Roofing standards and products predictions for 2014

Paul Reed, sales and marketing director, discusses the latest standards and developments that will affect roofing specification in 2014

After what has been a challenging and uncertain four years, 2014 looks set to bring added security for the roofing industry in more ways than one.  Economically, the building industry is now in a very different place to last year, with construction activity growing once again.

One of the most significant changes to roofing standards in 2014 will be the introduction of new regulations aimed at improving the security of the roof structure.  This could change the way tiles and slates are fixed in the UK following concerns about extreme weather and the security of mortar and will bring us into line with other European countries.

A revised version of BS5534, code of practice for slating and tiling, is due to be published by the middle of 2014.  Although the detail is not confirmed at this stage, we do know the revised standard is set to be in line with the Eurocode and is likely to result in more stringent roof tile fixing specifications nationally.   It is highly probable that all tiles will need to be mechanically fixed either with nails, clips or both and roof specifications will not be allowed to rely on mortar fixing alone.

As a result, there is likely to be an increase in the use of dry fix systems and a further market shift towards the use of fibre cement slates.  This is because they are naturally secure through design with a low profile leading edge which already incorporates both a nail and rivet fixing.  Even though the revised BS5534 is not published until later this year, we have already seen an increase in the use of fibre cement slates and secure fixing could be one of the driving factors, along with its cost and environmental benefits.  The fibre cement innovations we have introduced over the past year, with the launch of low pitch versions of our Birkdale and Thrutone products, have given increased design flexibility for architects.

We are also expecting the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to start to play a greater role in roofing specification during 2014. Significantly, EPD data can also be incorporated into BIM objects to give a complete overview of the environmental impact of a building and the products it uses.  This will become increasingly important as we start to see a shift in focus from just operation carbon to the carbon created in the construction of a building and pressure mounts to demonstrate the responsible sourcing of products and raw materials.

We are already seeing that BES 6001, the responsible sourcing standard, is becoming more widely adopted by clients, particularly in the public sector.   In fact, our roof tiles have been specified on several projects specifically because of our BES 6001 accreditation and we expect to see it becoming an even more important factor in product specification for construction over the next year.  Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising if BES 6001 is adopted into building standards in the near future.”

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