The use of dry fix systems has significantly increased over the past few years, mainly due to new technical standards from the NHBC and the revised BS 5534, brought about by an increase in warranty claims in the construction sector and concerns about extreme weather.
However, while there has been an ongoing focus on the benefits of dry fix generally, this has led to a lack of understanding on the differences in the performance and reliability of dry fix systems. In fact, we recently conducted research which showed that more than one tenth of specifiers believe all fittings and systems are “pretty much the same”.
This is cause for concern because, while there has been an insurgence of dry fix products and systems into the market since the 1980s, not all perform to the same level. The inconsistency in component quality within dry fix systems has led to some reported product failures, such as ridge tiles not being fixed securely enough and ridge rolls not sticking to the roof tiles properly.
The concern surrounding this issue has led to the BSI roofing committee, which includes representatives from the NHBC, developing a new British Standard specifically for dry fix systems. This is the first time a statutory instrument to govern the products will be in place.
The new Standard is called BS 8612 and came into force at the end of 2017. It will ensure consistency of quality across products by defining the standards the materials are required to meet, i.e. performance, durability, mechanical fixing, weather tightness etc. At the moment it looks set to include verges, ridges and hips but not valleys or eaves.
As one of the first manufacturers to introduce dry fix more than 30 years ago, with our Universal Dry Verge System, we fully support the new Standard. We believe that, like BS 5534, it will further help to make pitched roofing in the UK more secure.
Although the new Dry Fix Standard isn’t due to be introduced until the end of this year, there are some steps that can be taken now to reduce risks. For instance, by using an established dry fix manufacturer with experience in accessories and tiles and by properly considering the quality of products and the testing the systems and their components have been through, specifiers and contractors can protect their reputation and their liability for a project. This can also help reduce call backs and ensure they are future proofed and ready for when the new Standard comes in.