>>> • BLUE ROOFS • LOW PITCH ROOFS • TACKLING PAYMENT PAINS • NATURAL SLATE • >>>
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As we approach the final quarter of another tricky year for the roofing
and wider construction industry, it’s fair to say that ‘resilient’ might be a
good word to describe the owners of roofing businesses and their teams,
who have had to navigate the many challenges the past few years have
thrown at them.
Whilst contractors have had to balance extended lead times and material
shortages with volatility in terms of pricing when planning and delivering
projects, this is on top of the perennial problems such as recruiting skilled
workers and managing cashflow as costs soar and customers refuse to pay.
With this in mind, Alison Rowley, a Senior Associate in the disputes team at
law firm Taylors Solicitors, explains the options available to roofers and the
next steps to take when an end customer or employer under a construction
contract refuses to pay on completion of work. As Alison explains: “It is an
unfortunate reality that some customers will refuse to pay based on false
allegations of bad workmanship or due to a misunderstanding or lack of
knowledge.” You can read Alison’s advice on what to do in this scenario, and
her handy tips on how to prevent the issue arising on page 16.
Elsewhere in this issue, we talk all things natural slate with Ahmed El Helw of
SSQ (p20); John Mercer turns his attention to hipped roofs in our latest Roof
Shapes article (p22); James Ford of Permavent looks at the challenges around
low pitch roofing (p28); George King explains how a local focus and
empowering Branch Managers is benefiting SIG Roofing customers (p32); and
the experts at QI talk Blue Roofs in their latest column (p55).
So read on for all this and much more!
Front cover courtesy of the A. Proctor Group. Read about the
benefits of Roofshield, the manufacturer’s high-performing roofing
underlay on page 30.
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3 KEY FEATURES
16 ASK THE SOLICITOR...
This month Alison Rowley, a Senior Associate in
the disputes team at Taylors Solicitors, explains
the options available and the steps to take
when customers refuse to pay
20 TOTAL TALK: SSQ
We catch-up with Ahmed El Helw, MD of
natural slate specialist SSQ, to discuss his
career in the sector, supply chain challenges,
the importance of trust and why he’s optimistic
for the future...
58 STEPPING UP TO SAFETY
In the second instalment of his safety focus,
Trevor Rabson of Werner provides his ladder
facts and outlines best practice when it comes
to using a ladder safely
12 TAKING TRAINING TO YOU
Ross Finnie of SIG Design and Technology explains how
customised on-location product training makes life easier
26 STEP BY STEP: SOLAR PV
As demand continues to grow for solar PV, Dan Redfern
explains how easy it is to install Marley SolarTile
28 THE LOWDOWN
Permavent’s James Ford explains why ‘the Devil’s in the
Detail’ when it comes to low pitch roofing projects
32 SUPPLY TALK
George King reflects on the reorganisation of the SIG
Roofing business and how a local focus benefits customers
34 GREEN ROOF SUCCESS
Carl Bailey of Firestone Building Products explains how
roofers can ensure they create a green roof that lasts
46 TAPERED TALK
Morgan Woolf of Kingspan Insulation discusses the
many benefits of tapered insulation
4 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
14 NFRC ROOFING TALK
Mark Spragg discusses his role as Regional
Manager for South West England and Wales
22 PERFECTLY PITCHED
This month Roofing Consultant John Mercer turns
his attention to hipped roofs
50 KNAUF INSULATION
As energy prices continue to climb, Bradley Hirst
explains how you can help customers insulate
their homes for winter
55 QI BY QI
The experts at Quantum Insulation talk Blue
Roofs, explaining what they are, why demand is
growing, and what they mean for your insulation
06 SURVEY SAYS...
Klober’s recent survey shows that product
availability remains the top challenge for roofers
10 NEW FACES ON BOARD AT NARM
NARM has welcomed three new Directors to its board
providing a “major boost” for the rooflight Association
Pauline Manley, Marketing
Director at Klober, comments
on the company’s latest
sector survey findings
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 5
More news, updates and interviews at www.total-contractor.co.uk
SURVEY SAYS PRODUCT AVAILABILITY IS
STILL THE MAIN ISSUE FOR ROOFING
Responding to the latest figures from the
Office for National Statistics which show a
fall in construction activity of 1.4% in
June, the Federation of Master Builders
has stated this is a growing concern for
small builders given the wider fall of 6.1%
for private new housing and the continuing
fall of 0.2% for repair, maintenance and
improvement (RMI) work.
Brian Berry (pictured) Chief Executive of the
Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said:
“Costs are up across the
board for both builders
and consumers alike
which is affecting
With 98% of FMB
members experiencing material
cost increases, builders are inevitably having
to pass on these costs to consumers. The
result is that householders are starting to hold
back with many households increasingly
concerned about rising energy prices and the
threat of a recession later in the year.”
Berry concluded: “With the Government at a
standstill, we won’t see any ambitious
announcements to help support the sector
until September when the new Prime Minister
will be announced.
“In the meantime, the Conservative
leadership candidates need to be explaining
what they intend to do to help the
construction sector boost economic growth.
Cutting the rate of VAT from 20% to 5% or
below on all repair, maintenance and
improvement work would be a welcome start
to help boost building work all across the
country, and help people insulate their homes
ahead of further rising energy bills.”
Availability and lack of stock remains the
number one issue for roofing installers in the
UK, according to the latest third-party
research commissioned by roofing
components company, Klober.
Klober says two hundred roofing installers were
surveyed about their profession, buying
behaviours and the key challenges they are facing
in the industry, with almost a third stating
availability was their biggest issue.
The survey shows recruitment and lack of skilled
labour was a close second, with 22% stating this
as their main challenge. Klober points out this has
similarly been coined the number one issue by
some construction bodies, whilst the number of
workers in UK construction in Q1 2022 was said
to be 263,000 lower than in the same quarter of
2019, according to the Office for National
In terms of behaviours, Klober’s survey
highlighted roofing contractors showed signs of
returning to pre-Covid purchasing habits with an
11% increase in face-to-face purchasing from
Klober’s 2021 research – jumping from 78% to
Klober says when deciding on which roofing
products to use, the majority of roofers mainly rely
on their own experience. However, the
manufacturer says this has decreased from 82%
to 68% since 2021, whereas there has been an
increase in contractors wanting to seek support
from suppliers such as Klober or merchant staff –
rising from 68% to 74%. Klober also points out
there has been an 11% increase in roofers looking
to a supplier’s or merchant’s website – from 29%
to 40% respectively.
Klober also conducted a similar exercise with
merchants for the first time, alongside contractors
and installers. Of 194 merchant staff surveyed,
71% put availability as the main issue.
Above: Pauline Manley, Marketing Director at Klober.
Klober says it is taking action to respond to these
challenges, with particular focus being placed on
availability. As well as recently expanding storage
in its distribution centre, the manufacturer says it
has always prioritised retaining as much control
over its product as possible to protect its
Pauline Manley, Marketing Director at Klober,
commented: “Although it’s a challenging time for
industry, and this research clearly highlights this,
we are proud to be part of the BMI Group which
enables us to retain more control over our end-toend
supply chain. Having a considerable number
of manufacturing plants throughout Europe means
we can be versatile in our manufacturing
arrangements, at the same time as ensuring
effective and consistent product supply.”
Key findings from Klober’s survey:
• Availability is the roofing industry’s number one
• The labour and skills shortage is the second
• Roofers are returning to face-to-face
• More contractors are looking to merchants for
support when selecting products.
More on challenges for roofers – survey claims
roofers are the most likely trade to have turned
down work due to material shortages – page 8.
6 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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New research has revealed the stark
impact that the materials shortage has had
on workers in the sector.
The study, conducted by IronmongeryDirect, a
leading UK supplier of specialist ironmongery,
found that more than three-quarters (78%) of
tradespeople have struggled to source the
materials they’ve needed in the last year.
As a result, the survey says almost half
(46%) have had to delay or turn down work,
and nearly a fifth (19%) have been forced to
let customers down after committing to jobs.
More news, updates and interviews at www.total-contractor.co.uk
ROOFSHIELD CRUCIAL TO HISTORIC PROJECT
A prominent historic building in
Paisley town centre which had fallen
into disrepair is in the process of
being restored with the help of
Renfrewshire Council’s Townscape
Heritage Conservation Area
The scheme aims to improve the built
environment in Paisley town centre and
is funded by National Lottery Heritage
Fund, Historic Environment Scotland
and Renfrewshire Council.
When asked which specific materials they’ve
found difficult to find, the most common
replies were paint (21%), timber (19%) and
Unfortunately, the survey found that more
than one in five (22%) respondents said that
they can’t see the shortage easing anytime
soon, and that they believe problems will
continue into 2023. Likewise, roofers are said
to be the most likely workers to have had to
turn down work (60%) as a result of the
Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at
IronmongeryDirect, said: “The materials
shortage continues to be one of the industry’s
main challenges, with workers across all
trades finding it hard to source what they
need to meet the demand for their services.
“The impact is felt in many ways –
financially, as many have had to refuse work
as a result, but also personally, as our recent
Mental Health in the Trades report found that
the shortage is one of the main causes of
stress for tradespeople in 2022.
“In recent weeks, there have been signs of the
situation easing slightly, so hopefully things
will continue to improve as the year goes on.”
The property dates back to 1840 and is
a grade B-listed stone-faced terraced
building at 3 County Place, with a
slated roof and situated in a prominent
location opposite Paisley Gilmour Street
train station. The 3-storey structure
comprises three shops on the ground floor, with
two upper floors left derelict for over 20 years.
The restoration project, led by Paisley architect
John Martin, consists of converting the upper
floors into four dwellings (two 2-bedroom and two
3-bedroom) and external repairs, including new
windows, stonework, and roof works.
As part of the roof works, protection for the roof will
include a new roofing membrane, new leadwork
and the re-use of the original slates. All existing
slates to the front elevation will be kept and used to
maintain the appearance of the surrounding
buildings with CUPA H3 slate fitted to the rear. All
existing sarking to the roof will be replaced.
In selecting a suitable membrane, Architect John
Martin explained: “I chose Roofshield for the roof
underlay because it is both air and vapour
permeable and requires no additional ventilation
to the roof. Roofshield is my preferred roofing
membrane. It is strong and robust and meets all
of the key criteria.”
The incorporation of the A. Proctor Group’s
Roofshield into a project can lead to savings in
both labour and material costs due to no
additional VCL being required. The highperformance
air permeability of Roofshield means
that the roof space will have similar air changes to
that of a roof using traditional eaves/ridge
The roof structures of historic buildings can be
complex, and the sensitive nature of these
projects demands careful consideration of
moisture management and condensation control.
Many vapour permeable underlays use an airtight
VP film layer to achieve their performance.
However, Roofshield’s patented SMS (Spunbond
Meltblown Spunbond) structure allows high levels
of airflow, in addition to the transport of moisture
vapour, making the formation of condensation in
the roof space virtually impossible. It has an
extremely high degree of vapour permeability and
air permeability, so it will still perform in
conditions in which airtight alternatives will not.
The high performance of Roofshield, backed by
two BBA Certificates, has been successfully used
in preserving and protecting the fabric of a wide
range of historic and listed buildings for 25 years.
8 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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Tel: 01487 841400
More news, updates and interviews at www.total-contractor.co.uk
NARM, the National Association of
Rooflight Manufacturers, has appointed
three new Directors to its board.
Sioned Roberts, Marketing Director at
Whitesales; Jon Shooter, Group Managing
Director at Glazing Vision; and Conor Logan,
Technical Director at Kingspan Light + Air,
bring immense and diverse experience to
NARM, whose membership encompasses
manufacturers and suppliers of all types of
NARM Chairman Ian Weakford said: “These
board appointments are a major boost to
NARM’s resources and knowledge base.
Sioned, Jon and Conor will each play an
important role in helping us to fulfil our
purpose: to support best practice in all
aspects of rooflighting, from design and
specification, to installation and
maintenance. I and my fellow Directors are
delighted to welcome them to the board and
we look forward to working closely together.”
He continued: “The construction industry
currently faces many challenges, with
legislative changes, supply chain issues and
the need to urgently address climate change.
Trade associations like NARM can help to
deliver positive change by developing
effective responses to these challenges.”
BDA APPROVAL FOR EUROFORM’S WEATHERCLAD
Euroform’s shiplap cladding, WeatherClad, has
achieved BDA Agrément certification following
rigorous assessment for safety and fitness for
purpose, including fire performance.
A low maintenance, wood-effect cladding system
designed for external application to existing and
new domestic and non-domestic buildings,
WeatherClad has a natural timber look with
random embossed grain. It is an autoclaved
reinforced cement siding board.
WeatherClad now carries third party
BDA Agrément certification
from KIWA, a certification
recognised by architects,
specifiers, engineers and
Certification confirms the
product’s suitability and fitness for
purpose in terms of structural performance and
durability. It also covers behaviour in relation to fire
– it has European Classification A2-s1,d0, in
accordance with BS EN 13501-1.
Commenting on the news, John Taylor, Euroform’s
Technical Director, said: “Confirmation of BDA
Agrément certification after thorough testing will
give customers that extra layer of confidence in
WeatherClad. Along with its good looks, excellent
performance, ease to work, speed of fix and ready
availability in the customer’s preferred quantities,
this certification makes WeatherClad a great
Euroform says there is no minimum
order for WeatherClad and it can be
purchased from Euroform in split pallets,
helping customers to avoid waste.
The company says WeatherClad is available in 21
standard colours plus RAL colours upon request.
Euroform says it has many colours in stock and
others are available within a two to three week
delivery period, plus it also offers a comprehensive
range of colour matched profiles and trims.
Euroform points out the supporting framework for
WeatherClad, most commonly timber battens, must
have adequate durability for the intended use and
comply with applicable national building codes.
Images: WeatherClad is available in 21
standard colours plus RAL colours upon
VIVALDA GROUP PROVIDES STAFF WITH £1,000 COST OF LIVING AWARD
Vivalda Group, the UK’s largest independent
distributor of safety-assured cladding, says it is
matching the likes of Taylor Wimpey,
housebuilder Barratt, and Rolls Royce by
giving each of its employees £1,000 to
help them manage rising living costs.
Operating 12 business units across the UK and
Ireland, Vivalda Group employs 150 people who will
each receive the financial support in four monthly
payments of £250, which commenced in August.
Peter Johnson (pictured) said: “My staff are
dedicated and hard-working, with a growing
number giving over twenty years’ loyal
service; the idea of even one of this superb
team fretting over higher utility bills does not sit
comfortably with me when something can be done
to help. Vivalda is already one of the London Stock
Exchange’s ‘Companies to Inspire Britain’ and I
want us to live up to that reputation with action and
not just words. Vivalda Group prides itself in doing
the right thing – by its customers, its suppliers,
and the colleagues who’ve made it the market’s
10 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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TRAINING YOUR WAY
Contractor product training has traditionally meant a full day learning in a
manufacturer classroom, but there’s a new methodology emerging. Ross Finnie, Sales
Director for SIG Design and Technology, explains how customised on-location training
could be an option, with comment from Jamie McNeill from Manuka Roofing...
