BS 8612: a watershed for pitched roofing

Redland has welcomed the introduction of BS 8612: Dry-fixed Ridge, Hip and Verge Systems for Slating and Tiling, which was published on January 31, 2018. The new standard is a product specification, which frames minimum performance requirements for dry-fix roofing components: establishing that they are both fit-for-purpose, and are delivered with sufficient information to ensure correct installation.

The introduction of BS 8612 is in response to an increasing number of dry verge failures; primarily because of installation errors, but also contributed to by product design.

Dr Kevin Ley, technical manager of Redland, said: “Since BS 5534: 2014 – which brought about a step change in the requirements for fixing of pitched roofs both for roof tiles and ridge, hip and verges – we have seen an acceleration in the move away from traditional mortar fixing to modern dry-fix.

“Unfortunately, the resulting increased demand for dry-fix products and a lack of standardised performance requirements allowed products of questionable fitness for purpose to enter the market. The resulting problems meant there was a significant risk that past mistakes concerning mortar fix failures would be repeated.”

Though dry-fixed products have been on the market for decades, demand has burgeoned over the last five years. As a result, there’s also been a growth in the number of companies supplying lower cost, and often lower quality, products. The switch from traditional wet fix to dry fix was initially driven by changes to the National House Building Council (NHBC) guidance. In 2011, the NHBC analysed its claims figures and discovered that 60% of them were related to roofs and of all roof-related claims, over half involved mortar.

This led to changes in NHBC guidance in 2012, which said that all bedded ridge and hip tiles had to be mechanically fixed, and then ultimately to the 2014 revised version of BS 5534 Slating and Tiling for Pitched Roofs and Vertical Cladding – Code of Practice which standardised these changes.

As a result, many developers have migrated to dry-fix systems as they are faster to fit than double-fixed wet systems. However, the purchase of poor performing dry fix systems, or the failure to install quality components correctly, leads to roofs with problems. For example, this may mean ridge and/or hip tiles blown off by the wind; dry verges hanging from roof edges, or unsightly black staining down gable-end walls due to verges which do not shed rainwater properly. The latter problem of verge failure to shed rainwater away from the wall at worst, can lead to penetrating damp and compromise cavity wall insulation.

Dr Ley concluded: “The publication of BS 8612 is therefore an essential and welcome landmark for the industry. Not only will it ensure that dry-fix design and installation standards are raised, but also, that developers, contractors and building owners get the product quality and performance they deserve.”

Redland has produced a guide to the new standard, which can be downloaded from http://redland.co.uk/bs8612