Concerns emerge that roofing may not be ready for BS 5534

With less than two weeks until more stringent roof fixing standards become mandatory in the UK under changes to BS 5534, the roofing industry is being urged to ensure it is ready to adapt to the new rules.

The new regulations come into force at the end of February 2015 and are designed to secure roofs against more extreme weather conditions through the mechanical fixing of every single lap tile. A degree of clipping will also be required on most roof projects, with mortar alone no longer considered enough to secure tiles and fittings to roofs.

However, there is concern that many are still unsure of the rules and when they will be enforced. Marley Eternit has expressed its concerns that confusion over BS 5534 could mean contractors and specifiers won’t be ready to meet what the company has called “the biggest change to pitched roof fixing requirements for 20 years.”

Steve Bryceson, technical manager at Marley Eternit, said: “Most queries we receive from contractors are still about timing of projects and the new standard. The revised BS 5534 was announced in August but there has been a six-month crossover period where the two standards have coexisted. However, from March 1, all new pitched roofing work using tiles, slates and shingles should be specified to the recommendations of the new standard, BS 5534:2014. Some exceptions may apply to ongoing sites of multiple properties under the control of the NHBC, where contracts have been agreed to the old standard, in which case any outstanding roofs may be completed using BS 5534:2003+A.1:2010 up until July 1 2015.

“We are already seeing a big increase in the number of fixing specifications we are preparing for work under the new standard. However, we suspect there are still contractors and specifiers out there who haven’t realised they will need new fixing specifications from March 1.”

Despite theses concerns, Alltype Roofing Supplies believes that the roofing industry has known about the need for more secure fixing techniques for years, and will be able to adapt quickly. Adam Bick, senior business manager for the merchant, said: “We believe the professional roofing contractors within UK lead the industry by example and as a merchant we see first-hand how our industry embraces change and adopts innovation.”

The company also believes the changes to BS 5534 will have a positive impact on the pitched roofing sector, claiming that the techniques needed to meet the new standards will ensure quality workmanship.

Mr. Bick added: “Knowing how to fix tiles and the type of fixing to use has always been a detail that has separated experienced roofing contractors from rouge traders.

“Overall we believe the introduction of BS 5534 to be a positive one, it will certainly go a long way to ensuring the stability and longevity of roofing as a specialist trade.

“In the long run we are sure the industry will benefit.”

Follow these links to exclusive articles from Marley Eternit  and Sandtoft for more information on BS 5534

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