In response to Jim Coulson’s article, published on 27th March and featured in RCI magazine March 2012, Christian Brash addresses the question of supply and demand for graded timber roofing battens.
Letter to the editor:
The issue of BS5534 marked battens and the importance of third party accreditation is a long deliberated subject. Being wholly in support of the NHBC decision to only use graded battens on sight, I eagerly read last month’s comments from Jim Coulson in RCI.
Jim’s comments on capacity and industry demand however, are likely to spark some heated debate. I personally believe that there is more than enough capacity in the UK roofing market to meet the NHBC requirements for 2012/2013. John Brash alone would be able meet this demand – our sales of graded battens have trebled in the past four months alone, showing fantastic industry take-up on the NHBC guidance. Crucially, availability is still good from our perspective and we haven’t turned any orders away.
Agreed that if 100% of the industry demanded graded battens from tomorrow then yes, there would be some difficulty in meeting the demand. But the reality is a more realistic gradual transition. Where the NHBC are leading, others such as LABC are following… close behind. This will undoubtedly start to filter through the rest of the industry, especially where industry recognised self-certification schemes are in place, such as ‘competent roofer’.
My question to the industry is this: is it really practical to plan for on-site grading? Grading is more suited to a factory procedure, ensuring better consistency, improved efficiency and thereby completely removing the pressure for on-site manual grading. A good grading factory can process and accurately grade over 25,000 battens per day, simplifying the process and considerably reducing risk and the need for additional training.
The solution to this problem already exists.