When we talk to contractors, training is a
topic which is often at the top of their
agenda. However, much like any
building solution, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all
approach’. What works for one might not work for
others and we all have our own ways we learn
best. This type of feedback is what led us to
adopt a more customer-first approach to training.
We’ve always offered and supported
our contractors and customers with
any product or system training,
particularly in the case of some
products where this is mandatory
prior to purchasing.
Typically, it would involve two and a half
days of learning in a classroom
environment either at the
manufacturer or at one of our
training centres around the UK.
These are run as workshops and allow
contractors to get hands-on with the
products and hear from the experts
While ideal for some, we heard from
our fair share of trainees that the
classroom environment isn’t for them
and it’s a day off site which they would
have preferred to avoid. From wanting to reduce
their travelling through to preferring a more
personal touch, it became clear another approach
The consensus was to move the classroom
outside and bring it to the contractors on location.
This would involve sending one of our Area
Technicians, plus any manufacturer supporting
staff, to a contractor’s site to provide the training
“The training featured
a mixture of theorybased
in a realistic and relevant
environment for them.
“A seamless start”
Jamie McNeill from Manuka Roofing is
one contractor who took up the offer from
SIG D&T, in partnership with IKO, for
training at their offices: “Nigel Fields,
the Area Technician, arrived on site
and began to set up in our own
training room. All the materials were
delivered the day before so there was
no delay with product, and training rigs were
set up in advance so it was seamless
from the very start.”
“It felt more
personal to us”
The training featured a mixture of theory based
learning and practical, hands-on experiences
which benefited the contractors. “Because it was
just our team and it was on site, it felt more
personal to us. Importantly, the team were
comfortable being able to ask questions easily
throughout. With it being a smaller group, it was
more one-on-one, and the team took away more
from the experience.”
By conducting the training on location, the
savings on time and money were immediate, but
it also meant other staff members would be able
to join in. “We’ve got our own Quality Assurance
Manager who conducts site visits who was able
to join in on the course. It adds to our Quality
Assurance credentials, having a fully trained
installation and assurance team. In turn this
means clients and manufacturers can be more
confident in our work, especially when it comes to
For Jamie and the team, they found this
approach for training far easier and more
rewarding. Recognising that not everyone learns
at the same pace meant that the smaller training
sessions gave the proper time for each
contractor to make sure they understood what
For contractors looking to provide a level of
assurance and peace of mind for both their
clients and their own teams, product training is
an ideal solution. By providing the option for
either on-location or classroom training,
contractors are able to select the type of
environment best suited to them.
When it comes to learning, there isn’t a right or
wrong way, but what is clear is manufacturers
provide training which suits the contractor and
removes any barriers for uptake. We believe in a
customer-first approach, by listening to what our
customers want, we’ve provided a solution which
benefits them and ensures training meets their
Further info on system or product training:
12 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
Roofing experts on-hand to offer help and advice
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NFRC Roofing Talk
THE ROLE OF AN NFRC REGIONAL
Mark Spragg, Regional Manager for South West England and Wales, sheds light on
what is takes to deliver a great service to local Members and their clients.
For the past fourteen years I have had the
privilege of being the Regional Manager of
NFRC’s (National Federation of Roofing
Contractors) South West England and Wales
Region. During this time I have seen NFRC and
the Region develop and evolve. Though changes
have taken place, as indeed there should be in
any dynamic organization, there remain some
constants that are the essentials of the role,
which I will outline below.
It isn’t my intention to go into minute detail about
the routine administrative tasks that the job
requires. For one thing, there isn’t the time or
space in this article to do that! Suffice to say that
without the incredible support provided by the
staff at NFRC HQ, this part of the job would be
immensely difficult, and nigh on impossible.
However, these tasks are critical both for the
smooth running of the Region and the wellbeing
of our members.
Firstly, I want to touch on the role of the Regional
Committee and its relationship with the Regional
Manager. I have been very fortunate in that the
committee I inherited, and the one that I now
work with, have been nothing but supportive and
committed to the Region. The members of the
committee give up their time in order to assist the
Manager in delivering a service to both NFRC
Members and their customers. The composition
of the committee is key. They need to be a diverse
group both in their roofing skills and in their
geographical spread. This assists the Manager in
remaining in touch with all the local variations
taking place within the Region. In addition, the
committee provide technical support, not only at
regional level, but as part of the national
technical committees. Without their willingness to
support the Regional Manager in almost every
Manager is at
the end of a
email, ready to
aspect of the job it would be a very difficult task
Before leaving the subject of the committee I
want to mention the Regional Chair. In essence
the person in this position acts as the Regional
Manager’s boss! Communication is not always
daily but it is very regular as it is the Chair that
the Manager asks more of. It is not an
overwhelming job but it is one that is fairly
demanding. I have been fortunate in that all of my
Regional Chairs have, despite being very busy
themselves, always made time for NFRC.
Point of contact
The Regional Manager is the point of contact for
members of the public. There are occasions that
this can be rewarding such as directing potential
customers to the ‘Find a contractor’ facility on
the website. It is not unknown for customers to
contact the Regional Manager and thank them!
The Regional Manager can also manage liaison
between the contractor and client on the odd
occasion that something goes wrong – this can
be rewarding too, providing a service that is at
the heart of the role, promoting the role of NFRC
to the wider public as upholders of high
standards in the industry.
Left: Mark Spragg, NFRC Regional Manager
for South West England and Wales.
Finally, I want to consider the
Member. The Regional
Manager has a primary
responsibility to the Trade
Member from the time the
applicant company applies to join
and throughout their membership tenure.
The Regional Manager organizes the initial
inspections of the company as well as the
periodic ones, to ensure they maintain and
continue to maintain the highest professional
Regional events are again the responsibility of the
Manager. They exist for the benefit of the regional
Trade Member and our Supplier Members who all
have representatives at regional level. In fact, you
will find some of these individuals sitting on
many a regional committee providing invaluable
support in every way.
Above all though, the role of the Regional
Manager is to provide support to their Trade
Members. Everything that I have mentioned in
this article is really designed to support the
Regional Manager in this task. The Regional
Manager is at the end of a phone or email, ready
to respond when the Trade Member needs
assistance and to help them get the most out of
their NFRC membership.
The Regional Manager role is varied, busy and
can be challenging, but supporting the members
provides an opportunity to be of help and make a
difference each and every day.
14 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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Ask the Solicitor
PAYMENT PAINS: WHAT TO DO WHEN
CUSTOMERS REFUSE TO PAY
In our latest column from the experts at law firm Taylors Solicitors, Alison Rowley, a
Senior Associate in the disputes team, looks at the challenges around poor payment
practices and explains the steps to take when end customers and clients hold back
payment – an all too common occurrence in construction which can have a
devastating impact on businesses...
QI have recently completed a partial
renovation job for a customer. It all
seemed to be going well, but now they
are refusing to pay – what are the options
available to me and next steps I should take?
AFor someone whose father worked in the
building trade, I know this issue all too
well. What is the point in working hard and
completing a job if you don’t get paid?
As you have not said whether the job was for an
end customer or for an employer under a
construction contract, I will deal with both
scenarios. Furthermore, I will add some handy
tips to help you try and prevent this issue arising
in the future.
Working directly for the homeowner:
The first thing is to work out why you are not
being paid. Is it because your customer has cash
problems? Or is it because they are unhappy with
the job, or another reason?
Politely approaching your customer can often get
to the bottom of this and allow you to make
informed decisions. It is a good idea to keep a
paper trail of communications, so sending an
email may be best initially. Failing that, a more
direct approach by telephone or even a meeting
If your customer has cash issues, then you may
be able to agree a payment plan or, if you prefer
to be paid in full quickly, serve a formal statutory
demand. This process can help push payments
through because the customer risks bankruptcy if
Alison Rowley is a Senior Associate in the
disputes team at commercial law firm Taylors
Solicitors. She has more than 15 years’
experience on a range of legal issues, including
handling contractual and supply chain disputes
and recovering monies owed. For further
information, contact Alison via
“It is an unfortunate reality that some customers
will refuse to pay based on false allegations of
bad workmanship or due to a misunderstanding
or lack of knowledge”
they do not comply with the demand.
If your customer says they are unhappy with the
work, you can ask to inspect it to see whether
there is a genuine issue, a misunderstanding or
an attempted excuse not to pay. Your customer
should only withhold a reasonable sum even if
there is an issue, so getting to the bottom of this
could see you reach an agreement for part
payment at least, while other steps are taken to
resolve any outstanding issues.
If, having looked at the work, you do not agree
there is a problem, then you can look to start a
court process. It is an unfortunate reality that
some customers will refuse to pay based on false
allegations of bad workmanship or due to a
misunderstanding or lack of knowledge.
The court process starts by following the Pre-
Action Protocol for Debt Claims. This can be
viewed at www.justice.gov.uk. It may initially
look daunting but, in reality, it sets out what steps
you should take before issuing proceedings. It is
aimed at settling claims or narrowing the issues
before proceedings are issued.
At first, you must write a letter to your customer
16 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
setting out the information listed in the Protocol.
Your customer has 30 days to reply. If your
customer requests documents, then provide
copies. If they require time to pay, then try and
reach agreement. If they seek debt advice, then
you must allow at least 30 days from being told
this before you issue a claim.
If matters do not resolve using the Protocol, then
you can make a claim at court either online or on
paper. The easiest way is online at
www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. There is a helpful user
guide to follow. You register with the service and
issue a claim by completing an online claim form
and paying the appropriate fee.
The court sends this to your customer, who must
respond within a set timeframe. If they fail to
respond you can ask the court to enter judgement
immediately, otherwise they can admit the claim,
admit part or defend it. If they admit part, then
you can decide whether to accept or reject this
offer. Ultimately, if settlement cannot be agreed,
your claim will be listed for a hearing where a
judge will decide whether money is owed and the
It is sensible to get some legal advice if going
down the court route, although claims valued at
less than £10,000 are dealt with through the
small claims court where solicitors’ costs are
generally not recoverable, so this may determine
whether you take advice.
Tips to avoid non-payment by a direct
Before undertaking any work, it is best to have a
written agreement which sets out clearly the
works to be done, by when, the cost (split into
labour and materials) and when payment is
Try to agree advance payments for materials, and
staged payments for the works, to guide you on
whether there is likely to be an issue over
payment that can be addressed sooner.
Before, during and after the works, consider taking
photographs to evidence what has been done.
Check your customer is
happy as you go along by
asking them whether
they would like
anything checking or
Raise invoices in a
timely way to prevent
excuses due to delay.
“It is best to have
a written agreement
which sets out clearly
the works to be done,
by when, the cost (split
into labour and
materials) and when
payment is expected”
Working as a sub-contractor:
If your work was done for an employer under a
construction contract, then how you are paid and
what steps you can take to receive payment are
very different from above.
Firstly, you are likely to have a written contract
which should comply with legislation known as
the Construction Act (‘Act’), failing which the
Act’s terms will be implied. There are numerous
standard form contracts such as JCT, NEC and
FIDIC, containing terms in compliance with the
Act. The Act broadly gives contractual rights to
payment and access to a process called statutory
adjudication to resolve issues quickly.
You are free to agree on the amount of the
payments and the intervals when they become
due, but the Act sets out a payment mechanism
aimed to ensure cash flow in the industry.
Payments are due through the issue of payment
notices stating the amount considered to be due
and the basis of calculation. A payment notice
must be given no later than five days after the
payment is due by your employer, or any other
party specified in your contract, failing which you
can serve a notice.
If your employer intends
to pay less than the
amount in your notice,
it must issue a pay
less notice before the
agreed time in your
contract, or in absence
seven days before the final
payment date. Payment must be
made for the sum stated in the last
valid served notice on the final payment date. If
not, you can refer the matter to the Adjudicator
who will give a binding decision in 28 days which
can be enforced through the courts using an
expedited procedure if necessary.
Tips to avoid non-payment by an
In construction contracts notices are crucial, so if
you mainly work this way, it’s worth familiarising
yourself with the payment procedures and
following them correctly.
More involved contracts may have a contracts
administrator who, while appointed by the
employer, has a degree of impartiality and may be
able to smooth over payment issues before they
Overall, knowing your customer is essential to
help you put preventative measures in place.
There are options available to you, so do
consider getting some legal advice as often you’ll
find that pursuing the correct strategy will
resolve your payment difficulties quicker and
Have you got a legal or business query you’d
like the team at Taylors to address? Email:
email@example.com and we’ll ask
the experts to provide clarity in a future column.
Contact Taylors Solicitors
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 17
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Total Talk: SSQ
“THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME – PEOPLE
LOVE NATURAL MATERIALS”
Total Contractor puts the questions to Ahmed El Helw, Managing Director of SSQ,
discussing the importance of trust in business, why people love natural materials, and
why, despite the challenges of the last few years, he feels there are reasons to be
optimistic for those in roofing and the wider construction industry...
TC: Tell us a bit about SSQ, the history of
the company, and the types of projects
your customers get involved with.
A.EH: SSQ, or Spanish Slate Quarries as it was
then, started life in 1980.
Looking back now, it was an incredibly bold, some
would say naïve, step to take. I had no real
knowledge of slate – I’d been working for the
Qatari Foreign Office, which obviously had
nothing to do with building products whatsoever.
But after befriending a Spanish teacher, I
ended up going with him to a mining
exhibition in Ponferrada, effectively
the capital of Spanish slate
There, I saw Spanish slate being
hand-split for the first time. I was
transfixed and that’s what set me on the
path to becoming a supplier of it.
It was one of those moments where if I’d turned a
different corner, my life would’ve ended up going
in a completely different direction.
Today, we supply hundreds of pallets of our
world-class Del Carmen natural slate and
Riverstone phyllite to a huge array of different
projects and properties around the world – from
renovations of historic Listed buildings to cuttingedge
TC: You recently celebrated the 30-year
partnership between yourselves and
supplier Del Carmen. What do you feel
has been the secret to this relationship,
Left: Ahmed El Helw, Managing Director at SSQ; Above: Bodmin Jail project which used Riverstone slate.
and how has it navigated
the ups and downs of
what must have been some
real highs, as well as
turbulent times for construction over
the three decades?
A.EH: That’s easy – trust. I think that’s the
secret to lasting relationships in business.
In all the years we’ve worked together, Del
Carmen’s owners and I have never signed a
formal contract. We respect and trust each other
to an extent that we’ve just never needed one.
As you say, we’ve been through plenty of ups and
downs in that time, but that relationship has
It’s a friendship, and like all good friendships, you
support each other through good times and bad.
“There are always
reasons for optimism”
Our relationship with Del Carmen has also
allowed us to build excellent partnerships with
customers who’ve remained loyal to us for
decades in Bethesda in the US, Melbourne in
Australia and many others throughout the UK –
something we’re especially proud of without a
TC: How have contractors’ expectations
and requirements changed over the
A.EH: Fundamentally, I don’t think they have
changed. People want what they always wanted
– a quality product that’s been extensively
tested, has a proven track record of excellence
around the world, and is available with decent
20 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
lead times at a price they can accept.
