles.
When mortar and slate fastenings erode over many decades of keeping out the rain they become highly susceptible to water ingress.
But by the time rain water finds its way through ceilings into a family home it can have migrated many metres from the source of the leak.
Now the company has written to Housing Minister Alok Sharma asking for a change to the law to prevent home owners from taking the matter into their own hands. They say that such a law could save dozens of lives every year.
A spokesman for JTC Roofing said: “Climbing on to a roof is one of the most dangerous tasks anyone can undertake.
“Any fall from the roof of a house is likely to result in a serious injury or death so it is vitally important that all homeowners are made aware that they are literally dicing with death when they decide to go up on the roof.
“The most common reason why people venture onto their roof is to locate the source of a rain water leak which has come through the loft and seeped in through an upstairs ceiling.
“Most DIY enthusiasts fail to realise that the location of the leak inside the house is not a reliable indicator of where the water has come in through the roof.
“Most think if they can climb up on the roof immediately above where the leak came through the ceiling they will be able to spot an obvious hole or a missing slate.
“But the reality is the water can migrate several metres within the loft, running down the underside of the roof, across joists and beams and then down through the ceiling into a totally different part of the house.
“Once up on the roof there is a real danger of actually damaging the roof itself not to mention the danger of falling off.
“We feel a change in the law would be the clearest way for the Government to warn the public that going up on the roof really is a job for the professionals.
“Call in a roofer who will have all the necessary safety equipment and training. Do not try to DIY when it comes to your roof."
He added: “Once a change in the law has been made we would suggest anyone caught on their roof should face punishment in the form of a hefty fine. It would send a clear warning to others and would save scores of lives every year.”