Are you considering solar panels? Are you unsure if your roof is strong enough to support the extra weight? Are you a solar panel installer? The team at Richard Herrmann Associates are here to help.

Whether you are considering adding solar panels to a domestic home, a warehouse or something in-between, many of us are looking to solar panels to reduce both our bills and our carbon footprint.  

As photovoltaic and solar panels increase the weight on the roof it is important to instruct a structural engineer to confirm that your roof can support the additional loads.  We look at the roof design, the age and condition of the roof and the material it is constructed from.  We consider the weight of the panels and their fixings and how many panels you plan to install. Richard Herrmann Associates will work alongside your solar panel fitter to ensure that a feasible scheme is developed, and one that allows the installation to be as seamless and safe as possible.

Our engineers perform calculations that will confirm how many panels can be installed, and at what spacing. We can also advise on any modifications that might be required to strengthen or adapt the roof structure to support the ideal panel installation layout.

Unless you live in a conservation area or own a listed building you do not usually need planning permission for PV/solar panels, but their installation must conform to building regulations. Building Regulations states “Where the work involves a significant change in the applied loading the structural integrity of the roof structure and the supporting structure should be checked”.

The process is similar for both domestic and commercial clients.  Ideally we would like to see plans of the building but we will also visit to inspect the roof structure and obtain measurements of structural elements. We will liaise with your solar panel installer to obtain all the relevant information and then carry out structural calculations to allow us to provide you with a report on the best way to proceed.



  • All roofs should be appraised for suitability on installing a system.
  • The installer should provide evidence of structural competence.
  • The panels must be capable of being securely and safely fixed to the roof.
  • In England part A of the Building Regulations must be complied with.
  • Particular care needs to be taken in regions habitually affected by high winds or snow, or with buildings of unusual geometry.


  • The designer of the roof structure must make adequate provision for the installation.
  • The presence of PV or solar thermal panels must be shown on the Building Regulations application.
  • Installation must comply with good practice in terms of quality and workmanship.

If you are intending to carry out installation of PV panels, and you’d like some structural guidance, we’d be delighted to assist you. Please give us a call or send an enquiry through our website.

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Article Author
P Burgess
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