Within that, there’s some variation – some
people put more emphasis on cost, others on
quality. There’s obviously a lot more focus on
accreditations and environmental factors than
there used to be, too. But generally, I think what
people are looking for is the same.
TC: Despite the talk around sustainability
and improving build quality on projects,
would you say price is the main driver for
projects? If so, how do we change that
mentality? Is it possible to move away
from a ‘race to the bottom’ mentality?
A.EH: If the price was always the main driver, SSQ
would have gone out of business decades ago – in
fact, it may never have even got off the ground.
We offer a range of products suitable for different
price points, but fundamentally, natural slate is a
premium material. It’s always going to be more
expensive than synthetic alternatives.
There have always been people in our industry
with a race to the bottom mentality, and I suspect
there always will be. There are also those who
appreciate quality and the huge investment that
goes in to supplying world-class natural
TC: What is it about natural slate that has
enabled it to stay so current despite it
being such an ancient material, and
equally as relevant on modern buildings
and projects as heritage builds?
A.EH: I think the clue is in the name – people
love natural materials. They feel an almost
emotional connection to it. I’ve never seen
anyone have that sort of reaction to something
From a more practical standpoint, natural slate is
still one of the best materials on the market when
it comes to performance. It offers excellent
weather resistance and longevity, and that keeps
it in constant demand.
In the years ahead, I think its naturalness will
Clockwise from top left: 30th anniversary trip; The Broadmeadow project which used SSQ’s Riverstone slate; Del carmen slate.
“Some put more
emphasis on cost,
others on quality”
become even more of an asset. It’s vastly more
sustainable to extract slate with electric tools
than it is to run the enormous kilns required to
make ceramic and porcelain tiles.
Combined with our investment in carbon
offsetting, it makes SSQ one of the most ecofriendly
businesses of its kind.
TC: Are there reasons to be hopeful
looking ahead for the sector? Any chance
of some much-needed tranquillity within
the market?! Something that I’m sure all
in the supply chain would welcome!
A.EH: There are always reasons for optimism, but
I don’t think we’ll see change come very quickly.
We’ve been through an incredible series of events
over the last three years, and the impact has
But it’s like we saw with COVID – when crises
strike, the initial disruption is huge, but society
eventually finds ways to adapt, and over time
things very gradually return to normal.
At the time of writing, we’re already starting to
see fuel prices come down slightly.
None of us know what lies around the corner. The
Bank of England is now predicting a long but mild
recession. But I suspect over the next six months
we’ll see the situation as regards supply chain
disruption and price rises gradually improve.
TC: What’s next for SSQ? How do you see
the company developing over the next
decade or so?
A.EH: In the coming years, our focus will be
where it’s always been – on bringing world-class
natural slate and phyllite material to discerning
customers all around the world.
We’ll continue to champion the many benefits of
natural materials, and their exceptional
performance when it comes to roofing, flooring
I’d also like us to help lead the way in tackling the
sector’s ongoing skills shortage, by taking part in
the development of a proper slating school, which
will ensure our material is laid down as it deserves.
Looking any further ahead, that’s not for me to
say – that’ll be down to the next generation to
020 8038 2675
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 21
ROOF SHAPES PART TWO:
Throughout this series of articles exclusively for Total Contractor magazine, Technical
Pitched Roofing Consultant John Mercer is focusing on some of the common – and
some not so common – roof shapes. This month, he takes a closer look at the key
considerations when it comes to hipped roofs.
Ahip is an external junction formed where
two roof faces set at different plan angles
meet. The most common example is where
two roof faces set at 90 degrees on plan meet,
such as the corner of a building, though they can
occur at different plan angles, for example, a
hexagonal (120 degree on plan) or an octagonal
(135 degree on plan) tower.
A common arrangement is where the hip ends of
a roof are set at the same pitch as the main roof
planes, though this is not always the case.
Sometimes the hip ends are set at a different
pitch to the main roof planes.
Hips can add architectural interest to a roof,
particularly when using tiles such as large
format flat interlocking tiles, though
they restrict the number of solar
panels that can be installed.
General setting out
Unlike a gabled roof, when
using single lap tiles there are
no restrictions in setting out
across the roof, as tiles in every
course must be cut at the hip. Although it
would be ideal to set out to avoid small cut
pieces at the hips, this is just not practical.
Generally, the steeper the roof pitch, the less
acute the cut angle is, reducing the number of
very small cut pieces. Of course, the tiling should
still be set out by firstly establishing the average
cover width of the tiles and then striking vertical
chalk lines to maintain vertical lines in the tiling.
When using double lapped plain tiles it is
Left: John Mercer; Above: Bonnet hip using plain tiles – image credit: Tudor Roof Tiles.
“Hips can add architectural interest to
a roof, particularly when using tiles
such as large format flat interlocking
tiles, though they restrict the number of
solar panels that can be installed”
generally necessary to use tile-and-half tiles
at, or close to, the hip to maintain the minimum
side lap, which is 55mm for standard size plain
tiles. When using bonnet, or arris hip tiles,
depending on the roof pitch and shape of the hip
tiles, standard width tiles can be set next to the
hip tiles, with cut tile-and-half tiles used further
across the tile course to maintain the bond.
Where unequal roof pitches meet at a hip and
continuity in the tiling courses needs to be
maintained at both sides of the hip, tile battens
on the lesser pitch should be set out first, at the
maximum tile gauge. Battens on the steeper pitch
can then be fixed to line up with the first battens.
This will result in a shorter gauge on the steeper
roof slope, which is not a problem for variable
gauged single lapped tiles and double lapped
plain tiles, but may not be possible for some fixed
gauged clay tiles.
Continued on page 24
22 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
Whatever the project
we have a rainwater system to suit
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Traditional and modern gutters,
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For more information please
call 0113 279 5854 or email
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ALUMINIUM FASCIA & SOFFITS
Above: Single lap tiles with hips. Visit www.total-contractor.co.uk to read John’s first column in his latest series which focuses on gable-to-gable roofs.
Continued from page 22
When setting out from eaves to ridge, set the first
course battens so that the eaves tiles project over
the edge of the fascia or tilt fillet by 50mm, with
effective drainage into the gutter. At the ridge, set
the battens so that the ridge tiles will overlap the
top course tiles by at least 75mm.
Tile courses between the eaves and ridge should
be set out evenly to provide the minimum tile
headlap. This should not be a problem for double
lapped plain tiles and variable gauge tiles. For
fixed gauge clay tiles, the battens must be set out
at the recommended gauge, with a cut course of
tiles at eaves or ridge, if necessary.
Tile, ridge, and hip fixings
All tiles in eaves and ridge courses should be twice
fixed. Depending upon the tile type and the
calculated fixing specification, fixings could either
be two nails – if the tiles have two nail holes – or a
head nail and a tail clip. At the hips, the adjacent
tiles, including cut tile pieces, should be twice fixed.
For single lapped tiles, the manufacturer can supply
proprietary fixings to secure the cut pieces. For
small cut pieces, a suitable roofing adhesive can be
used as one of the fixings to bond them to the
adjacent tile. Consult the tile manufacturer for its
recommendations on securing small cut tile pieces.
A calculated fixing specification from the tile
manufacturer will detail how tiles in the Local and
General roof areas should be fixed.
All ridge and hip tiles must be mechanically fixed.
This can be achieved using a dry fix ridge and hip
system, which will not only secure the ridge and
hip tiles, but will also provide high level roof
space ventilation. If ridge and hip tiles are to be
mortar bedded, each ridge and hip tile will need
to be mechanically fixed in addition to the mortar
using nails, screws, or clips.
Roof space ventilation
For a cold roof, i.e. one where the insulation is
laid horizontally over the ceiling joists, the need to
ventilate and the level of ventilation required will
depend on a) the ceiling type, b) the underlay
type, and c) the roof covering. For a new dwelling,
with a well-sealed ceiling constructed in
accordance with BS 9250, using a low resistance
vapour permeable underlay, low-level ventilation
can be provided by over fascia or soffit vents with
openings of 10,000 square mm per metre.
Where high level ventilation, e.g. at the ridge, is
required, a dry ridge system can be used.
However, this should be supplemented using tile
vents installed at high level in the hip end roof
slopes, to provide the equivalent of a 5mm air
gap equal to the length of the building.
For a warm roof, i.e. one where the insulation is
laid between, above, or under the rafters, if the
building has a well-sealed ceiling and a low
resistance vapour permeable underlay, then it is
not necessary to ventilate a space between the
insulation and underlay.
Where counterbattens are required, for example if
the ceiling is not well sealed or if close fitting
slates are used, provision must be made at the
hips to allow air to crossflow from one rafter void
to the next and be vented at high level. The
alternative is to use an air permeable underlay
which does not require extra ventilation. Advice
should be sought from the underlay manufacturer.
Next month: John will deal with mansard roofs
and consider how best to install tiles and slates
and ventilate the roof space.
Contact John Mercer
24 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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Step by Step Guide
SIMPLE SOLAR INSTALLATION
With the demand for cleaner, renewable energy sources such as solar continuing to rise,
roofing contractors who want to make the most of this opportunity should look no
further than Marley SolarTile, a truly integrated roof system that delivers on aesthetics
as well as performance. Dan Redfern, Marketing Manager at Marley, explains how easy
it is to install Marley SolarTile.
Marley SolarTile has been designed to ensure ease of installation, with easy-to-follow colourcoded
packaging meaning that contractors looking to include solar as part of their roofing
package are perfectly positioned to make the most of the growing solar opportunities. In this
article, I’ll talk through the benefits of Marley SolarTile and explains how the ease of installation makes
contractors’ lives easier.
Prepare and test:
Preparation and testing is key, so follow your
normal process for preparing the roof ready for
tiles. Our roofing kits come with brackets suitable
for tile battens of 25 mm thickness. Electrically
test each solar panel prior to installation. We
recommend that cables be passed though roofing
membrane laps for connection inside the building
or connected to adjacent panels in the batten
space. Next, follow our simple step-by-step
Installing the first panel:
Step 1: Open the yellow box and start with the
bottom left panel. Brackets rotate into the lower
slot on the panel frame. Fix the batten brackets to
the left side with two 25mm screws each. Fix
bottom rafter brackets to each rafter the panel
crosses with two 50mm screws each.
Step 2: Fit the sill flashing then the lower side
flashing to the panel, pushing into the rubber
gasket seal. Secure the edge of the side flashing
using fixing tabs and nails.
“The final electrical connection and sign off must
be completed by an MCS certified installer”
perfectly positioned to
make the most of the
Step 3: Open the green box and fix the combibrackets
to each rafter panel with four 50mm
screws each. Push the joining strip into the
gasket on the top face of the lower solar panel.
Installing panel 2:
Step 4: Slide the upper solar panel down the roof
to engage with the combi-bracket and the joining
strip. Align the panels on the right corner and
rotate the left corner downwards to ensure a
Fix the left side of the panel with batten brackets
and 25mm screws. Push in the upper side
flashing and fix the outside edge with the side
fixing tabs. Fold the protruding end of the joining
strip down over the side flashing.
Installing panel 3:
Step 5: Slide the first panel of the next column
sideways to engage with the combi-batten
brackets. Secure the new solar panel to each
rafter with rafter brackets and two 50mm screws
Push the sill flashing into the gasket at the
bottom of the solar panel. Slide the lower gutter
26 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
etween the two solar panels from the top and
fold the tab at the bottom behind the sill flashing.
Step 6: Nail the top fixing strip into a batten.
Align the bottom corner of the lower gutter covers
with the bottom edge of the solar panel and push
the gutter covers into the gasket. Fold down the
Step 7: Open the orange box and fix three combibatten
brackets to the right-hand side of the top
panel. Open the blue box and fit the upper gutter
between the solar panels. Push the joining strip
into the gasket in the top edge of the panel below.
Installing panel 4:
Step 8: Slide the new panel into position and fix
with rafter brackets at the bottom and batten
brackets to the right-hand side. Push the lower
side flashing into the gasket on the right-hand
side of the panel. Fit the side fixing tabs and fold
over the tab on the sill flashing.
Fit the upper gutter between the
solar panels and the nail
gutter fixing strip to a
batten. Push the upper
gutter cover into the
panel gasket. Fold the
end of the joining strip
into the gutter.
Step 9: For each rafter it
crosses, fix a rafter bracket to the top of
the top left panel and secure with two 50mm
screws each. Push the top flashing into the panel
gasket and feed the two straps under the foam
and secure the straps to a batten above.
Step 10: Remove the paper strip on the underside
of the sill flashing and press down onto the tiles.
Ensure that the bitumen strip is well bonded to
the tiles. Two courses of tiles
should be fitted around the
perimeter of the solar
panels. The final
and sign off must be
completed by an MCS
Marley SolarTile can be
installed in either columns
or rows and the number of
panels will depend on the roof size
and energy requirements. Visit
www.marley.co.uk/solarinstall to view our
online configurator or to download a more
detailed installation guide.
Further advice and info on Marley SolarTile:
For further r
or a hire quotation call
01858 412 100
Low Pitch Roofing
LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS RATHER
THAN SHORT-TERM FIXES
James Ford, Technical Sales Manager at Permavent, says ‘the Devil’s in the Detail’
when it comes to low pitch roofing projects, and in this article he explains how to avoid
the pitfalls when installing at a low pitch…
The concept of low-pitched roofing is
often challenging for contractors,
with many associating roof failure as
the result of unsuitable roof coverings
being installed on incorrect rafter pitches.
Our industry has diversified in recent years
however, with many new systems and
products now available to ensure the
designed roof and clients’ expectations are
achievable. A design such as a lean-to
extension, with a roof pitch hampered by a
first-floor window, can now be competently
waterproofed while maintaining the
appropriate aesthetics of the building as a
There are various pitfalls when installing at
low pitch and at Permavent Ltd we
always say, ‘The Devil’s in the
is to not
into the building
fabric – keep it above
the main roof covering”
Restrictions and failed remedies
Acknowledging that the pitch or perhaps exposure is
inappropriate for the roof tile or slate, designers and
installers in the past have made attempts to drain
the water away by other means. ‘Double-felting’ the
roofing underlay, bituminous sheeting and even flatroof
coverings below roof tiles and slates, were
thought to provide a complete waterproof barrier.
However, not only do these options often hamper
Left: James Ford is Technical Sales Manager at
Permavent. Above: Permavent offers a range of
solutions and can provide guidance for low pitch
good roofing ventilation, persistent water
ingress and subsequent condensation will erode
roofing battens, fixings and supporting structures.
These are simply short-term fixes and not long-term
solutions. The lesson learned here is to not invite
water into the building fabric – keep it above the
main roof covering.
A solid and well installed roof is as only as good
as a solid design. It is important to avoid
constructions where water is discharged via a
downpipe directly onto lower elevations.
