Insurance company Zurich, are warning that green roofs pose a fire risk – as the roofs could dry out and become flammable. Stuart Blackie, risk management consultant at Zurich, said he was concerned the roofs “would become a hazard in a period of drought, particularly on school buildings”.
In a statement, Zurich said it would not refuse to insure buildings with green roofs as long as “appropriate guidelines have been followed”. These include a continuing maintenance regime and risk assessment.
Dusty Gedge, co-founder of LivingRoofs.org suggested Zurich’s new policy might be a knee-jerk reaction to the rising popularity of green roofs in the UK. He revealed that information available from countries with a more mature green roof market is being overlooked:
“In Germany, where there are 35 million m2 of green roofs, you get a reduction on fire insurance if you’ve got one.”
Interestingly Zurich could not provide any examples of fires breaking out on green roofs…