Suitable Roofing Materials for Solar Panel Installations

Suitable Roofing Materials for Solar Panel Installations

Suitable Roofing Materials for Solar Panel Installations



Risks and Challenges of Installing Solar Panels on Asbestos Roofs

Risks and Challenges of Installing Solar Panels on Asbestos Roofs

Risks and Challenges of Installing Solar Panels on Asbestos Roofs

With the ongoing power outages in South Africa, many households and businesses are resorting to solar energy. Solar panels are mostly installed on rooftops of residential buildings, factories, and warehouses. Roofing contractors are struggling to meet the growing demand for solar panel installations. It is of utmost importance that solar panels be installed by trained roofing contractors in Cape Town such as CTW Construction Group and Asbestos Removal and Roofing. In a letter from the Department of Employment and Labour, dated 11 November 2022, Departmental Inspectors have been instructed to not allow asbestos work that entails the installation of any solar panels or sheets onto existing asbestos roofs.

Furthermore, it is illegal to remove, transport or dispose of asbestos, unless it is done by a registered asbestos contractor.

There are certain roof limitations when it comes to installing solar panels. With the variety of roof materials found in South Africa it is very important to consider the type of roof material present before embarking on installing solar panels. While it is safe to install solar panels to metal sheeting, concrete slabs (RCC) and most types of tiles, it is not safe to install solar panels on roofs containing asbestos.

Most asbestos cement roofs are over 40 years old. To clean and maintain these roofs can be dangerous, not to mention installing solar systems on them. Of all asbestos building materials, roof sheeting is usually in the poorest condition as it is directly exposed to sun, wind, rain and hail, and often damaged by moss and lichen that grows on its surface. To seal or coat a product the surface first needs to be safely cleaned and this may be virtually impossible for roofs that have not been maintained over time and/or that have significant moss and algal growth penetrating the surface

As asbestos roofs age they weaken, leading to the potential for breakage and even collapse. Furthermore, as the cement matrix breaks down, asbestos fibres are released into the air or washed into the gutters. Gutter waste can become contaminated and needs to be safely removed and disposed of.

Building or homeowners need to know that any form of power tool or pressure cleaner is prohibited to be used to clean or repair an asbestos cement roof. Use of these can lead to exposure of fibres and contaminate the property and surrounding properties. Asbestos contamination spreading from any damage can lead to high clean-up costs, which may not be covered by household insurance.

Reasons why a solar power system should not be installed on asbestos roofs.

As mentioned, with age asbestos becomes brittle and can easily crack or break under the load of a rooftop solar system.

The loadbearing capacity of asbestos is not as high as it is for other roof types such, as metal sheeting, tiles, or concrete. Under the effect of the static load (the actual weight of the system), and the dynamic load, (the weight of the installation agents and maintenance teams), old asbestos roofs could collapse, or the sheets will most likely develop cracks.

Cracks will allow moisture and water to seep into the building. This type of water ingress could cause a variety of problems such as:

  • Compromise of the structural strength of the building when steel mounting structures and concrete reinforcement starts rusting or corroding.
  • Could cause electrical wiring to be compromised.
  • Damage to contents of the building.
  • Mold, damp, and humidity – posing health risks.


Preparation of an asbestos roof for solar panel installation

According to the South African Asbestos Abatement Regulations of 2020 only an asbestos contractor registered with the Chief Inspector (Department of Employment and Labour), is permitted to remove, or prepare asbestos surfaces.

Acquiring roofing contractors that are also asbestos experts is highly recommended when planning on installing a solar system on an asbestos roof.


May 2022 Deadline for Asbestos Inventory Assessments

May 2022 Deadline for Asbestos Inventory Assessments

May 2022 Deadline for Asbestos Inventory Assessments


The Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) launched the new Asbestos Abatement Regulations on Friday 27 November 2020. The new Asbestos Abatement Regulations 2020 replaces the Regulations of 2001 and was done in partnership with National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH).

The Asbestos Abatement Regulations gives the duty to employers to provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees, and members of the public. The regulations give a clear responsibility to employers for identifying asbestos “asbestos in place” and managing it properly.

Although there is no national policy currently with a cut-off date when all buildings must be asbestos-free, employers are encouraged to self-develop policies and procedures as to how they are going to be phasing out asbestos in their buildings.

Regulations 3 and 20 of the Asbestos Abatement Regulations 2020 – Government Gazette No. R.1196, give employers an implementation time of 18 months from the promulgation date (10 November 2020) to develop written asbestos management plans as well as the labeling and signage to indicate materials or buildings containing asbestos.

The 18-month period to conclude asbestos assessments and develop written asbestos management plans is approaching.  The deadline date is May 2022.

Property owners or employers must obtain the services of registered and competent companies or persons in this field to ensure that all materials identified as, or assumed to be asbestos-containing material, are entered into an inventory of “asbestos in place”, which is kept at the workplace or premises.

