Avoiding call backs on repair jobs

Stuart Nicholson from Marley
Stuart Nicholson from Marley

In this article, Stuart Nicholson from Marley, outlines the steps contractors can take to reduce call backs if they are carrying out essential roof repairs or ongoing maintenance.

The construction industry, like so many others, is coming to terms with the challenging operating environment due to COVID-19. Movement restrictions and rapidly changing scenarios mean many building projects have been placed on hold.

For roofing contractors, it has meant a temporary shift in work emphasis from delivering brand new roof installations to undertaking vital roof repairs and maintenance. The adverse weather conditions, thanks to the number of intensive storms which arrived closely together in February, resulted in significant volumes of repair work that roofers may be in the process of completing, whilst waiting for normal work conditions to return. 

While new repair work on an existing roof or requests to undertake roofing maintenance tasks will inevitably occur, it is also useful to remember how to avoid call back scenarios once a roof has been installed or an in-situ roof has been repaired. Call backs can be costly in time and resource and come for a variety of reasons including leaking roofs, condensation, damaged or loose tiles and defective products. 

There are a number of steps contractors can take to protect themselves, minimise the risk of call backs and reduce the hassle of any warranty claims. They include:

1)    Get a new fixing specification for every project
All pitched roofs should be fixed to the BS 5534:2014 standard, which means that as well as meeting minimum fixing recommendations, additional nails and clips may be required depending on the roof pitch and degree of exposure. 

Contractors should obtain a free fixing specification from the tile manufacturer for each newbuild or re-roofing project they do, ensuring that the roof is mechanically fixed in an appropriate way to the recognised British Standard calculation method. Whilst this may sound like a hassle, not doing so could lead to costly roof repairs and potentially invalidate any warranties.

For routine maintenance works, including repair and replacement of roof tiles, it is important to ensure that replacement tiles are installed and fixed appropriately, using suitable mechanical fixings, in accordance with industry recognised practice and manufacturers recommendations.

2) Ventilate to prevent condensation
Condensation is a common cause of moisture within the loft space reported by homeowners, which can form due to insufficient ventilation being provided when the roof was installed.

To avoid this type of call back, contractors should comply with BS 5250:2011+A1:2016 ‘Code of practice for control of condensation in buildings’ and BS 9250:2007 ‘Code of practice for design of the air tightness of ceilings in pitched roofs.’

Condensation issues can be varied and complex, and whilst breathable underlays are recognised as a means of control, the provision of low and high-level ventilation, in accordance with BS 5250, is also an established, tried and tested approach towards minimising the risk, without placing the long-term burden of effective roof ventilation on one single element. The cost of adding ventilation components at the outset is relatively small in comparison to having to go back and install ventilation products retrospectively or repair condensation damage. 

3) Select quality dry fix systems
Always use a dry fix system that is compliant with BS 8612 or has BBA certification.  Also remember that not all compliant systems will offer the same levels of performance, and there will be significant differences between various products – ranging from the type of material components are made from, to special design and performance features. 

4) Always follow the manufacturer instructions

Products from different manufacturers may look similar, but there may be notable differences in the correct installation and fixing process, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s fitting instructions.

5) Use a roof system from one manufacturer
Using a single source pitched roof system can help roofing contractors reduce the risk of call backs. Sourcing the roof covering, underlay, battens, fixings and accessories from one manufacturer means that all parts of the roof system have been designed and tested to work together, providing reassurance of compatibility, compliance with British Standards and long-term performance.  

For technical support, free fixing specifications and further information about Marley’s 15-year roof system guarantee, visit www.marley.co.uk