- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 24 Dec 2019
A blue roof is a roof designed for the retention of rainwater above the waterproofing element of the roof. This is as opposed to more conventional roofs which allow for rainwater to drain from the roof. Blue roofs are typically flat, without any fall, with control devices regulate drainage outlets that enable water to be retained or drained.
The SuDS Manual published by CIRIA in 2015 suggests that a blue roof is: ‘A roof construction that stores water, can include open water surfaces, storage within or beneath a porous media or modular surface or below a raised decking surface or cover.’
Some of the reasons for incorporating a blue roof into a building, include:
- As a form of Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) to try and alleviate urban flooding caused by stormwater run-off.
- In areas of urban density, the space created by a blue roof can avoid having to provide attenuation for rainwater at ground level.
- Rainwater harvesting for use, independent from, or supplemental to the mains water supply, such as wc flushing or green roof irrigation
- Cooling solar panels, or reducing load on mechanical refrigeration or cooling equipment.
- For recreational purposes, such as rooftop swimming pools or water features.
Unlike some other forms of SuDS, blue roofs make use of spaces that might otherwise be redundant without extending beyond the footprint of the building or into ground space which, depending on the density of the location, may be expensive.
To ensure safety, there must be careful estimation of the flow restriction, which calculates the peak rates of run-off and the water depth that will be formed on the roof surface. This informs the design of the safety overflows, the preventative maintenance programme, and the design and construction of the waterproofing layer.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Blue space.
- Cold roof.
- Condensation in buildings.
- Domestic roofs.
- Flat roof.
- Flat roof defects.
- Green roof.
- Groundwater control in urban areas.
- Interstitial condensation.
- Living Roofs and Walls, from policy to practice.
- Rain garden.
- Rainwater harvesting.
- Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.
- Warm roof.
Featured articles and news
European ports in a historic and global perspective. Book review.
The post-war response to blitz and blight.
Could you be our new editor?
Evaluating occupant satisfaction.
The Ancona eco-mansion
What is the cost of not getting it right first time?
The government announces a new role as part of a wider package of safety reform.
Lessons for the next UK road investment strategy.
Architectural Technology Studio 3
Construction Industry Advisory Committee CONIAC
The real impact of late payment.
How to tell which infrastructure projects will work.