Regarding disagreement or doubt, whether any substance contains asbestos, a sample of that substance must be taken, and identification of the substance must be determined by an approved inspection authority (AIA).


According to regulation 4, the inventory of “asbestos in place” must contain as far as reasonably practicable, the following information about each of the asbestos-containing materials:


  1. The date on which the material was identified.
  2. a description of the material, quantity, and extent of deterioration.
  3. the location as detailed on a floor plan.
  4. confirmation of labeling and signage as required by regulation 20.
  5. the risk categorisation derived from the asbestos risk assessment; and
  6. a description of potential exposure scenarios.


If asbestos-containing materials are identified, the employer or self-employed person must ensure that a written asbestos management plan is prepared by a competent person.


The asbestos management plan must include:


Exactly where the removal of asbestos is planned, and information in the asbestos inventory must be adequately detailed with respect to the work to be carried out.

The employer or property owner must ensure that a copy of the asbestos inventory is given to the registered asbestos removal contractor as well as the approved inspection authority (AIA) before asbestos removal work commences.

Asbestos Removal and Roofing in Cape Town can assist employers with the identification of asbestos-containing materials as well as the removal and safe disposal of all types of asbestos.

For more information about our offering, visit our Asbestos Removal page or contact Asbestos Removal & Roofing today.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in, how long will it take to remove asbestos from my building?
How do I find asbestos on my property?

How do I find asbestos on my property?

How do I find asbestos on my property?


What does asbestos look like? How can I find asbestos on my property? These are questions we are often asked. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer as asbestos can take on many forms.

Asbestos is a group of fibrous silicate minerals that naturally occur as bundles. Asbestos was extensively mined around the world, with South Africa leading the production of asbestos in the mid to late 1900s.

Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures, harsh weather conditions, and corrosive chemicals, asbestos was widely used in the manufacturing of a range of building materials including roof tiles, cement, flooring, and ceiling boards as well as woven materials like mats and most commonly, insulation. The tiny fibers that makeup asbestos were often added to materials to make them stronger and harder. As it often became part of the actual materials, asbestos comes in many different shapes, and is not always easy to find asbestos on your property.

Cape Town-based CTW Construction’s highly skilled asbestos removal team can help. We do inspections of your property and identify any asbestos exposure risks that may be present. In some cases, we take samples of the material in question and send it for laboratory testing to be certain of contamination. Once we have done a thorough inspection, and we are positive that there is a risk of asbestos contamination, we will work out what the best method for the removal of the asbestos will

When removing asbestos, we always ensure that we mitigate any risks to you and your family or employees. Our team is experienced in the safe removal of asbestos and we dispose of all contaminated waste at specially demarcated sites around the Western Cape. We are also able to replace any roofing, ceilings, woodwork, or insulation in the area where the asbestos has been removed.

For more information about our offering, visit our Asbestos Removal page or contact Asbestos Removal & Roofing today.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in, how long will it take to remove asbestos from my building?

How Long to Remove Asbestos from my House?

How Long to Remove Asbestos from my House?

How Long to Remove Asbestos from my House?


Due to the great variety of shapes and sizes that asbestos comes in, ranging from roofing tiles to insulation, floor linings, piping and more, the asbestos removal process can be quite complicated. The timeframe for asbestos removal varies greatly, depending on the amount of asbestos that is present and how accessible the area is. Asbestos removal costs also depend largely on the size of the job. Here we discuss how long it will take to remove asbestos.

The first step would be to positively identify the presence of asbestos on your property and to evaluate the risks that it poses. As asbestos ages, it becomes brittle and breaks into shards which are extremely harmful to human health. It is recommended that any suspected asbestos is removed before it becomes old and damaged, to avoid any contamination of the area and any long-term, life-threatening consequences.

Servicing all zones around the greater Cape Town area, CTW Construction Group offers a comprehensive property evaluation, examining all areas of the property for potential asbestos contamination. This process can take a few hours, depending on the space. In some cases, we would need to send off a sample of the material to a laboratory for testing, which will take a few days. Once we are positive that there is asbestos in your building, we will draw up a comprehensive action plan on how to safely remove the asbestos.

The actual asbestos removal process can take up to a few weeks to complete, especially if our team needs to repair the area after removal – for example, new ceiling boards or roof tiles. We try to minimise the impact that removing asbestos has on your business or your family life and in a lot of cases, there is no need to vacate the premises while we operate. We effectively seal off the affected area while we work and follow strict removal procedures, as stipulated by the law. Due to the risk associated with the job, our highly-skilled team has undergone rigorous training, wears specialised protective gear (PPE) and always puts the safety of your family or employees first.

Once we remove the asbestos and contain it in a sealed skip, we safely transport and dispose of the hazardous waste at a specially demarcated dump site that deals with asbestos waste. After removal, we will monitor the area where the asbestos was removed and determine if it is safe to return to.

If you suspect that your property may contain hazardous asbestos that you would like removed, contact Asbestos Removal & Roofing today.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in, why asbestos removal and remediation is important?

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