Particularly with low-pitched roofs, the tile or
slate can be compromised by discharging
potentially high volumes of water in a
direct point load via a downpipe or shoe. It
is good practice to allow roof elevations to
drain independently, or in some scenarios
downpipes may need to be redirected.
It is always important to check a rooflight’s
minimum installed pitch and performance at
low-level. For example, many ‘off-the-shelf’
flashing kit units will provide a minimum
pitch of between 15 – 20 degrees, but
compatibility with roof tiles or slates should
be double checked. Below 15 degrees a
specialist window or ‘change of elevation’
flashing may need to be selected, subject to
the manufacturer’s recommendations.
“It is also important
to check with the
their guidance on
It is also important to check with the roofing
manufacturer their guidance on rafter length.
Typically, wind-driven rain tests conducted
independently will work to a maximum rafter
length, dictated by the testing rig. If, for example,
a manufacturer declares a maximum rafter length
of 4m at, let’s say, a 15 degree pitch, it is
important to seek further guidance from them if
the rafters exceed this.
It is common to experience roof failure at the eaves
28 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
course, particularly when a traditional doublelapped
tile is installed. On occasion, plain tiles or
slates are installed in conjunction with a bellcast or
sprocket detail, with a change of angle to
accommodate the roof covering. It is crucial that
this change of angle is addressed when selecting
the roof covering and its minimum installed pitch.
The roofing underlay is a vital secondary barrier
against moisture both during and postinstallation,
however, all too often there is a lack
of drape provided between rafters when installed
unsupported. Counter battens are advantageous
at low-pitch and when the underlay is pulled tight,
we acknowledge there is a safe passage for water
to discharge if required from the membrane. The
additional ventilation path created via the vertical
counter batten can also help mitigate the chance
of interstitial condensation and improve thermal
build-ups below the roof covering.
“The roofing underlay is a vital secondary barrier
against moisture both during and postinstallation,
however, all too often there is a lack
of drape provided between rafters when installed
Roofing ancillaries, such as ‘universal tile
ventilators’, are very common for extraction
purposes, as low-pitch roof coverings are often
installed above kitchens, utility rooms or
bathrooms. They are classified as ‘universal’ due
to their compatibility with most roof tiles, however
most are not universally pitched – with many
providing a minimum pitch of 17.5 degrees. As
some roof tile coverings can operate as low as 10
degrees, it is important to check the performance
with the manufacturer.
At Permavent we are the inventors of the Easy
Roof System, which improves the performance of
traditional roofing slate and plain tiles at low pitch
and areas of high exposure. For further
information please visit www.permavent.co.uk
or get in contact with our team, who are
experienced in tackling low pitch and ventilation
solutions for your next project.
About the author: James Ford is a Technical
Sales Manager for Permavent Ltd and has been
providing technical and sales support in the
roofing industry for 14 years. James is also a
member of the Institute of Roofing.
01305 766 703
Our innovative range of tile verge units remove the need for mortar
and allow for a secure application to the roof. They are all tested for
wind uplift resistance and comply with the BS 8612 Standard for dry
Our unique, patented design suitable for single and double
cambered concrete and clay plain tiles at batten gauges 88mm to 104mm.
intermediate gauge single-lap interlocking tile types.
Designed for all single lap interlocking plain tile types
between 170mm and 200mm batten gauges.
IDV Our original interlocking dry verge which suits most single lap
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45+ YEARS OF ROOFING INNOVATION
Cover Story: A. Proctor Group
ROOFSHIELD, THE CONTRACTOR’S
As Building Regulations continue to come
under increasing scrutiny, contractors are
increasingly turning to the reliability of
tried and tested high-performing British roofing
underlays such as Roofshield.
The A. Proctor Group developed Roofshield 26
years ago in response to problems caused by the
requirements of the UK’s demand for coldpitched
roof construction and the drive towards
ever-increasing thermal performance
requirements. Roofshield is designed to ensure
contractors are guaranteed the highest quality,
providing a pitched roof underlay, which is both
air and vapour permeable.
Under guidelines issued by the NHBC,
independently certified air and vapour permeable
underlays can be used without additional ridge
ventilation in cold roofs. The use of Roofshield
will lead to savings in labour and material costs
due to no VCL being required, and its highperformance
air permeability means that the roof
space has similar air changes to that of a roof
using traditional eaves/ridge ventilation.
Since 1996, the A. Proctor Group has played a
crucial role in pitched roof design, helping
develop practical air and moisture movement
strategies to ensure roofs are energy efficient and
The primary sources of moisture that roofs must
1: moisture from internal sources, water vapour
and condensation, and 2: moisture from external
sources, rain and snow.
Protection from external moisture is assumed to
be handled by the external weatherproofing, but
roofing underlay membranes can provide
temporary weather protection until the outer
covering is completed. In addition, underlays
continue to support roof systems throughout the
building’s life, providing wind uplift resistance
and protection against wind-driven moisture
penetrating the structure.
30 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
BS 5250 gives detailed guidance on different
combinations of roofs and underlay types (HR vs
LR) to ensure each roof system can respond to
moisture challenges within acceptable limits. A
roof that cannot adequately deal with moisture is
susceptible to adverse effects, including mould
growth and long-term structural damage.
A critical first factor is the air permeability of the
external roof covering. If it is considered airimpermeable,
such as in the case of metal
sheeting, some degree of ventilation will be
required. On the other hand, natural slates and
tiles are usually considered sufficiently air
The traditional pitched Cold Roof (ventilated) is
used as the historic standard against which
modern alternatives are evaluated in
condensation risk and timber moisture contents.
However, given the various categories and
differing guidance for ventilation and the lack of
precise specification advice for more complex
roof types and shapes, a more straightforward
option is to omit the ventilation and rely on the
vapour permeability of the underlay to remove
Cold Roof (Non-Ventilated) - Where airtight LR
underlays are specified, BS 5250 does not
address situations where ventilation is reduced
below the levels given in L5.5. However, it may be
permissible if the underlay is covered by
appropriate third-party certification. Using an airpermeable
low resistance (APLR) underlay such
as Roofshield in this roof type requires no
additional ventilation. APLR underlays allow
vapour to escape by diffusion and provide a
degree of airflow to boost moisture vapour
transfer. APLR membranes can generally be used
in all circumstances without ventilation,
regardless of the size and shape of the roof. In
addition, they don’t require a well-sealed ceiling
and may not require a VCL, making this type of
underlay a good choice for refurbishments where
the precise ceiling specification may be unknown.
The lack of a sizeable cold void in warms roofs
makes controlling moisture simpler, provided the
“Contractors can rest
assured of the reliable
performance of a great
underlay in Roofshield”
correct specifications are followed. Warm roofs
with impermeable HR underlays will always
require ventilation below the underlay and a VCL
at ceiling level. Using an LR underlay can simplify
moisture control and may allow the ventilation to
be removed, provided the internal layers are
convection tight. If this can’t be guaranteed or the
outer covering is not air permeable, ventilation
will be needed.
Where insulation follows the roof’s pitch from the
eaves to the ridge, the lack of roof voids means
less benefit to using an air-permeable underlay. A
pure warm roof design lends itself to maximising
energy efficiency and prioritising low air leakage
rates. If we extend this principle to the rest of the
building, the airtight warm roof construction could
be integrated into the wall assembly with an
external air barrier membrane such as Wraptite.
Whatever the roofing type, in meeting the
increasing demands of Building Regulations
contractors can rest assured of the reliable
performance of a great British roofing underlay in
Roofshield. The high performance of Roofshield
backed by two BBA Certificates means it is a
critical element in preserving and protecting the
fabric of residential and commercial buildings.
Contact A. Proctor Group
01250 872 261
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 31
EMPOWERING THE MANAGERS
George King, Divisional Managing Director of SIG Roofing, reflects on the reorganisation of
the SIG Roofing business, the success of a local focus and how this benefits customers.
It’s not a secret that SIG Roofing has had its
ups and downs over the last decade, but the
business is now proving that what a national
business really needs to succeed is local
knowledge and empowerment.
be repeated. While demand for housebuilding
remains high, we are very aware that our smaller
local contractors are very reliant on RMI projects
and will support those customers as much as we
Fundamental to this model is an
understanding that if you employ good
people then you need to give them the
power to make their own decisions. In our
case, this means the branch managers.
On paper it may make sense to organise
everything centrally, using economies of scale and
centralised logistics, but on the ground what our
customers want is personal service geared to their
own local needs. If the business is to succeed,
then it needs to put the customer first and centre.
With this in mind, SIG set about redesigning its
branch business. We now operate our branches
more like franchises with the branch manager in
charge, making decisions on what stock to hold,
local promotions and local customer support.
With that authority comes responsibility too, and
it’s the branch managers who answer to the
customers if a delivery is late or incomplete, and
they are also directly responsible for the financial
success of their branch. This level of autonomy is
not for everyone, but I believe that you only grow a
business with ambitious people – and ambitious
people thrive when given the right opportunities.
Vehicles and logistics
We reorganised our vehicles too. Logistics had
been centralised, using a “hub and spoke” system
which could leave one vehicle to handle the
deliveries for several branches. Now the vehicles
are back in the individual businesses, looking
after the local customers with local deliveries and
answerable to the local branch manager.
This level of independence gives our branch
Left: George King, SIG Roofing.
global supply chains
purchasing have been
well and truly exposed”
managers control and allows them to use their
unique understanding of the local business
environment to drive their decisions. Working
closely with local contractors provides invaluable
insight into local opportunities and challenges,
therefore enabling the managers to design the
infrastructure to meet our customer needs.
This kind of local insight is certainly going to be
necessary over the next few months as the
economic outlook appears increasingly challenging.
It’s the managers who will make the decisions on
credit facilities for local contractors, using their
understanding of the businesses within their area
and their judgement on risk management.
As summer moves into winter, I am anticipating a
slowdown in the RMI market in particular. Gloomy
headlines and grim economic forecasts are
perfect for encouraging homeowners to put off
their extension or renovation projects.
We can certainly see the first signs of RMI work
slowing down, but it was probably inevitable that
the unprecedented boom of 2021 was unlikely to
As a business our major issue so far this year
has remained the availability of stock. This has
been where the back-up of such a large
organisation is valuable for our branches. SIG
made a strategic decision to invest in building
stocks so we have been able to provide the best
availability across multiple product ranges.
We can cushion the impact of product shortages
in the short term, but I wonder if the longer term
will need to see a real shift in sourcing policy. The
risks associated with global supply chains and
just-in-time purchasing have been well and truly
exposed and I wonder if this is an opportunity for
the UK to invest again in its own manufacturing
expertise? If so, then our local branches will be
the first to build close relationships with new or
expanding manufacturing operations.
It’s easy to get gloomy listening to a constant
stream of dismal news and dire predictions, but
when you are immersed, as I am, in a dynamic
and vibrant business it’s difficult to stay that way
Our redesigned operation has made huge strides
forward and with local businesses able to react
fast to local conditions, SIG Roofing is well set to
withstand the autumn headwinds and continue to
provide an unrivalled local service to its local
Contact SIG Roofing
01480 466 777
32 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
0333 016 04275
Rainwater System Solutions
Green Roof Projects
5 STEPS TO INSTALLATION SUCCESS
Carl Bailey, Regional Technical Manager for Firestone Building Products (soon to be
Elevate), explains how contractors can create a green roof that lasts.
As the focus on environmental sustainability
increases, so does the demand for green
roofs. Homeowners, building owners and
developers are beginning to recognise the value a
green roof can bring to the environment as well
as people and their wider communities. The
benefits are vast, including providing natural
insulation, enhancing biodiversity, reducing air
pollution, improving stormwater management, and
mitigating the ‘urban heat island effect’ by returning
moisture to the environment through evaporation.
There are two main types of green roofs:
extensive and intensive. An extensive green roof
uses sedum vegetation and is most common on
flat roofs as it is lightweight and low
maintenance. An intensive green roof is more
complex, including trees and shrubs requiring
irrigation, fertilisation and more maintenance.
To be successful, a green roof installation must
combine an effective design, quality
waterproofing, and suitable maintenance. So,
here is our guide on the key steps to follow and
1Engage early in the design process: The
climate, local building regulations and
building type are just some of the factors
that will affect the design of a green roof,
including the types of plants and growing
substrate. Understanding these elements from
the outset is crucial as they will impact the
choice of roof build-up, as well as future
2Choose an appropriate waterproofing
system: There are different waterproofing
systems suitable for a green roof and
selecting the right one is essential. The
membrane must be resistant to root penetration
and strong enough to be trafficked when
maintenance is required.
The RubberGard EPDM and UltraPly
TPO membranes, for example, have
successfully passed the EN 13948 –
resistance to root penetration test –
and the FLL root penetration resistant
test from the German Landscape
Research, Development and
An EPDM single-ply membrane which is 1.5mm
thick and fully adhered to the substrate provides
a robust and highly effective solution. The use of
wider panel sizes will limit the number of seams,
reducing the risk of any water ingress.
Studies have shown that EPDM membranes can
last for more than 50 years. Their flexibility can
accommodate expansions or contractions due to
temperature changes and they don’t contain any
chemicals that can affect the membrane’s
characteristics over time.
EPDM is an inert material, with no harmful
chemicals released into the atmosphere during
its long service life. It is recognized as safe for
rainwater harvesting from roofs for use in nonpotable,
domestic use such as running washing
machines or flushing toilets.
Rooftop vegetation also offers additional
protection for an EPDM membrane, further
extending its service life.
3Adhere to best practice installation
advice: Only install an EPDM single ply
roofing system if you are trained and
authorised to do so by the manufacturer.
A typical installation would involve laying the
structural deck to falls to achieve a minimum
finished slope as per local requirements and
encouraging efficient roof drainage.
The deck is primed before placing a vapour control
Above: Carl Bailey.
layer on top, which will restrict
moisture vapour from within the
building from rising up into the
insulation layer where it could cause
An insulation board with a high
compression strength will be required
with an appropriate thickness to achieve the
required roof U-value. This will be adhered to the
vapour control layer prior to fully adhering the
EPDM single ply roofing membrane with a
An extensive green roof system, including a
protection mat, will then be installed over the
4Advise on maintenance: There is no such
thing as a zero maintenance green roof.
There will be watering guidelines to follow
after the installation and an annual soil test
should be performed in the spring along with the
use of slow-release fertilisers. It is also vital to
control weeds as weed killer is not permitted on a
As part of the maintenance plan, a postinstallation
inspection should be carried out
annually for the first two years.
5Partner with a specialist: Whether you
are installing an extensive or intensive
green roof, it is important to partner with a
specialist provider of roofing waterproofing
systems from the earliest opportunity. Their
knowledge and technical advice will help to
ensure the green roof meets the required
specification and is built to last.
