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Safe and Easy: Building a Raised Platform to Access Your Loft-Mounted Solar Inverter



How do you safely access solar equipment located in the loft? Do you put boarding over insulation? This guide outlines the safe and easy way to build a raised platform for solar inverter access.


Solar panels are a fantastic way to harness renewable energy for your home. But what about the inverter, the brains of the operation, often tucked away in your loft? Safe and easy access is crucial for maintenance and potential repairs. This blog will guide you through creating a raised access platform for your solar inverter in the loft, ensuring both functionality and safety.

 

Why a Platform Matters:





  • Safety First: Building regulations often mandate a designated platform for accessing equipment like inverters. A sturdy platform prevents technicians from needing to navigate directly on the fibreglass quilt insulation, which can be unstable and damage the insulation's R-value (insulating power).


  • NHBC Warranty: For new build homes a raised platform is necessary to ensure the NHBC Warranty is not voided. Section 7.2.12 from the NHBC Standards 2023 states that securely fixed boarded walkways between the opening and the permanent equipment, and at each piece of permanent equipment, a minimum 1m² platform should be provided to facilitate maintenance.


  • Convenience Counts: A platform makes it easier and safer for you or a technician to reach the inverter for routine maintenance or troubleshooting.


Platform Options:


  • Pre-made Kits: The simplest solution is a pre-made plastic leg designed specifically for raising the loft floor above insulation.  Products such as the 300mm Loft Leg XL supports are readily available from DIY retailers and provide a simple, cost effective method of raising loft boards, allowing access to solar inverters and other loft-mounted equipment. Loft Leg XLs are simply screwed to the bottom chord of the roof trusses, and the loft boards screwed into the top platform of the Loft Legs.



  • Custom Built: For a more tailored approach, you can build your own platform using timber. This option can work however requires some carpentry skills and due to the additional weight some knowledge of building regulations.


Considerations Before You Build:


  • Size: The platform should be large enough to comfortably access the inverter from all sides. A minimum of 1.2m x 1.2m (4ft x 4ft) is recommended.


  • Weight Capacity: Ensure the platform can support the weight of the technician, and any tools. Check your loft's weight limitations and choose appropriate materials.


  • Height: The platform should be high enough to clear any loft insulation while allowing comfortable headroom for working on the inverter.


  • Building Regulations: If in any doubt consult your local building regulations to ensure your platform meets safety and weight capacity requirements.


Building Tips:


  • Materials: Choose chipboard or OSB (Orientated Strand Board). Opt for at least 18mm thick tongue and groove boards for the platform surface.


  • Construction: Ensure the platform is level and securely fixed to the joists or roof trusses for added stability.



  • Access: Consider incorporating a handrail on one side of the platform for additional support when entering or exiting.


Remember: Safety is paramount. If you're unsure about your DIY skills or the loft's structural integrity, consult with a qualified builder or contractor to ensure a safe and compliant platform installation.


Additional Storage


While creating the access platform why not use the opportunity to extend it to create additional storage in the loft. Using the Loft Leg XL allows you to add additional area to the access platform easily and cost effectively. This additional area is ideal for storage of occasional use items such as suitcases and Christmas decorations, helping to declutter the habitable rooms below.



Enjoy the Benefits!


With a secure and accessible platform, you can ensure the smooth operation of your solar system and make future maintenance a breeze. Now go forth and harness the power of the sun, safely and efficiently!


Whether you are a DIYer or not, any we are available help you with your project. Our office number (01282 861001) is manned from 9am until 4pm every weekday.


Browse our range of loft products and contact us today for more information.



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