Complacency could derail success warns John Brash

Chris Watson, managing director of John Brash
Chris Watson, managing director of John Brash
Chris Watson, managing director of John Brash

John Brash and Co. has warned that complacency among roofing firms could derail the success of the recently updated BS 5534 regulations.

Despite the new rules, which were introduced on March 1 2015, acting as a ‘force for good’ in the roofing industry, the East Midlands-based timber company is concerned some firms may not continue to act within the full scope of the standard.

Chris Watson, managing director of John Brash, said: “The standard has been introduced for a reason, and lots of companies have made significant investments to adhere to BS 5534 – therefore offering their customers the assurance that the products they are providing meet the required quality standard.

“There will always be a boost when a new standard is introduced, but the trick the roofing industry has to pull off is not falling back into bad habits of using ungraded batten or, worse, using substandard batten masquerading as graded roofing battens.

Mr. Watson added that the guidelines are black and white when it comes to graded timber roofing battens and that the roofing industry needs to stand firm and not get distracted by ‘shades of grey that could erode the market.’

Under the upgraded standard, only battens that have been pre or factory graded to BS 5534 can be called or used as roofing battens. All roofing batten must be delivered to site marked with the name of the supplier, the origin (imported or British-gown, and/or species code), “graded BS5534” and the size. Each delivery should also be accompanied by documentation containing the same information.

According to John Brash, on-site grading is impractical and therefore is no longer an accepted practice to meet these requirements set in BS 5534:2014.

The introduction of these new rules under BS 5534 has been described by John Brash as having had an extremely positive effect on the roofing sector, particularly on sales. The company says it is on target to see a 35% increase in sales of its flagship JB-Red roofing batten in the 12 months since the introduction of BS 5534:2014. Mr. Watson puts the growth at the firm – which will celebrate its 110th anniversary later this year – down to a combination of factors, including the increase in the number of houses being built in the UK, industry backing for the new standard and the company’s investment in increasing its manufacturing capacity.

He said: “We are naturally delighted with the growth that John Brash is seeing in sales of our market-leading JB-Red. Organisations such as the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) should take a well-deserved pat on the back for their staunch support of the standard and its adoption across the industry, and this education has certainly played a role.

“And then, of course, there’s the increase in the number of houses that are being built in Britain, which is driving increases in all sectors that support the house-building and wider construction industry.”

Mr. Watson added: “We will continue to bang the drum on BS 5534 because we are passionate in our belief that it is the right thing for our industry, and we want to be at the forefront of championing it.”

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