Contact Holcim Elevate
34 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
you’ll l ever nee
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e largest range
vents on th e mark et to su
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CODE to find the righ ht tile v ent for your
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Project Focus: Sustainability
ECODORP: A STUDY IN CIRCULARITY
Allen Coldrake, from Carlisle Construction Materials, discusses the Ecodorp project, a
sustainable community in the Netherlands where Hertalan EPDM membrane, installed
using induction technology, has been specified as part of a cradle-to-cradle approach to
The Ecodorp development in Boekel, southern
Holland, is a neighbourhood of 30 climateadaptive
and climate-positive rental homes,
along with six informal care homes, a community
centre, a knowledge and education centre, a
workshop, and offices, located in three
circular buildings, constructed from
The project chimes with the
environmental aims of Carlisle
Construction Materials and was an ideal
development in which to use the company’s
Hertalan Induction System. This combination of
EPDM – considered by many to be the greenest
roofing membrane technology – and the
mechanically fixed induction installation method,
which enables the membrane to be removed for
re-use or recycling at the end of its service life,
aligns with the development’s focus on circularity.
Designed by Van Laarhoven Architects and built
by ecological contractor Eco+Bouw, Ecodorp is
an ERDF, Dutch government and regional
government-funded project with circular
sustainability at the heart of its design strategy.
The project also benefits from a Dutch
Government initiative that allows developers and
building owners to claim back up to 12% of
material and installation costs if the products can
be returned to the manufacturer for recycling or
repurposing at the end of their service life.
Carlisle has made this commitment to taking back
the Hertalan EPDM membrane used in the Ecodorp
project. Hertalan is BBA certified and has an
anticipated service life of 50+ years, so it will be
some time before the principle is tested! However,
this longevity is an integral part of the
Above and left: The Hertalan Induction system was used on the Ecodorp project in the Netherlands.
development’s environmental goals.
When the membrane does reach the end
of its service life, the same induction process
used to fix the Hertalan EPDM to the roof can be
used to cleanly lift it from the substrate, with no
residue from primers or adhesives. Only ‘clean’
EPDM membranes can be fixed and detached in
this way. Once the membrane is returned to
Carlisle, it can be reprocessed to its component
compounds for re-use.
The roof build-up on each building comprises
recyclable PIR insulation board on the timber roof
substrate, followed by the Hertalan EPDM
membrane. The 2mm thick membrane requires no
primer or adhesive for mechanical fixing using the
Hertalan Induction system, and Carlisle’s team
worked with the delivery partners to provide a
technical specification, which included wind uplift
calculations, layout of the membrane to optimise
the use of materials, and positioning of the fixing
plates, most of which were used to fix both the
EPDM membrane and the insulation with a single
plate. The layout for the fixing plates was
specified as a grid on a technical drawing as part
of the technical specification. The plates used to
install the EPDM roofing membrane with the
Hertalan Induction system have a special coating,
which becomes tacky when the plate is heated by
magnetic radiation and solidifies again when it
cools, achieving a secure bond. If the membrane
needs to be removed, the same induction process
can be used to release the plates and remove the
membrane. This allows installation with neither
adhesives nor penetrations.
All the metal plate fasteners were installed on each
building prior to installation of the EPDM
membrane, which was pulled across the roof
making it watertight quickly. The bonding process
was equally fast, utilizing the lightweight Hertalan
Induction device. In a single pass of each fixing
plate, the equipment heats the plate, which adheres
to the underside of the EPDM. A magnet then cools
and applies pressure to the point of adhesion,
enabling a fast and secure bond in seconds.
Because the induction equipment heats the plate
using magnetic radiation, no hot works were
As we look to a future of finite resources, the
ability to reclaim materials with a cradle-to-cradle
approach to circularity will be vital, so learning
from projects and government initiatives in other
markets is a useful way of considering how the
green agenda can be accelerated in the UK.
Contact Carlisle Construction Materials
36 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
with GRP rooflights from Filon
Safety is at the front and centre of our product policy:
Our technical expertise has contributed directly to UK rooflight non-fragility classification
over decades, with Filon personnel playing key safety roles in influential trade associations
including NARM (National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers) and ACR (Advisory
Committee for Roofsafety).
Our unique, patented Fixsafe system is the only solution that allows profiled rooflights to be
safely installed from within the building envelope, without the need to access fragile roof areas.
We offer a range of fire grades to provide compliance with Building Regulations.
Our Supasafe triple reinforced rooflights provide high impact resistance, spanning and
We’re the UK’s longest established manufacturer of profiled rooflights by continuous process,
with a successful track record of excellence in design, product performance and customer
support. As you’d expect, we’re also currently employing Covid-secure working practices
throughout our operations.
Filon: truly a ‘safe pair of hands’ for specifiers.
Telephone 01543 687300 Email: email@example.com
BESPOKE ROOFLIGHT IS KEY TO LIBRARY REFURB
The new roof at Minehead’s refurbished and
extended library showcased Whitesales’
ability to design, supply and install truly
bespoke rooflight solutions.
Somerset County Council wanted the library
extension to be flooded with light to make it a
bright and welcoming space but didn’t want to end
up with a glazed roof which looked like a
greenhouse. The design they proposed was for a
contemporary, inverted pitch ridge light with a
bespoke gutter detail to the centre. However, the
original specification from a different supplier
couldn’t meet some of the key aesthetic criteria
they wanted, prompting the main contractor Harris
Bros & Collard to turn to Whitesales for help.
Based at the company’s headquarters in
Cranleigh, Surrey, the Whitesales design team
scoped the complex project using a bespoke 10
degree em.glaze dual pitch gable ended lantern
light. The framework and glazing bars were all in
polyester powder coated aluminium and the
double-glazed sealed units featured non-fragile
toughened glass on the outside and low E
laminated glass on the inside.
The Whitesales design ensured that the layout of
the glazing bars in the rooflight corresponded
precisely with the glulam beam structure inside
to give a consistent look and included vertical
sides with electric opening vents to provide
adequate ventilation. The team also advised on
the loadings required for safe installation of the
lighting suspended from the roof.
The 7676mm x 7676mm rooflight is finished in
Yellow Grey (RAL7034), a standard Whitesales
colour, and matches with the triple glazed
aluminium windows installed at the library
For Harris Bros & Collard, Whitesales’ technical
knowledge and experience and fast and clear
communication throughout the design stages
gave them the reassurance they needed to award
such a major, high-profile project to a company
they had only previously placed small orders with.
Brian Neale, Contracts Manager, explained: “We
always had confidence in the quality of the
Whitesales product offering but what impressed
us just as much was a real understanding of the
design intent from the outside and the
responsiveness to queries throughout.”
Karl Granfield, Whitesales’ Senior Contracts
Manager, added: “A 30 degree slope is standard
on our rooflights, but as we’ve shown here, we
can go as low as 10 degrees in our custom-made
options and span up to 6m.”
PERMAVENT LAUNCHES ENVIROTECT RANGE
Dorset-based construction products manufacturer Permavent Limited has announced the launch of
Envirotect; its brand new walling membrane range.
The company says the range consists of the most technologically advanced, vapour permeable air and vapour
control layers (AVCL), a floor cassette membrane (FZT) and high tack sealing tapes. All of which have been
designed by Permavent.
Envirotect vapour permeable membranes, AVCL layers and high tack sealing tapes are available with a high
purity aluminium reflective outer surface. This technology has been tested and certified to have a substantial
improvement on the thermal performance of the building when facing a cavity of >20mm. The range is
suitable for use in all types of construction methods in both domestic and commercial projects.
Above: Permavent has launched Envirotect, its
new range of membranes for walls.
Permavent points out that the recent and significant changes to building regulations Approved Document Part L call for new and existing construction
projects to achieve higher performance targets and generate up to 31% less CO ²
emissions. With this in mind, by adopting a fabric first approach, the
manufacturer says Envirotect greatly exceeds the requirements of this updated guidance and the Envirotect range has been tested, certified and
futureproofed for any further changes to building control guidance.
Permavent Category Director Craig Fyall commented: “We’re thrilled to be launching Envirotect after several months of research and development to
arrive at this point. Envirotect has been created to address the long overdue need for walling membranes to play a greater part in increasing the thermal
efficiency of dwellings, and in turn, reducing our carbon footprint. It provides contractors and specifiers with a modern, technologically advanced solution
in a market which requires more manufacturers to invest in innovation.” www.permavent.co.uk
38 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
125 years of building smart
around the world.
Today‘s smart, sustainable building solutions from Ubbink
are built on a unique heritage.
Be part of smart. Scan here to see our video.
PITCHED & FLAT
ROOF VENTS &
Ubbink UK Ltd • 01604 433000 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.ubbink.co.uk
For further info on all these updates and more, visit www.total-contractor.co.uk
AN INTRO TO EXTRUDED ALUMINIUM GUTTERING
Aluminium may arguably be the ultimate
sustainable building material in terms of its
infinite recycling capabilities. This has led
it to the point of being one of the most
popular materials for guttering recently
across the UK and Ireland. However, if
aluminium does not meet a whole host of
other performance criteria, it isn’t going to
be specified. But as North West Aluminium
explains, it’s just as well that it does!
Aluminium is generally used as a cheaper and
lighter alternative to cast iron, particularly on
heritage projects. This is because it is 65%
lighter than cast iron which also makes it easier
to transport and install. Extruded aluminium is
now increasingly being used in place of PVC and
other plastics, for a whole host of reasons. So,
why choose Extruded Aluminium Guttering?
Weather resistant: One of the most stand out
benefits to extruded aluminium guttering is its
weather resistance, even in today’s era of climate
change and increasingly severe meteorological
extremes. While other guttering materials may
crack, warp, or distort in extremely hot or cold
weather, extruded aluminium is thermally
resistant. This is why it is more often used as a
building material in warm countries and
environments. It can even be re-shaped.
Aluminium guttering is also robust and rustproof,
with an expected – and often warrantied –
service life of more than 45 years with little or no
maintenance. In addition, its colour will not fade,
being available in a range of architectural-grade
polyester powder coated colours, with more
vibrant shades than plastic. The PPC process in
state-of-the-art factories also means that
extruded aluminium guttering can be colour
matched precisely to the property it is protecting.
Aesthetic variety: Extruded aluminium guttering
can be fabricated in a wide variety of aesthetic
shapes to suit both traditional and contemporary
structures. Such contemporary structures
include the traditional ogee, (which is
manufactured to BS 8530, the original design
standard for cast iron), to the more
contemporary half-round. This is as well as
complementing a residential or commercial
building with its colour.
Consideration needs to be given here into not just
the FORM of aluminium guttering but its
FUNCTION – its flow rate. The extruded halfround
aesthetic is typically more slimline, so
best suited to relatively small roof areas, while
the ogee and secret fix box aluminium gutter
system are both capable of carrying large
volumes of rainwater.
Extruded aluminium guttering systems from
North West Aluminium: While it can
sometimes prove difficult to distinguish
extruded aluminium guttering between other
types, a quick cleaning out of the leaves and
dirt will reveal that as well as the environment,
today’s focus on life-cycle costs and risk
management means the time has never been
better to specify this marvellous material.
BRIGGSAMASCO PROVIDES ROOF SOLUTION!
BriggsAmasco carried out a complex, multiple roof installation to put a watertight seal on a ‘landmark’ teaching
The project involved waterproofing a 2,000m² area spanning nine roofs at Kingston University in Surrey. A mix of green,
single ply and hot-melt finishes covered the new building. With facilities including a learning resources centre, courtyard
and cafés, it’s hoped the new ‘Town House’ building will transform the students’ learning experience. Having been
selected as the project’s waterproofing specialists by main contractor Willmott Dixon, BriggsAmasco worked alongside
award-winning and Stirling Prize-nominated design team, Graton Architects. The multiplex flat-roof installation began in March 2018. It involved
BriggsAmasco applying a range of waterproofing systems across differing heights and levels. These included an IKO hot-melt waterproofing membrane
within a system comprising XPS rigid foam insulation, as well as paving and ballast finishes to the main roof areas. A built-up, reinforced felt
waterproofing solution with tapered insulation was also installed to a green roof in order to conform with a height restriction. Additionally, IKO
Armourplan PSG single-ply waterproofing, along with PIR insulation, was affixed to colonnade areas of the roof. www.briggsamasco.co.uk
40 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
Updated GRO Code
In collaboration with the
Green Roof Organisation.
If you supply green roofing products to
the green roof market, Greenscape is the
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From the publishers of
SECURING SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE
OF THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
With the skills shortage in construction still an increasing concern, David Wigglesworth,
Managing Director of SFS UK, says everybody must play their part to attract and train new
talent. Below, he explores some of the ways manufacturers can help.
It’s no secret that a growing skills shortage is
a threat to our whole industry – and the
pressure is on to bridge the gap.
Rewind six years, when the 2016 Farmer Review
highlighted the scale of the issue, predicting that
there would be up to a 25% decline in the
available construction workforce within a decade.
Now fast forward to the present. During summer
2021, the Construction Skills Network provided
more concrete numbers – we need 217,000 new
workers by 2025, just to meet demand. While
this includes infrastructure projects, a significant
number will be involved in the construction of
commercial or residential buildings.
This is an issue that isn’t going away and
immediate action is needed. Change won’t happen
overnight… not least because the current
situation has been building for several decades.
Understanding the skills gap
Put simply, we have an ageing workforce and
there are dwindling numbers of young people
entering the construction industry. As the current
workforce nears retirement, new blood is
essential to replace those who leave.
The current crisis has resulted because there
hasn’t been that steady drip-feed of replacement
over the past few decades. The last big boom in
construction recruitment was during the 1980s –
forty years ago. These are the workers now
Since then, a combination of under-investment in
training at a Governmental level and the ease of
procuring cheaper foreign labour meant it’s been
more effective – at least in the short-term – to
“This is about the long
haul, about being ready
for whatever the future
poach rather than train.
However, the combined forces of the pandemic
and Brexit have potentially made the situation
worse. If fewer EU nationals want to make the
trip to these shores – because it’s harder to
move here post-Brexit, because of the decline in
the value of the pound against the Euro, or
because of fears surrounding COVID-19 – then
employees must be homegrown.
Unfortunately, little has been done to make
construction seem like an attractive career
choice for Millennials and Generation Z,
especially next to the proliferation of new
opportunities fuelled by digital technology. There
is the perception – not unfounded – that
construction lags behind other industries in
digital transformation, further discouraging the
digital natives amongst potential new entrants.
It's also worth noting the lack of diversity within
a construction industry where white males make
up a massive majority. Women account for
around 12% of construction employees, the
same percentage as those from black, Asian and
minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. There are
thousands of potential new entrants who might
be put off joining an industry that they feel
doesn’t represent them.
It’s going to be a big challenge, but it’s vital that
the construction industry, collectively, rises to it.
The future of construction depends on it – and,
by extension, the future development of
buildings, from homes to hospitals, offices to
factories. Or, more bluntly, all of our futures.
42 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
So what can we do? It’s a question that SFS has
been considering for many years, reflecting on the
findings of the Farmer Report and taking practical
steps to change the conversation around
The first thing is to build connections with the
next generation. That’s why we have successful
partnerships with both Leeds Beckett University
and The University of Leeds.
