Blue roofing: a new approach to managing storm water< Back to Blog

If you were asked to name an industry that’s fuelled by innovation, roofing might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

However, take a hot air balloon ride over any town or city and you’ll soon see how much the roofing industry has evolved in recent years. Looking at flat-roofing alone, there’s now so many different options that have been designed to better meet the needs of the domestic, commercial and industrial markets while also addressing issues like improving technical performance, offering guaranteed waterproofing and working to better protect the environment.

There’s hot melt roofing, fibre glass roofing, single ply roofing, torch and felt roofing, cold applied liquid roofing, green roofing and brown roofing to name a few.

Now, to add to that list, one of the latest innovations is the Blue Roofing System.

This relatively new kid on the block is a flat-roof concept that’s been developed to better manage and control storm water. Unlike a traditional method, where roof drainage allows rain water to simply run off the building and into sewers, waterways and river systems, a blue roof temporarily stores the water, treating and releasing it at a controlled rate (normally over a 24-hour period following a storm).

With changing weather patterns resulting in some areas being more frequently affected by heavy rain/storms, the way that water is managed and released from roofs is becoming an increasingly important factor in preventing ground level flooding.

Other benefits of this type of system include helping to reduce the land take and earth works requirements that come with many drainage systems; it’s easy to install and maintain; it’s cost effective; and it helps developers to demonstrate to local planners that their surface water management complies with Sustainable Drainage Strategies (SuDS).

But, isn’t having water sitting on top of a flat-roof a leakage disaster waiting to happen?

It would seem not!

With a typical blue roof consisting of at least seven layers (including levels of waterproofing, vapour control and insulation), offering a design where bespoke restrictor outlet chambers are placed to maximum efficiency, and often being combined with green/ brown roofing techniques, this system is as robust as you can get.

Suitable for roofing and podiums on everything from schools to supermarkets, domestic to commercial spaces, blue roofs are already featuring in numerous developments across the country. Examples include Huddersfield University, Rathbone Market in London and Moreland Primary School in Islington.

Subject to contract, Sheriff Construction will be installing its very first blue roof system very soon. We’ll keep you posted!