The reforms to the code of practice for slating and tiling, BS 5534, that are set to be published in just a matter of months will be the most significant changes to roofing standards in a generation. At the centrepiece are radical changes for the fixing of tiled roofs. It is important roofing contractors are aware of these modifications because they will have a huge impact on the way they work and the materials and products they use.
One area the revised standards will focus on is the need to mechanically fix roofs. For several years, the industry has moved away from mortar bedding and towards a requirement for the mechanical fixing of ridge and hip tiles. This is due to mortar bedding being vulnerable to failure as inevitable movements in roof structures over time causes the mortar to crack, which reduces fixing resistance and increases risk of failure in the wind.
In recent years, millions of pounds have been paid out by the National House Building Council (NHBC) under its Buildmark Warranty. The main culprit for this being failure of mortar on recently built homes. Subsequently, the NHBC launched new recommendations in 2012 which required the mechanical fixing of ridge and hip tiles.
The revised standards will make it clear roofing contractors cannot solely rely on mortar fixing any more. All ridge and hip tiles will have to be mechanically fixed. This will, in turn, bolster the case for alternative dry-fix solutions for all roofs. Mortar will only be permitted when accompanied by these mechanical fixings. But since dry-fix systems incorporate mechanical fixing and reduce the installation time, the new standards look set to undermine the need for using mortar at all because of the added cost and time that roofing contractors will accrue if they choose to work with mortar in addition to mechanical fixings.
Dry-fix systems, such as Redland’s Uni-Vent Rapid Ridge/Hip, are quicker, easier to install and provide greater fixing security.
It is expected the revised BS5534 will be published midway through 2014. A key question is how will the new requirements be enforced? NHBC is likely to follow the fixing and underlay requirements with its own guidance notes. This will make them clear requirements for an NHBC warranty.
Redland will develop training courses in order to explain the implications of the various new requirements to roofing contractors. We would urge all roofing contractors to be ready for these significant changes and will be more than happy to help where possible.
Throughout the course of the year we will be publishing more updates on how the BS5534 changes affect our customers’ business performance, so keep reading Red Alert for the latest.
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