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RCI January 2018

PITCHED ROOFING BS 5534: “There’s still some way to go in the education process” Over two years since BS5534 Rev. A1:2014 came into effect, Jeremy Lee, sales director at Aggregate Industries' Building Products Division, discusses how the industry has responded to the changes, and stresses that even after With Hurricane Ophelia having all this time, “there’s still some way to go in the education process” recently battered the Irish and Scottish western coastline, it is a timely reminder of how extreme weather can cause untold damage to our homes and buildings. Indeed, insurer NFU Mutual has estimated that it alone could pay as much as £10m in claims as a result. With the effects of climate change expected to raise havoc on global weather for years to come, it gives even greater credence to why BS5534 Rev. A1:2014 was introduced – to make pitched roofing more secure and resilient and to bring British regulations in line with EU standards. Recognising that the regulations make important strides in the safety of roofing and place a technical spotlight on the industry, Aggregate Industries, like most, has welcomed the introduction of these standards. We already offered a dry ridge system that enabled mechanical fixing to ridges and hips, so it was a simple process of alerting our customers to the new regulations and ensuring that the dry ridge system was included in all necessary orders. Needless to say, we have seen an increase in the sale of our dry ridge system since BS5534 Rev. A1:2014 was implemented. Enough education? Despite this upturn in sales, which would indicate that standards are mostly being observed, we are still hearing of instances where the traditional methods of mortar fixing are being used. I fell there are two primary reasons for this. Firstly, a lack of education with regards to the introduction of these new regulations and the guidelines with which to implement them. Secondly, a disregard – by some – of the regulations and safety reasons behind them in favour of more traditional and aesthetically pleasing methods of fixing. This is a worrying sight to see two years on from the introduction of BS 5534 Rev. A1:2014, so it’s necessary to ask, has enough been done to educate roofers? Anyone currently training to become a roofer will be taught to the correct standards. Likewise, there are those who are employed by a larger construction company or housebuilder who will have received training by their employer. However, what about self-employed tradesmen or those working for smaller companies, who may have formally trained many years ago, and are unlikely to have the time or money to retrain? It’s these roofers that may have fallen between the 068 JANUARY 2018 RCIMAG.COM gaps – potentially due to lack of resource or ignorance. New build homes undergo checks to ensure they meet the necessary regulations, however for older properties that need their roofs replaced or repaired, there is no one there to review the work, leaving these properties vulnerable to weather damage. Unaware of the dangers Aside from having the correct training, there are those who are aware of the changes, but the failure to comply is an issue of aesthetics. By removing the use of mortar, with some dry ridge systems you find that day light is visible between each ridge unit, which isn’t preferable. With our own unit, we have a simple but effective solution, in that each dry ridge box comes complete with black foam that goes over the 4.5mm diameter fixing screw to stop day light shining through. It also offers a high level of ventilation to each roof space. Despite this compliant solution, many still feel it doesn’t offer the same look as traditional methods and have been discarding the foam in favour of mortar. Two years on from the introduction of BS 5534 Rev. A1:2014, it’s clear to see there is still some work to be done to educate and train any ‘stragglers’. More discussion needs to be had in the industry as to how this is tackled, whether it’s lobbying the government to release grant funding to train these workers or an educational campaign effort by trade bodies to ensure everyone is aware of the guidelines. What’s important to remember is exactly why these new standards were introduced. Whilst the total damage caused by Hurricane Ophelia is still to be assessed, the roofing industry needs to ensure it is doing its part to reduce damage, injuries or fatalities caused by these adverse weather events. At the very least, all roofers, manufacturers and designers should be ensuring that they are compliant with these regulations. www.aggregate.com “What about self-employed tradesmen or those working for smaller companies, who may have formally trained many years ago, and are unlikely to have the time or money to retrain? Image shows installation of Aggregate Industries’ dry ridge system


RCI January 2018
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