Project1_Layout 1 07/05/2013 PITCHED ROOFING
Raising the roof for building
John Lambert, managing director at Forticrete, discusses why raising standards is important to the roofing industry
There are thousands of British Standards
across the construction industry. The
need for these is clear; they drive and
encourage advancements in the products
and services available. And we all
recognise and accept their importance in terms
of improved product design, best practice and
It is the adoption of better processes and
procedures, from manufacturing through
to installation, that directly contributes to
Following the introduction of BS 8612: Dry-fixed
Ridge, Hip and Verge Systems for Slating and Tiling
earlier this year, standards remain at the forefront
of the roofing industry. Standards such as this are
important because it is crucial to ensure products
remain fit-for-purpose and give everybody in the
supply chain confidence.
In recent years there has been significant
growth in the dry fix market leading to a surge in
the number of competing systems available. This
rise in popularity meant this category of products
warranted a recognised British Standard to ensure
minimum performance requirements were met.
Like other manufacturers, many of our
dry fix products are already being tested by
a UKAS-accredited test facility with the
remaining products completing testing shortly.
During testing, products are subjected to
extreme conditions, thus demonstrating that
they can withstand the worst weather conditions
experienced in the UK. Compliance not only
ensures products are manufactured to the highest
quality, but helps maintain and improve the
standard of roofing being installed.
Getting the spec right
It is important for roofing contractors and
installers to have the new standard in mind when
it comes to product selection because they also
have a key role to play in improving standards.
Using products which are not fit for the job or do
not meet relevant standards can mean that a roof
may not perform properly in the long-term.
Contractors and installers must uphold their
part in the ‘quality’ and standards process.
Specifying the right products, checking they are
appropriate for the project, and most importantly
installing them to the manufacturer’s guidelines
are all critical if a roof is to stand the test of
time. Such attention also ensures guarantees
and warranties are valid – any product/system
incompatibilities must be avoided.
By way of an example, one of the biggest
problems for pitched roofing is where components
are supplied from different sources. We are all
too aware of this issue having experienced this
first-hand. We recently had cause to make a legal
challenge to one company that claimed its own
systems were suitable for use with our products. In
this instance such statements were found to be misleading.
Our concern is that the cost of incorrect
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specification is high. It is something
that should be avoided at all costs as it will be the
contractor and installer left to pick up the pieces if,
or more likely when, something goes wrong.
Ease of use
At Forticrete, we also have a key role to play
in raising roofing standards through the design
of innovative products. Performance-based
standards, such as BS 8612 or BS 5534, tell us
how they should perform. But there is more to
product development than performance.
When we design a product, we do so with ease
of use in mind. It is an important focus for product
development given the current, and well-documented
skills shortage in the construction sector which can
hamper growth and thwart progress.
The ability to reduce the number of products
needed during the building process is the ‘holy
grail’ of construction. Using modern methods of
construction in our factory, we have been able to
manufacture a roof tile which achieves this.
SL8 is our large format concrete roofing tile.
Its innovative design provides greater coverage
than the more traditional products on the market.
It requires just eight tiles per square metre
compared to the ten tiles per square metre needed
for many alternatives.
With approximately 20% less tiles required
per roof, the tiles are quicker and easier to lay,
handle and transport. With less product required,
the potential for damage on-site and waste in the
manufacturing process is also reduced, resulting
in cost and time-savings.
Although we may not always think about them;
standards are a core part of the roofing industry.
By pushing forward in terms of performance and
product innovation they provide a win-win situation
for everyone in the supply chain.