100% safety claims for roofing battens are lulling roofers into a false sense of security, warns SR Timber, one of the leading distributors of specialist roofing battens and the renowned ‘Premium Gold’ battens.
As the industry has rightfully and successfully educated roofers into understanding that graded battens are much safer than ungraded battens and save both wastage and time, many roofing suppliers have sought to capitalise on this by promoting their product offering as being 100% safe.
Trading Director at SR Timber, Shaun Revill, explains:
“Most of the graded battens that are currently available are generally of a high quality, but they should never be marketed as 100% safe. Battens are a natural product and even with graded products, there can be faults that could potentially prove lethal.”
“Roofers and builders working with graded battens still need to rely on fall arrest systems and duty of care, and in the event of any discrepancy in quality, the battens should be removed.”
The potential problems arising from the reliance on 100% safety claims could indeed prove fatal. Graded or ungraded, battens would immediately fail should roofers forget the duty of care and walk mid span at 600mm centres on 25×50 with an average weight including a load of tiles 15 stone. Equally, split ends at a joint butted onto the rafter is another point of weakness, and this again relies totally on the site operative and not the factory of origin. Whilst an amount of wane is excepted in the BS, should it be fixed mid span, the strength of the batten could become weakened dependant on where it is fixed.
“Wrongly believing that graded battens are 100% safe is rather like driving your car and never checking the tyres. By not implementing basic quality checks, roofers are playing Russian roulette with battens, and failing to make that one quick check and place a failing knot mid span could be very costly indeed.
“With the grading of battens, there will always be both human and mechanical error. Just as sawmills need to allow for this, roofers need to be aware of it too and approach 100% graded battens with a degree of sensibility.”