For students, these partnerships allow them to
make a clear link between their classroom
teaching and the practical, commercial
application of this learning – for example, in the
development and manufacture of building
products. For SFS, it means we can explore new
ideas and product development, via a series of
research placements and projects.
From the newly qualified to the older employees
looking to upskill, CPDs present a surefire way of
sharing knowledge and instilling best practices.
Our range of RIBA-approved CPD modules,
designed for architects and specifiers, covers a
wide range of topics, including:
• Airtightness and thermal efficiency
• Fixing warm and flat roofs
• Roof safety systems
• Rainscreen cladding
• Hinge technology: design, function and
Each course can be taken at SFS, or delivered at
an organisation’s premises, to help employees
learn, grow and evolve.
A space to learn
Having the right environment for learning is
essential to skills development. We have invested
in two unique spaces in Leeds and Welwyn
Garden City, supplemented by virtual learning, for
“It’s about securing
skills for the future –
which in turn will help
Collectively known as the SFS Academy, this space
is a hub designed to facilitate knowledge exchange
between active industry practitioners, those in
training and education, and national bodies and
affiliations. This learning spans techniques, tools,
products and wider industry concerns such as
sustainability, performance and safety.
Academy events bring together experts from SFS,
our higher education partners and industry
practitioners to help nurture the next generation
of architects, engineers and installers.
The experience of the pandemic has shown that
face-to-face learning is not always practical.
Having a space online where people can access
knowledge is critical, which is why we launched
the SFS Knowledge Hub, full of insight, case
studies and other resources.
Aim for variety
Everybody’s needs are different – and so are how
we learn. In our experience, there’s no point in
trying to force everyone down the same path
when it comes to skills.
That’s why our initiatives provide a mix of
different styles of learning, delivered how, when
and where it will be most effective.
• In-depth training – Covering topics from
sustainability and performance to fixing
techniques and tools, we offer breadth as well as
depth. Encompassing specification-led CPDs,
through to technical seminars, there’s a course
for every level and specialism.
• Practical demonstrations – Whether it’s a
new innovation or helping you understand the
potential benefits of a particular fixing or hinge
technology, we’re here with hands-on, practical
demonstrations to get your team up and running,
learning by doing.
• Site support and toolbox talks – When you
can’t get to the classroom, we bring it to you, with
our team joining you on-site to deliver technical
support, advice and guidance, and toolbox talks
that quickly and effectively improve your people’s
skills and capabilities.
What does the future hold?
The task at hand is clear. To attract, nurture and
retain skilled workers. To create a sustainable
pipeline of capable, expert professionals
committed to rewarding careers in construction.
Achieving this requires a strong strategic vision,
but also a practical approach that is motivational,
inspiring and clear. It cannot be done in isolation.
With so much at stake, it’s vital that different
specialists collaborate, each contributing their
knowledge and training.
This becomes even more apparent when we
consider the changing nature of the world, and
the opportunities to be gained through digital
transformation. What new skills will be required
in construction in five years, or ten years? How
can we best help people to become qualified in
these skills? And what job roles will they lead to?
This is about the long haul, about being ready for
whatever the future may bring. This will require
comprehensive training and development support
for existing as well as new employees, so we can
upskill and uplift professionals at every level and
every step of the way from design to construction.
And this needs to be delivered in an agile, multiplatform
manner that combines the best of online
and offline learning, mixing theory with
The pay-off will be a collective rise in the level of
proficiency and expertise within UK construction.
It’s about securing skills for the future – which in
turn will help secure futures.
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 43
Insurance Backed Guarantees
HOW TO BUILD CUSTOMER
Cedral, one of the largest players in the UK roofing and cladding market, created a stir
earlier this year by launching an Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) scheme specifically
aimed at contractors and installers. Total Contractor recently spoke to Lisa Grosse,
Cedral’s Marketing Manager, to find out more.
Q: Can you tell us more about
IBGs and why you’ve decided to
launch this initiative in the UK?
A: In a nutshell, IBGs are all about
providing customers – in this case
homeowners – with the extra confidence
they need to employ skilled contractors to
install cladding or roofing. For a relatively
small additional cost on the
job, we think this
potential buyers an
extra nudge to make
the decision to buy
through a Cedral Select
installer – which is good news for us, the contractor
and most importantly, the end customer!
Q: What prompted Cedral to take this step
to launch its new Cedral Select
programme, backed up by the IBG scheme?
A: One of the unexpected by-products of the
recent lockdowns was the significant increase in
home improvement activity over the last couple of
years. While B&Q’s sales rose by 13 per cent to
£4.2bn over the last year, Screwfix’s revenue
jumped by 14 per cent to £2.3bn on the back of
68 new store openings. Sales of cladding and roof
slates to homeowners, who were eager to
upgrade their homes, saw a similar boost. And
this new focus on the domestic market has
revealed the huge potential opportunity for high
quality roofing and cladding products in the UK.
Over the last 18 months or so, we have been
working hard behind the scenes, talking to
installers and homeowners to better understand
Left: Lisa Grosse, Marketing Manager at Cedral. Above: Cedral façade
being fitted by an approved installer.
“Introducing IBGs into
the mix is a real gamechanger
significant benefit it
brings to the installer’s
/ roofer’s credibility”
how we can unlock that demand. The answer
came in the form of our new Cedral Select
professional installer scheme and the innovative
use of IBGs.
Our research showed that while customers loved
the low-maintenance, high quality aesthetic that
Cedral products brought to their homes, one of
the biggest barriers identified in the sales process
was confidence in the quality of workmanship
and the value of trade guarantees. Homeowners
unused to dealing with contractors are
understandably cautious when it comes to
engaging a firm of builders to install a new roof or
cladding. Given the significant cost of such work,
without personal recommendation they
are unlikely to feel comfortable to
undertake significant improvements on
Understandably, increasingly savvy
customers are aware that guarantees are
only as good – and effective – as the
business providing them, and if the
installer goes bust, retires or simply
closes, there’s nowhere for the
homeowner to go should they require
redress once the job is done.
Q: So, what exactly are IBGs? And how do
A: In simple terms, IBGs are like ‘copper
bottomed’ insurance schemes, as they provide an
extra layer of insurance on top of the installers’
and manufacturers’ guarantees that are already
This extra layer of guarantee provides huge
confidence to the end-customer as it
demonstrates a serious commitment from the
brand (i.e. Cedral) to ensure that the installation
and service element of the experience lives up to
the tangible product promise. In the case of
Cedral, our approved Select installers provide a
10-year service guarantee which reflects our
decade-long product guarantee. Together, this
makes an incredibly complete package for the
This market-leading level of service is unique in
the market and we believe will act as a catalyst
to access pent-up demand within the UK
44 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
Q: This sounds interesting for installers
keen to access the domestic roofing and
cladding market – how do they gain
approval to join Cedral Select?
A: To become part of this initiative, installers
need to attend Cedral technical training and
demonstrate a good level of skill – as well as a
genuine commitment to customer care. A central
element of the Cedral Select promise includes the
IBG, which is a small investment from installers,
that makes a huge statement to the customer.
We don’t stipulate which IBG provider our
contractors go with, but we do provide a list of
approved, quality insurance firms to provide this
cover. In our view, introducing IBGs into the mix is a
real game-changer when you consider the
significant benefit it brings to the installer’s /
roofer’s credibility. Crucially, it’s this boost in trust
levels that will help installers and roofers to engage
with homeowners and secure new projects.
Q: Can you give us an idea of the cost of
A: For the relatively modest cost of IBGs, we think
the benefits are significant. For an average
cladding or roofing project worth up to £30,000,
the IBG premium is under £80; I think you’ll
agree, a reasonable fee that can be easily
absorbed into the customer quote.
Our brand is all about quality and customer
service – so we think that like-minded installers
will see the sense in this strategy, which enables
us both to offer customers peace of mind and
assurance for 10 years. Granted, IBGs are not for
every contractor. But for those who want to
differentiate themselves through world-class
service levels – and a strong association with a
trusted brand such as Cedral – this could be the
‘Midas Touch’ they’re looking for.
Q: How has the initiative gone down with
A: While it’s still relatively early days, we’ve been
delighted by the interest shown by both roofing
and cladding installers who really see the benefit
of IBGs in differentiating them in a crowded
domestic market. We’ve now got national
coverage for the Cedral Select scheme, which is
fully backed up by this extra layer of guarantee.
While we have not had enough data through the
system yet to make a formal judgement, so far
anecdotal feedback suggests that the quality end
of the trade immediately ‘get it’ and can see this
as a great USP to give homeowners that extra
confidence to choose a Cedral Select installer.
Q: How do installers find out more?
A: To find out more about Cedral Select or the role
of IBGs in roofing and cladding, please contact
Cedral on email@example.com.
TACKLING WINTER WEATHER & BILLS!
By Morgan Woolf, Technical Product Technician (South), Kingspan Insulation.
September is always a busy month for
roofers with owners looking to get their
properties ready to face the winter
weather. This year is looking especially hectic
with many trying to upgrade their building
insulation before bills go through the roof in
October. Poorly insulated flat roofs can account
for a lot of the heat loss from buildings and one
way to address this, whilst also ensuring effective
drainage, is by fitting tapered insulation. In my
role as a product technician at Kingspan, I’ve
been getting a lot of questions about these
systems, so here I’ll explain why tapered
insulation systems might be needed,
and what benefits they can provide.
Despite their name, flat roofs will
almost always have a pitch of up to 10
degrees. This is to ensure that rain, sleet and
snow are all effectively channelled away. Without
this, the water will inevitably start to pond on the
surface, potentially leading to issues such as
alkaline formation and mould growth. The weight
of any water can also cause the surface to bow
over time, worsening the ponding and potentially
reducing the lifespan of the roof. If there are
obvious signs of ponding on a roof, it is important
to take action to reinstate the fall, ensuring the
structure achieves a fall of at least 1:80.
As you’ve probably noticed, there’s been a lot of
change in the energy efficiency requirements
within the Building Regulations this year. England
introduced updates to Part L to the Building
Regulations (which governs energy usage) back in
June, with Wales due to introduce updates for
domestic properties on 22nd November 2022 and
new requirements for all properties in Scotland
coming into force from 1st December 2022.
These include limiting or improved U-values which
Above: Tapered roofing systems combine
insulation and a fall in a single, lightweight
system which is suitable for both new and
existing flat roofs. Left: Kingspan offer a
dedicated tapered design service to ensure the
required drainage and thermal performance can
be met with the slimmest system thickness.
contractors will typically need to meet, or improve
upon, when replacing or refurbishing an existing
flat roof. In all cases, the refurbishment work
needs to be appropriate for the particular project,
with consideration given to issues such as the
condition and construction of the building and any
ventilation or existing insulation within the space
below. All three countries provide some flexibility
in their target U-values to allow for this, however,
the values in the table above provide a good
starting point on most projects (see table above).
Traditional methods used to create a fall include
fitting timber firrings (angled timber battens)
beneath a plywood deck, or laying screed to a fall
on a concrete deck. However, as the thermal
performance requirements for flat roofs have
increased, a growing number of contractors are
switching to tapered insulation systems which
provide insulation and a fall in a single system.
Tapered insulation systems typically include three
types of rigid insulation boards: tapered, hip and
valley and flat packer (which sit below the other
types of board). As the insulation boards
themselves are used to create the fall, the overall
system thickness can be slimmer than with the
alternative approaches, particularly where PIR
boards are used. They’re also much lighter than
screed solutions with no time lost waiting for
them to dry. In fact, if the existing roof surface is
in good condition, the tapered roofing can be
fitted directly above it.
To support installation of our tapered systems,
Kingspan Insulation offers a dedicated tapered
design service. Using your roof layouts, our
designers can quickly develop a system layout
which will provide effective drainage and meet your
target area-weighted U-value with the slimmest
possible construction. They’ll also handle the
condensation risk analysis and supply clear plans,
meaning you can get it installed in no time.
If you’re thinking about fitting a tapered system
for the first time and want some support, or
simply need some advice on best practice, myself
and the other Kingspan Product Technicians are
here to help. We can visit most sites and give you
hands-on advice on the different tapered
insulation products and how to handle, cut and fit
them ready for the final waterproofing layer. We
also offer a remote product advice service.
To contact the team, email:
Contact Kingspan Insulation
46 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
MCRMA members provide the
complete supply chain for
sustainable metal-clad building
solutions in the industrial and
Our members encompass
• Systems manufacturers
• Component manufacturers
• Systems installers
• Independent roofing and
• Industry support services
to find out more about the MCRMA and its members.
The ‘MCRMA The Building Envelope Authority’ is a registered Collective Trademark of the Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association Limited.
Knauf Insulation Tech Talk
Which applications are best for
It’s possible to retrofit most applications. Loft
insulation at ceiling level is a quick win
because of the easy access. Installing Knauf
Insulation’s Loft Roll 40 to a depth of
250mm will meet the minimum
standards, but for maximum
performance, install it at a depth of
400mm (if you use Loft Roll 44,
you’ll need 450mm to achieve the
HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS
GET READY FOR WINTER
As energy prices hit record highs, homeowners will be looking for ways to reduce their
energy bills whilst enjoying a warm cosy home. So, this month Bradley Hirst, Technical
Services Manager at Knauf Insulation, explains how you can help customers insulate
their homes for winter.
Suspended timber floors are also relatively
simple projects but are often overlooked.
If there’s a crawl space, mineral wool
insulation for this application – such
as OmniFit Slab 35 – can be fitted
from below, minimising disruption. If
not, the floorboards will need to be
It’s also possible to improve the energy efficiency
of other roof types such as pitched roofs at rafter
level or flat roofs. These are larger projects that
will require additional work such as reboarding
Cavity walls can also be retrofitted with blown-in
mineral wool insulation such as Supafil, but this
must be done by specialist approved installers.
Are retrofitting projects affected by
changes to Part L?
Yes. Under the changes to Approved Document L,
the ‘limiting U-values’ (minimum thermal
performance standards) for every building
element have been significantly reduced. So
Main pic: For maximum performance, install Knauf Insulation Loft Roll 40 at a depth of 400mm Left: Bradley
Hirst, Technical Services Manager at Knauf Insulation. Inset above: Knauf Insulation Loft Rolls 40 and 44.
check the required thermal
performance for the application,
according to the 2021 regulations,
before you start.
For advice on the right mineral wool insulation
solution to meet this performance, speak to your
local builders’ merchant or your chosen
manufacturer’s technical support team.
How do you get the best performance?
Always use the right product for the application
and choose products made from materials that
ensure a good fit. No matter how good your
insulation product is, the smallest air gaps will
reduce performance. But this can be harder to
achieve with some insulation materials, such as
rigid boards, because they are inflexible so don’t
adapt to imperfections in the substrate.
In comparison, glass and rock mineral wool
insulation are easier to install correctly because
they adapt to imperfections, knit together and
friction fit to the building elements.
What other factors should be considered?
When choosing insulation materials, always
consider fire safety and acoustic performance
too. Glass and rock mineral wool products are
non-combustible, so the insulation will not
contribute to the development or spread of a fire
should it occur.
