28 February 2018

A roofing contractor’s guide to BS 8612

Recently, a new British Standard - BS 8612 - was launched. The development of the standard follows years of anticipation within the roofing industry. 

It is hoped that BS 8612, which went into effect on January 31st, 2018, will provide clarification and guidance to professionals ranging from roofing contractors to architects and other specifiers, about the best products and systems to use when creating dry-fixed ridges, hips and verges on slated and tiled roofs.

Why the new standard?

Back in 2014, some major revisions were made to BS 5534: Code of practice for slating and tiling. One of these changes was the removal of any contribution from bedding mortar to resist wind uplift - and this led to a significant shift towards dry-fix systems. 

Unfortunately, the increased use of these systems led to several new products being released to the market. And while all these dry-fix systems looked similar, their quality and performance varied dramatically - with many inferior products being created using cost-cutting measures.

The result was inconsistencies in durability and weather resistance, reported product failures and other problems such as staining to gable ends of buildings. This was due to poorly designed verge units preventing water from draining away from the walls.

As concern grew about the low-quality systems, the British Standards Institute began working with established manufacturers and organisations such as the National House-Building Council (NHBC) to develop the new standard.

BS 8612 provides recommendations for dry-fixed ridge and hip systems connected to timber ridge/hip battens, ridge boards or hip rafters, as well as dry-fixed verge systems that are installed with slating and tiling. 

The standard is not legally binding, but it does provide important guidance for creating a reliable roof - and it will be enforced by organisations like the NHBC. A clause has also been added to BS 5534 to say that dry-fix products need to meet the recommendations of BS 8612.

What BS 8612 means for roofing contractors

As a roofing contractor, you should be aware of BS 8612 and its recommendations because it’s the first time minimum quality standards have been defined for dry-fix systems. You will also probably start seeing the standard mentioned more in architects’ plans and other specifications. 

Architects will specify that dry-fix roofing systems need to be BS 8612 compliant (or marked as BBA-compliant), and they may stipulate a complete roofing system that meets the requirements of both BS 8612 and BS 5534. The reason for doing this, from an architects’ perspective, is that it protects them and removes their liability if an inferior product is substituted further down the line.

When choosing dry-fix systems, contractors should:
● Ensure that they meet the recommendations of BS 8612 or that they have BBA certification.
● Know that dry-verge products can no longer be installed with just a nail fixing into the end grain of the batten. Instead, mechanical engagement should be on the face of the batten. To help contractors and specifiers meet this requirement, we’ve developed our own batten-end clip.
● Understand that BS 8612 only sets out the minimum performance requirements - so there will still be quality differences between compliant products.

It’s also a good idea to switch over to  BS 8612-compliant products as soon as possible, and also be sure to update your buying policies accordingly.

As experts in dry-fix roofing systems, with more than 30 years of experience, Marley Eternit supports BS 8612 and we believe that it, like BS 5534, will help to improve pitched roofing throughout the UK’s building stock. Our roofing systems are also backed by a full 15-year guarantee for additional buying confidence.

To learn more about the British Standards that apply to dry-fix roofing systems, please take a look at our extensive collection of online resources. You can also contact our technical team on 01283 722588 to discuss your project.

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