01384 820060

Maintenance Guide For Aluminium Patent Glazing And Rooflights

Meeting the needs of a modern family

Maintenance Guide For Aluminium Patent Glazing And Rooflights


1 – General

For safety reasons, maintenance should not be carried out in adverse weather conditions such as strong winds or when there is snow lying on slope glazing. The clearing of snow from roofs containing fragile or non-load bearing materials, especially glass, is not recommended. Partial removal of snow may adversely affect the structural stability of the roof.

2 – Access for maintenance and cleaning

2.1 – General

Those engaged on maintenance work should be experienced and use suitable equipment. Refer to BS 8213. Permanent and/or temporary access to both sides of patent glazing for inspection, cleaning and repair should be taken into account at the initial design stage (see clause 4).

NOTE. Attention is drawn to the Construction Design and Management Regulations, the construction (Working Places) Regulations 1966, SI 64, the NBS specification for “Access for cleaning and maintenance” and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publication ref. 33 Safety aspects working on roofs.

Patent glazing should never be stood or walked upon without the use of fall arrest harness restraint systems and crawling boards. Equipment should be so constructed that the restraint system is independent of the patent glazing and the weight of the operative is well distributed and over at least two patent glazing bars.

2.2 Reason for access

There are several reasons why direct access should be provided to areas of sloping or vertical patent glazing, both to internal and to external surfaces.  Primarily these are inspection, cleaning and repair or renewal.

2.3 Temporary access

Temporary access, if required, may be achieved by the use of ladders, crawling boards and scaffolding of various forms suitable for the particular type of building and the location of the glazing. Such forms of access should be removed after use.

Ladders and crawling boards may be used safely without imposing any loading on the glazing provided that they are supported at a purlin or other structural member. Spreader boards should be properly secured and should rest on at least two glazing bars. Stops may need to be provided on the glazing bars to locate crawling boards, etc. and to prevent them from slipping. Maintenance loads should never be carried directly by the infilling, unless it is specifically designed for the purpose.

Temporary access may also be gained through the use of specialist systems, such as manual or powered cradles or gantries. Motorised working platforms are particularly useful on the inside of a building provided that there is good access and sufficient room to manoeuvre. They may also be effectively used outside.

Care should always be exercised to ensure that firm and level areas are provided from which the working platform can operate.

2.4 Permanent Access

Systems of permanent access may be either fixed or moving platforms on some form of tracking, re-locatable within a pre-set pattern. Walkways or platforms should be completely independent of the patent glazing. Such systems may be designed to suit sloping or vertical patent glazing and

allow for access to external and/or internal surfaces.

3 – Inspection

Periodic visual inspection of patent glazing should be carried out by those responsible for the maintenance of the building and the patent-glazing contractor should provide an inspection and maintenance manual.

Particular attention should be given to – the tightness of bolts and fasteners

– joint seals and junctions between different materials

– moving parts such as ventilators

The frequency of inspection/cleaning for a particular components or finishes may also be determined by the requirements of the terms and conditions of a manufacturer’s warranty.

Where it is known that there is a particular risk from atmospheric pollution, e.g. from certain production processes or close proximity to the sea, more frequent inspection may be necessary.

4 – Cleaning

4.1 General

The requirements of the Construction Design and Management Regulations should be observed. Regular cleaning to remove atmospheric grime and pollution will assist in maintaining the appearance, durability and performance of patent glazing. Cleaning therefore contributes considerably to the effective life of the patent glazing. The frequency of cleaning of internal as well as external surfaces depends upon the following:

  1. a) the current use being made of the building;
  2. b) the particular situation of the patent glazing on the building;
  3. c) the building location and the local environmental conditions;
  4. d) the type of infill material, its surface texture and finish;
  5. e) the materials used for glazing bars, flashings, ancillary components and their surface texture and finish;
  1. f) the attitude of the client/owner to the general appearance and maintenance of the building.
  1. g) to comply with the terms of guarantee provided by the metal finishers.
4.2 Infilling

Transparent or translucent infilling should be cleaned regularly and at time intervals depending upon the accumulation of dirt.  If excessive dirt is allowed to accumulate it will lead to:

  1. a) reduction of light transmission leading to an unsatisfactory level of illumination which may affect occupants and their safety.
  2. b) increase in the absorption of solar radiation, which, with glass, may cause an increase in the thermal stress.
  1. Glazing bars, flashings and ancillary components

During cleaning, care should be taken not to disturb any weatherings including wings, caps or flashings, or to dislodge any other ancillary components.  Outlets from drainage channels should be cleared as necessary.

5.1 Cleaning materials

 A solution of mild detergent in water, applied with a clean soft non-abrasive cloth, followed by a thorough clean water rinse should be used for routine cleaning.  Care should be exercised to avoid rubbing dirt into any surface.

The removal of stains and marks, other than those, which are removed by the method described above, should be discussed with the manufacturer of the material to be cleaned.

For treatment of specific surface finishes to metal, reference should be made to BS 6270: Part 3 1991 Cleaning (metals only).

6 – Other maintenance

Any damaged or missing components located during periodic inspection should  be replaced as soon as possible and any loose items secured as necessary.

Where replacement or repair work is necessary, the patent glazing contractor responsible for the original installation should preferably carry this out.