For many applications, noise reduction will also
be a factor. For example, installing mineral wool
insulation with sound absorbent properties into a
flat roof will reduce environmental noise and the
Contact Knauf Insulation
50 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
is no space?
Vacuum Insulation Panel
fully encapsulated in
PIR protective case
λ 0.008 W/mk
Fully encapsulated Vacuum Insulation Panel, providing ultra-high
thermal performance in flat roof and terrace applications.
Say goodbye to issues when installing effective insulation on flat roofs
and terraces where space is tight and where height constraints exist.
With a thermal performance of the core of lambda (λ) 0.006 – the best
performance in the market – Deck-VQ VIP panels allow you to
achieve a U-value of 0.18 W/m²K with just 60mm thick board.
It’s time to think thin.
λ 0.006 W/mK
New Part L Guide
A GUIDE TO THE NEW THERMAL
James Francis, Product Manager at ROCKWOOL, outlines how the company’s new guide to
Approved Document L can help contractors navigate new thermal performance regulations.
There’s no escaping the issue of energy
efficiency. The rising energy price cap has
dominated the news agenda over recent
months and is now front of mind for many across
the country. With energy bills mounting, the desire
to improve the thermal effectiveness of homes –
from renovations to new-builds – is an issue that
contractors need to remain mindful of.
Alongside this growing awareness of achieving
energy efficiency, the Government is also taking
steps to ensure that thermal performance is a key
consideration for both new and existing buildings by
introducing new improved energy metrics.
In June 2022, the government introduced Approved
Document L (England) 2021. The changes to Approved
Document L (ADL) form part of the Government’s
commitment towards meeting its target of delivering
Zero Carbon Ready Homes by 2025.
The improved energy performance metrics within
ADL have been developed to ensure that all new
homes produce 31% less CO ²
emissions than those
outlined in the previous ADL rules. This means that
the construction of new dwellings must comply with
these increased energy performance standards.
To help contractors navigate and respond to these
new regulations, ROCKWOOL has released a
straightforward overview of the legislation – the
ROCKWOOL Guide to Approved Document L 2021.
The interactive guide aims to help users get to grips
with what has changed, making it easy for
contractors to design, choose and install insulation
solutions that meet and exceed the new thermal
With ADL spelling significant changes to thermal
regulations for both new and existing buildings, the
ROCKWOOL Guide to Approved Document L 2021
unpacks the updates to Volume 1: dwellings and
Volume 2: buildings other than dwellings, plus gives
users U-value requirements with a handy side-byside
comparison against the 2013 edition.
The Guide also suggests possible substrate
constructions using ROCKWOOL stone wool
insulation and, to support users with real-world
specifications, explores how to use ROCKWOOL
products alongside other commonly specified
materials to help realise the updated demands.
“ROCKWOOL knows that
the changes to ADL are
critical in the UK’s
journey to achieving net
zero carbon emissions
by 2050, yet recognises
that many contractors
are busier than ever”
Non-combustible stone wool insulation remains a
proven product choice when it comes to meeting
ADL requirements. That’s because tiny pockets of
air trapped within the physical structure of
ROCKWOOL stone wool insulation make it
effective at achieving thermal performance. Stone
wool can also deliver many other benefits,
Sustainability: Stone wool is manufactured from
naturally occurring volcanic rock. This is
abundant in supply because it’s continually
replenished by the earth’s crust. It can also be
Natural fire protection: Being made from
volcanic rock makes stone wool naturally noncombustible
and enables some stone wool
insulation products to achieve a European Reaction
to Fire Classification of A1 – the highest possible
rating. In fact, stone wool insulation is capable of
withstanding temperatures in excess of 1000ºC,
giving extra reassurance.
Noise reducing: Stone wool insulation has added
benefits in terms of absorbing sound as it reduces
sound vibrations. The dense, non-directional fibre
orientation and its open porous structure trap sound
waves and reduce sound energy.
Durability: Once installed, stone wool insulation
is built to last and does not degrade over time. It
is also non-hygroscopic, meaning it does not
attract water and is vapour permeable. For extra
peace of mind, stone wool insulation provides no
food source for vermin and does not encourage
growth of mould, fungi or bacteria.
ROCKWOOL knows that the changes to ADL are
critical in the UK’s journey to achieving net zero
carbon emissions by 2050, yet recognises that
many contractors are busier than ever. Its guide to
ADL summarises the need-to-know information and
supports with practical tools and construction
approaches that can be used as a basis for
The ROCKWOOL Guide to Approved Document L
2021 is available at https://rockwool.link/ADL
52 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
Ask A. Proctor Group
ACOUSTICS, FLOORS AND THE BEST
In this series, the A. Proctor Group looks at some commonly held myths surrounding the
contracting world concerning thermal and acoustic insulation, condensation control and
fire protection. In this article, the experts discuss whether a concrete floor is the only way
to achieve a good separation floor…
When seeking to manage the impact of
sound within buildings effectively, a
misconception is that you can’t achieve
good acoustics with a lightweight floor, leading to
the preconceived belief that a concrete floor is the
best way to address the acoustic challenge.
There are two types of sounds to be considered in
addressing the challenge of achieving the best
acoustic solutions in building design: airborne
sound and impact sound.
Airborne sound is generated by the source
vibrating the air to create sound waves. When
these waves strike the walls, roof, or floors, they
are converted into vibrations in the structure,
which transfers the sound around the building.
This sound is then re-emitted by other surfaces in
the same way as a speaker generates sounds.
Airborne sound can originate from outside the
building and within, and typically travels
throughout the structure. Building regulations
require most building elements to have some
degree of airborne sound resistance built in.
Impact sound occurs when mechanical impacts
directly cause vibrations in the structure rather
than via an external sound wave. These
vibrations pass throughout the structure before
being re-emitted in other areas, like airborne
sound. Unlike airborne sound, however, the
regulations regarding impact sound are typically
only concerned with sound transmission between
the separating floors of a building.
The heavyweight challenge
When considering acoustics, the mass of a wall
or floor is a significant factor. The heavier the
element is, the harder it is for incoming
soundwaves to induce any vibrations. This
reflects a greater proportion of the incident sound
waves, resulting in less sound being transferred
into the structure.
In most cases, it is correct to say that heavy
elements such as brick walls or concrete floor
slabs are better able to restrict the passage of
sound than lighter timber frame structures.
However, it is not always practical or
economically viable to use high mass
constructions. This is particularly true in
refurbishment projects where increasing the
mass is often impossible.
Lightweight flooring systems can often provide
the most effective solution in modern building
design and refurbishment. Timber floors have
also become more popular for their sustainability
benefits over traditional concrete. The speed of
installing a lightweight floor without the additional
need for wet trades and associated drying out
period can be another critical factor.
Solutions for managing the sound transmission
and acoustics of a lightweight flooring system will
consider the aspects of isolation and absorbency
at the design stage.
An effective way to prevent sound transmission
through structures is by physically isolating one
side from the other. This can be achieved by
using entirely separate structural elements, such
as independent floor and ceiling joists or resilient
mountings for floor and ceiling surfaces. The aim
is to break the pathway for sound to travel
through the structure from one side to the other.
With independent structures, there is an actual
discontinuity in the pathway, leading to the best
acoustic performance. However, this approach
results in very thick wall or floor elements, so it is
not always practical.
Resilient layers are usually a cheaper, thinner,
and lighter weight solution. They can be applied
as floor deck or batten systems, ceiling mounting
bars, or both. These work similarly to car
suspension by damping the vibrations and
reducing the energy from the sound waves by
allowing a degree of movement. These systems
must be matched to the expected loadings on
floors, as heavy weights can damage the resilient
layer and reduce effectiveness.
Absorbent acoustic materials are important in
reducing the echoes within cavities in a wall or
floor construction. The desired effect is breaking
up the sound waves in these spaces. As a result,
it reduces the overall energy transfer by converting
the energy in the sound waves into heat due to
friction between adjacent fibres. Fibrous materials
such as mineral or polyester quilts are usually
used for this purpose, most commonly in timber or
54 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
By QI (Quantum Insulation Ltd)
Image shows Profloor
steel-framed structures. If voids are present, partially filling them with an
absorbent material will generally help reduce the sound transfer.
Acoustic floor systems
Batten systems such as Profloor Dynamic battens are popular in new build
timber frame floors and are the top-performing floating floor system. The
extra depth introduced between the battens simplifies service runs within
the floor and provides additional void space in which additional fibre layers
can be added to boost sound absorbency. The downside to batten systems
is that they tend to be deeper, so it may not be practical to apply them to
all floors when tying into adjacent floor levels is an issue.
Deck systems are much shallower and can boost the impact sound
performance of a floor. However, they offer little scope to improve
airborne performance. For that reason, they tend to be used on concrete
floors where the base floor mass does most of the work dealing with
airborne noise transfer. Deck systems are also ideal for refurbishment
projects where floor to ceiling height may limit the scope for using a
batten system. Systems like the Profloor Microdeck at only 17mm can
improve impact performance noticeably while having minimal impact on
floor levels, services and internal trim and skirting.
Levelling systems allow a floor to be raised and levelled while introducing
a level of acoustic performance. This is useful in existing buildings where
the floor may be substantially out of level or in a new build where prestressed
slabs may be used, which have an inbuilt camber that must be
corrected to give a smooth level finished floor. Using a dry system, rather
than a screed, allows for a quicker installation period.
The A. Proctor group supplies a comprehensive portfolio of batten
systems, overlay deck systems and levelling systems to cover a range of
project requirements and floor types.
Contact A. Proctor Group
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 55
For further info on all these updates and more, visit www.total-contractor.co.uk
NEW ROCKWOOL LAUNCH
ROCKWOOL has launched NyRock Rainscreen
032 and Frame Slab 032, the first in a series
of products that use NyRock technology, a
patented production process that delivers the
lowest lambda stone wool insulation available
in the UK.
NyRock Rainscreen 032 is specifically developed
for ventilated cladding systems and sealed
structures such as curtain walling. It combines a
low thermal conductivity of 0.032 W/mK and a
non-combustible Euroclass A1 rating, along with
independently tested acoustic performance and the
potential for thinner wall constructions.
Manufactured using patented technology, NyRock
Rainscreen 032 has a more efficient fibre structure
than traditional stone wool products, resulting in
improved thermal properties. This fibre structure
also helps to lessen the transfer of airborne noise,
with NyRock Rainscreen 032 achieving a sound
reduction index of up to Rw 60 dB when assessed
as part of a typical system in independent in-situ
Created for straightforward installation as well as
ongoing performance, the product can be easily
fitted around brackets and other challenging
details, with slabs designed to ‘knit together’ when
tightly butted providing a continuous insulating
layer that reduces thermal bridging.
For optimum thermal performance in framed
structures, NyRock Rainscreen Slab 032 should be
combined with NyRock Frame Slab 032, a further
new addition to the NyRock range, that is purpose
designed for fitting between the studwork of
external timber or light gauge steel frame walls.
Combined, NyRock Rainscreen 032 and Frame Slab
032 enable U-values to be met with a thinner wall
construction versus standard stone wool solutions.
Paul Barrett, Head of Product Management at
ROCKWOOL explained: “When working to a U-value
of 0.18 W/m²K, specifiers can typically save around
15mm on the wall thickness compared to
traditional stone wool products. Applying that
saving over a 22m x 22m building of nine storeys,
for example, it can yield an extra 99 square feet of
usable or profitable floor space.
“The balance between building performance,
sustainability and commerciality is a constant
challenge for specifiers and building owners. Our
NyRock range has been created understanding
those pressures, hence delivers lower lambda for
thinner walls, while also providing the additional
benefits of stone wool including non-combustibility.”
Like its rainscreen counterpart, ROCKWOOL says
NyRock Frame Slab 032 can withstand
temperatures in excess of 1000°C, achieving the
highest Euroclass A1 non-combustible reaction to
As well as suited to ventilated façade systems,
NyRock Frame Slab 032 can be used in a variety of
external timber or steel frame applications,
including with a brick outer and with or without a
service void. NyRock Frame Slab 032 is available in
570mm widths for timber or 600mm for steel
ensuring quick, easy friction fitting into frame walls.
Its strong dimensional stability when fitted under
compression also accommodates building
movement, without slumping and sagging, or a loss
in thermal performance.
All ROCKWOOL stone wool insulation comprising
NyRock technology provides water resistance plus
can be recycled indefinitely. Stone wool insulation
is manufactured from naturally occurring volcanic
rock that is abundant in supply as it is continually
replenished by the earth’s crust.
APPRENTICE BOOST AT TICA!
The Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA) is on track to train a record number of apprentices this year.
The Association says it would normally expect to enrol between 60 and 80 a year but the 2022 figure already stands at around
130. Demand from employers for skilled apprentices is said to be fuelled by an ongoing boom in construction projects, Above: Marion Marsland with some
combined with a post-Brexit exodus of EU workers. The sector has traditionally relied on recruiting self-employed contractors, of the apprentices undergoing
training at TICA.
many of whom hailed from eastern Europe, as a cost-effective and flexible way of bridging the skills gap. Due to the increased
demand from within the sector, TICA says it launched an additional January intake for its Thermal Insulation Apprenticeships, which attracted 31 people, and is
on track to recruit more than 100 apprentices to the September intake at its National Training Centre in Darlington. Marion Marsland, chief executive of TICA,
said: “There is currently a dearth in independent insulation contractors due to a combination of Brexit and the pandemic – which has created a general shortage
of qualified thermal insulation engineers. The industry has always trained apprentices, but never on a sufficient scale and there has been a self-fulfilling reliance
on agency contractors working a day rate. Many companies in the UK now recognise the benefits of retaining the skills and knowledge by employing people
directly. Recent events do seem to be changing the industry’s mindset away from the self-employed model.” www.tica-acad.co.uk
56 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
Safety Articleat Height
IN THE KNOW...
Werner, a leading manufacturer and distributor of ladders and access equipment, is
championing health and safety training with the launch of its new campaign ‘Stepping
up to Ladder Safety’. In this mini-series, Trevor Rabson, Werner’s Training Manager, will
look at why training is so important when it comes to working at height safely, what
contractors need to consider, and how best practice can make all the difference between
safe working and potential injuries.
In his second instalment, Trevor discusses the importance of knowing how to use a
ladder safely and how to follow best practice, starting with some crucial #ladderfacts:
• Ladders and stepladders are not banned under
health and safety law.
• A risk assessment should be undertaken to
assess whether a ladder is the right piece of
equipment for a job.
• Ladders should not be used for jobs that will
take longer than 30 minutes.
• Short duration should NOT be the deciding
factor in establishing whether use of a ladder is
acceptable – risk should be.
• Ladders should only be used in situations
where they can be used safely, e.g. where the
ladder will be level and stable, and can be
secured – where it is reasonably practicable to do
counts if it is based on
using a ladder safely
The guidance calls for a sensible, proportionate
approach to managing risk, and ladders can be a
sensible and practical option for low-risk, shortduration
tasks. They can be used for work at
height when a risk assessment has shown that
using equipment that offers a higher level of fall
protection is not justified.
