roof ventilation

I know this subject has been covered in various ways before (quite a bit of googling done), but I am still not sure how to interpret all the bits of information I have found. So let me describe the problem, and hopefully one of you will know the answer.
This is what I understand (correct me if I am wrong):
In a warm roof construction, the insulation material is above the rafters and continuous, and ventilation is not needed. On the warm side of the insulation a vapour barier is needed.
In a cold roof, where the insulation is for example between the rafters, you need to keep 50mm air space between the top of the insulation and the roof covering (felt), and this space needs to be ventilated. Again, a vapour barrier is needed on the warm side.
In the Building regulations part F2, section 0.2 it states that roofs where the moisture from the building cannot permeate the insulation, no ventilation is needed.
So why is it not possible to put insulation between the rafters, and then seal the warm side with a vapour barrier, and not have any ventilation? The reason I ask this question is that we have a flat roof running up against a pitch roof, and it is really awkward to ventilate everything. Unfortunately it is a bit late in the day to use a warm roof construction.
Any explanations greatly appreciated,
Johan
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Johan wrote

You're not wrong there! LOL

Correct, except that the Building Regs do not require a vapour barrier in either form of roof - they are only concerned with ventilation.

Paragraph 2.7 of Part F2 says "Vapour checks can reduce the amount of moisture reaching a void but they cannot be relied on as an alternative to ventilation. A complete barrier to moisture is needed for this". It is virtually impossible to create a "complete barrier" in this situation - there will always be perforations for pipes and cables, as well as the loft hatch. What you call a "vapour barrier" is really only a vapour check.
The Regs only apply to the construction of new roofs. There's no legal obligation on you to comply with the Regs concerning your existing roof, so there's nothing to stop you providing a vapour barrier and omitting the ventilation if you wish. There are millions of older pre-Regs houses without either ventilation or vapour barriers, all running the risk of rotten roof timbers. But if you do wish to comply, there are other acceptable ways of ventilating besides the eaves - e.g. vent tiles and ridges, grilles in gable ends, ventilated fascias or through-roof ventilators for the flat roof. More info is needed on the age, design, construction and coverings of your roof to help much further.
Peter
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 17:46:00 +0000, a particular chimpanzee named

In my particular circle of Hell, Beelzebub will be tormenting me for all eternity by asking, "why do I need to ventilate my roof?"
A vapour barrier will not stop all moisture from penetrating into the void above the insulation. Even with the best workmanship, it's still going to be punctured by nails and electricians. As the insulation does not cover the tops of the rafters, condensation can occur in them.
--
Hugo Nebula
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