A Roof Hatch Is Not Just A Square Box

The quick and easy guide on specifying Surespan products.

Specifying a commercial or residential roof hatch is not always as straight forward as it seems. That square box on the roof plan needs many considerations, from roof access requirements, what its being used for and whether there are any performance considerations.

When specifying your access hatch with Surespan, our team are on hand to guide you through the specification process. We will ensure the hatch is manufactured to the specific needs of your project or recommend a standard stock product that saves you time and money.

To begin with, we always recommend looking at what standard sizes are available. These offer quicker lead times and better prices if you are on a strict time restraint or budget. Otherwise, we can manufacture hatches of any bespoke size to suit your requirements.

Remember, when ordering a roof hatch from Surespan, ALL our hatches are both thermally broken and come with a curb liner as standard. This enables installation on-site to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

Roof Hatch FAQs

What type of lid is required for your Roof Hatch?

If thermal performance is your main concern, then we would recommend a solid top. However, if your objective is to create an aesthetically pleasing space, full of natural light, then we would recommend a glazed roof hatch. Another common option is a polycarbonate dome. This has always been the budget option, however with little difference in cost and availability, glass is becoming an increasingly popular choice.

What sort of opening operation do you require?

The most common opening operations used with our hatches are a manual gas spring assisted opening and powered (electrically operated) opening. The purpose of the hatch will generally decide the opening operation. If the user is accessing the hatch from a tall vertical ladder carrying a toolbox for example, we would suggest an automatic opening hatch (electric), with a switch at the bottom to operate the hatch above. However, if you are unsure about the best solution, then always seek advice from the manufacturer.

Do Roof Hatches need to be fire rated?

Fire-rated products have become a key component in modern construction, helping to minimise the spread of a fire. For example, if a fire-rated hatch has been placed above a plant room, it can resist potential fires damaging the building core.

We can manufacture roof hatches with a fire rating of up to 4 hours.

As well as fire rated hatches, we also offer hatches with a high decibel rating. Buildings that experience frequent airborne and impact sound such as music venues and cinemas would benefit from a hatch with a higher decibel rating. This would help prevent any disruption from sound leakage.

We offer hatches with up to a 45-decibel rating.

Moreover, keep in mind that all hatches should comply with BRE and IP rating for best performance. IP66 provide water ingress and dust ingress testing while BRE tests include wind, impact and air permeability tests.

If you are planning to specify a hatch with Surespan, all our quotations will have an approximate delivery period at the bottom of them.

Hatches that are bespoke could be 4 to 6 weeks. It is important to remember this period is from approval of drawings and you should consider how long it may take to get the drawings approved as this would extend the delivery period.

For bespoke products, it is recommended that you speak to us as early in the design phase as possible.

We believe anything can be achieved no matter how complicated the design is.

What are your locking options?

Our manual roof hatches are offered with several locking options depending on the opening requirements. As standard Internal cablocks are provided with hasp and staple that allow the hatch to be locked from the inside, there is also an external handle which can be used as an emergency exit hatch or to allow the hatch to be closed once up on the roof to avoid accidents

Tip: Decide early in the specification what locking options are required as any changes on site will increase costs and lead times.

Insulated Roof Hatches

Most roof hatches are typically insulated with PIR insulation, due to it being one of the most efficient insulation materials used in construction. 75mm PIR insulation will achieve a U-value of 0.26 W/m²K. However, with our growing awareness of fire safety and carbon footprint, you can specify non-combustible mineral wool as a good alternative to PIR. It is sustainable, recyclable, and ideal for building safety, with a minor trade-off in performance, achieving a U-value of 0.43 W/m²K.

Tip: Surespan offers non-combustible mineral wool with no extra costs or lead time.

With the technical features decided, the final consideration is any location-specific requirements.

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