Images: Werner has launched its Stepping up to Ladder Safety campaign and an Inspecting Your Ladder guide.
Once this has been decided, there are simple and working under the supervision of a competent
sensible precautions you should adhere to to stay person.
safe when using ladders in the workplace.
But what is competence? Competence can be
shown via a combination of training, practical and
Know how to use a ladder safely
theoretical knowledge and experience. However,
According to the Health and Safety Executive
experience only counts if it is based on using a
(HSE), to use a ladder you must be competent
ladder safely and correctly.
or, if you are being trained, you should be
58 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
“A ‘pre-use’ check
should always be
carried out before any
job to spot any obvious
Best practice guide
Before using a ladder, users should have access
to instructions from the manufacturer in case
they need to be referred to.
A ‘pre-use’ check should always be carried out
before any job to spot any obvious visual defects
to make sure the ladder is safe to use. This check
should be carried out:
• By the person using the ladder.
• At the beginning of the working day.
• After something has changed, e.g. a ladder has
been dropped or moved from a dirty area to a
What to look out for when carrying out a
IF APPLICABLE, CHECK THE STEPLADDER
PLATFORM: When it comes to stepladders with
platforms, it is important to ensure that the
platform is in a suitable, safe working condition
and locks securely to the rear bar when open.
Make sure all fittings are present and
undamaged and that there is no bending,
folding or twisting on the upper surface of the
STILES: The stiles should be checked to ensure
there is no bending, longitudinal twisting or
bowing. Make sure the ladder is generally rigid.
The front to rear frame attachment or hinging
should be secure and all rivets and fixings should
RUNGS/TREADS: Make sure none are missing,
loose bent, excessively worn, corroded or damaged.
It is also important to check that all fixings are
secure. If there is any significant denting, the
strength of the tread may be compromised, and the
ladder should be replaced immediately.
FEET: It is important that the feet tips are all
present and secure. The feet should not be
warped in any way and the anti-slip ground
contact surfaces should be undamaged and free
and clear of debris and dirt.
BRACES AND CROSS TUBES: Whilst some wear
and tear is acceptable, anything that shows signs
of pronounced or excessive bending, bowing or
creasing will need to be addressed immediately.
Additionally, there should be no twisting
of the braces or cross tubes.
LOCKING MECHANISMS: If they are
bent or the fixings are worn or damaged
the ladder could collapse. Make sure
you engage any locking bars.
If any of the above defects are detected
during a pre-use check then
equipment should NOT be used
and the user must tell the
person in charge of the work.
telescopic soft close
“Signs of pronounced
or excessive bending,
bowing or creasing will
need to be addressed
Stepping up to Safety
For more information on how to inspect ladders
correctly, download Werner’s Inspecting Your
Ladder Guide, part of its Stepping up to Safety
campaign, to help professionals stay safe when
working at height.
Working at height injuries and fatalities can be
reduced with the drive for change from industry
manufacturers and associations to lead the way in
safety when working at height, leaving employers
and employees feeling confident and safe at work.
Contact Werner UK
SEPTEMBER 2022 TC 59
Ear Article Protection
EFFECTIVE PROTECTION AGAINST
The experts at Hellberg Safety, part of the Hultafors Group UK, discuss the key
considerations regarding ear protection on site, and as they point out, the options vary
and it’s required at lower levels of noise exposure than you might think...
Noise is a major and continual problem
both for our health and the environment.
Noise pollution is with us all day, every
day and, while more recent legislation has been
enacted to regulate its effect on our environment,
Health and Safety at Work regulations have been
in place for some years to ensure safety and
wellbeing in the workplace.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most
commonly reported physical diseases in the world
– particularly in the workplace. It’s an
accumulated disease that increases at every time
of over-exposure to noise, and the bad news is
that hearing loss could be permanent.
The good news is that it is easy to avoid! But it’s
crucial that employers and employees understand
when and how protection from noise hazards can
be provided and implemented.
By law, employers have to assess and identify
measures to eliminate or reduce risks from
exposure to noise so that the hearing faculties of
employees can be protected. In low-risk
environments preventative actions can be
relatively simple and inexpensive.
Where risks are high however, they have to be
assessed and managed using control actions that
include the provision of appropriate hearing
protection equipment as well as information,
training and health surveillance for employees.
Above and below: common noise sources and the three
Employers are required to provide employees with
properly maintained hearing protectors, ensure
they use them properly and establish hearing
protection zones where the use of hearing
protection is compulsory.
At Hellberg Safety, we recommend always
reducing noise levels to a maximum of 75 dB
simply because maintaining dB levels can be
affected by a number of external factors.
If you are unsure of what the local noise level is,
a useful rule of thumb is that if you need to raise
your voice to be heard when you’re about three
feet or so from someone else, the ambient noise
level around you could be a risk to health.
Whatever a manufacturer’s product specification
or protection level may be, the attenuation of
noise provided by a pair of hearing protectors can
decrease due to insufficient fitting, misuse and
poor maintenance. Long hair, beards and glasses
can affect the fit of the protector. Hence, the
greater the effective noise abatement, the more
your hearing is protected.
It is important to remember though, that too
much attenuation can be dangerous too, for
example if it stops you from hearing warning
signals. That’s why it is really important to
choose the correct hearing protection based on
your needs and assessed risk levels.
Assess risk and protection together
Risk assessments for noise hazards can be
obtained through a professional service – and
they are important in ensuring proper health and
safety responsibility – but it is a relatively
straightforward process to identify the level of a
Continued on page 62
60 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
RANGE IS ABOUT
TO GET BIGGER
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Continued from page 60
risk based on available noise hazard indicators
and then source a suitable product solution. For
example, and as an indication of a noise level in
relation to dB measurements, a fairly quiet
conversation in an office may reach 60 dB, a
vacuum cleaner up to 70 dB.
On the upward scale of noise, a food blender
can reach 80 dB and a chainsaw 120 dB. To
give an idea of the latter two’s risk to hearing,
extended exposure to the noise of a food blender
requires hearing protection, while exposure to
the noise of even the most basic chainsaw can
be potentially painful to your hearing without
proper protection. Anything above that offers
considerable potential for serious and
permanent damage to hearing.
Choosing the right hearing protectors
Never assume that a basic pair of ear
defenders will protect against high-risk noise.
Always use hearing protection when exposed to
harmful noise and if necessary, choose a
protector adapted to your work environment,
i.e. a product with ‘level dependent hearing
To identify an appropriate hearing protection
product, check out the noise sources in the
graduated chart within this article (see previous
page). Within that chart, identify the hazard level
of the noise source – green is low-risk, yellow is
medium-risk, red is high-risk. Then select the
appropriate type of ear defenders – look for the
colour coded ear-piece bands which define the
different protection levels.
Protection Level 1 – green – is designed for
general industrial environments and an
appropriate choice for low to medium dB noise
levels and medium to high frequency noise (Hz).
Protection Level 2 – yellow – provides the best
protection for high frequency noise (Hz) and are
appropriate for medium to high dB noise levels.
For extremely high noise levels, Protection Level
3 products with the red band are the only suitable
It’s also important to consider the type of
protection required – Passive or Electronic.
Passive hearing protectors are self-contained ear
defenders which block harmful sounds. They
have no built-in electronics but provide excellent
protection against loud and dangerous noise.
Electronic Hearing Protectors have added
technical functionality which facilitates wireless
or Bluetooth communications and emergency
signalling between workers.
So choose hearing protection products that are
appropriate for specific risk environments. Make
sure products fit correctly and are comfortable
during the entire hazard exposure time at work.
You should even consider using them if you’re
mowing the lawn or strimming at home – the
noise hazard and its potential effect on your
hearing is the same.
Make sure you ensure 100% wear time in noisy
environments and remember, the use of eyewear
can reduce the hearing protector’s attenuation of
between 3-8 decibels – if possible, select thin
Finally, your health and wellbeing on site is of
paramount importance, so choose your PPE
products carefully; understand how they’re
protecting your health and wellbeing and ensure
they are used properly for maximum beneficial
With that in mind, check out the Hellberg Safety
website www.hellbergsafety.com where you’ll
find all the information you need on choosing
precisely the right kind of passive or active
hearing protection for whatever you’re doing, or
wherever you’re working on site.
Contact Hellberg Safety
62 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
For further info on all these updates and more, visit www.total-contractor.co.uk
SUIT UP FOR CHANGEABLE WEATHER
Snickers Workwear’s bodymapping
Jackets, Tops, Trousers
and Accessories combine for
sustainable comfort and protection
when working, wherever and
whenever it’s needed.
Designed for professional craftsmen
and women who want maximum
functionality and mobility on site,
they incorporate the very latest in
high-tech fabric technology for topclass
The new clothing in the Autumn
Workwear System includes
windproof, waterproof and Hi-Vis
garments for both men and women
to keep them warm, dry and visible
all day, every day.
So, when the weather takes a turn
for the worse, make Snickers
Workwear your first choice for
tackling the toughest jobs and the
worst of weather.
WERNERCO DONATES RIVER CRUISE TO BARNARDO’S
As part of a partnership with Barnardo’s
charity, WernerCo, the leading
manufacturer of ladders and access
equipment, provided children and families
from across London with a day out on a
Thames riverboat cruise.
As part of their pledge to invest in young
people, WernerCo hosted a charity event
whereby 125 children and adults who use
Barnardo’s services across London, were able
to enjoy a day out seeing the capital city’s
sights on a Thames riverboat cruise.
The event, which took place on August 9th,
brought together children from across
Barnardo’s London Regions which includes
those with caring responsibilities, young people
in the process of leaving social care, young
people with disabilities and those who are
supported by Barnardo’s mental health
As well as seeing London’s famous sights such
as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and
the London Eye from on board The River Room
boat, operated by Bateaux London, the children
and families were able to enjoy a variety of
onboard activities throughout the day and
receive some Werner branded gifts to take away.
Bushra Imtiaz, UK Marketing Manager at
WernerCo, said: “2022 marks the 100-year
milestone of the Werner brand, and as we look
towards the future, we are continually looking
for ways in which we can strive towards
investing in young people as part of our key
initiatives, from our charity work to our
graduate and apprentice schemes.
“Barnardo’s vision as a charity aligns greatly
with our own company values – to support and
give back to the community. We love what they
do to support young people and families and
we were delighted to celebrate with the
amazing children, carers and Barnardo’s
Rajinder Nagra, Assistant Director of Children
Services for Barnardo’s London, said: “We are
so grateful to WernerCo for providing the most
incredible summer experience to Barnardo’s
“The summer holidays can be a really difficult
time for the children and families we support
which is why a magical event such as this can
make for the happiest of memories.
“Our children and families had a wonderful
time, and we are very grateful to all of the staff
and volunteers who helped to ensure a
successful and safe event.”
Marisa Olusemo, one of Barnardo’s young
people who attended the cruise, said: “I’m very
grateful and happy that WernerCo gifted
Barnardo’s the river cruise. My favourite part
has been the activities and getting to enjoy the
views. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to
go to central London, and it’s been nice to have
everyone here together.”
64 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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• Local builders
• Construction companies
• Builders merchants
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For more information
or your free demo, call
01934 808 293
For further info on all these updates and more, visit www.total-contractor.co.uk
FUEL CONDITIONER TRIALS!
A leading scaffolding solutions company has
begun trials of a ground-breaking fuel
conditioner as it seeks to reduce its impact
on the environment.
Allsafe Scaffolding Ltd, based in Banbury,
Oxfordshire, has partnered with fuel technology
expert SulNOx Group Plc to run and evaluate its
innovative fuel additive with a view to reducing
harmful emissions and improving fuel efficiency
in its current fleet.
As part of a five-year ‘green mission’, Allsafe is
taking steps to imbed sustainability in its
business to decrease its social and
environmental impact. The company believes
working with SulNOx Group will have an
Andrew Simmonds, Managing Director at Allsafe,
said: “As a large scaffold contractor, we run a
sizable fleet comprising 44 vans and Heavy
Goods Vehicles (HGVs), so we are always looking
for new ways to minimise our environmental
impact. Reducing carbon emissions is one of the
ways we can achieve this.
“With so much scrutiny on the
construction industry and so
many of our esteemed
customers working towards a
greener way to build, we are
actively trying to play our part
and ultimately have a positive
“On top of that, with fuel prices
remaining high, we are actively
looking at improving the
efficiency of our ever-growing fleet. The
SulNOxEco Fuel Conditioner ticks both boxes for
us and we are excited to see the results of the
evaluation and explore how it could benefit us in
SulNOxEco is a unique, advanced fuel additive
made from natural, biodegradable ingredients
that has been shown to improve fuel efficiency
and reduce the production of harmful emissions
including CO ²
and fine particulate matter.
Over an evaluation period of up to three months,
Allsafe will use SulNOxEco Fuel Conditioner in
three vehicles, looking to mirror
significant fuel and maintenance
savings seen elsewhere.
Ben Richardson, Chief Executive
of SulNOx Group, said: “We are
delighted to be partnering with
Allsafe as they look to reduce
their environmental impact and
improve the efficiency of their
“Our technology is verified with real world data
from numerous tests and trials, so we know the
impact we can have across many industries.
Particularly in construction and commercial
transportation, moving to a wholly electric fleet
or using alternatives from traditional fuels is
currently not a viable option. We offer a credible
and scalable solution for the here and now, vital
for climate goals, that can make a significant
difference to air quality and emissions, and
potentially give commercial users a green edge
SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF TOOL THEFT
As part of its Secure Communities Scheme, security specialist Burg-Wächter UK has pledged to support the
Rainy Day Trust – the only charity specifically supporting the home improvement industry – to supply security
equipment to independent tradespeople who fall victim to tool theft in its joint campaign with Toolstation.
Bryan Clover, Chief Executive of the Rainy Day Trust, said: “Tool theft is becoming more prevalent and that is a factor
of the way the economy is going. In fact, in 2020 alone, almost 11,300 tool thefts from vehicles were reported. If your power tools are gone and you’re a
roofer for example, you can’t go to work the next day – it’s as simple as that.”
Bryan continued: “However, if the worst does happen, the Rainy Day Trust is here to help. Once verified as a genuine claim, replacement tools are
organised as quickly as possible to help minimise the disruption a theft can cause. Our partnership with Toolstation was offered additional support by
Burg-Wächter UK, who were happy to help by providing a package of security products ideal for protecting van doors as well as bolts and chains to secure
both vehicles and tools. Although good insurance will help mitigate the loss in the first instance, fitting good strong high-quality security devices will help
to protect against and deter future attacks.”
Andrew Field, Managing Director at Burg-Wächter UK said: “We are very proud to be able to support the Rainy Day Trust and Toolstation’s tool theft
awareness campaign by providing practical help – in the form of high-quality security products – to tradespeople who are victims of burglary, as swiftly
as possible to help protect not only their essential tools but also their livelihoods.” www.rainydaytrust.org.uk / www.burg.biz/uk
66 TC SEPTEMBER 2022
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