What does BS 8612 cover?

What is BS 8612? As a relatively new British Standard this is a common question - the new standard, which has been called BS 8612: Dry-fixed Ridge, Hip and Verge Systems for Slating and Tiling – Product Specifications, specifies the performance requirements and methods of test for dry-fixed ridge and hip systems connected to timber ridge/hip battens, ridge boards or hip rafters, and for dry-fixed verge systems, which are installed with ridge, hip and verge components used with slates and tiles.

Why has the new standard been released?

Exponential growth in the dry fix market - fuelled by recent changes to industry standards and guidelines - has resulted in a huge array of options for specifiers and installers for dry fix products. Consequently, there are now sufficient numbers of competing systems (of varying performance and quality), as to warrant the introduction of a new British Standard, which ensures minimum performance requirements and introduces a recognised standard for the dry fix industry..

What are the requirements of BS 8612?

BS 8612 sets out the key quality and performance criteria and test methods under six essential requirements:

  • Material specification and durability
  • Mechanical resistance
  • Ventilation for ridge and hip systems
  • Rain performance
  • Geometric characteristics
  • Marking, labelling and installation instructions

To demonstrate compliance, systems will be subjected to a variety of tests to determine if: 

  • The dry-fixed ridge, hip and dry verge elements provide sufficient resistance against both vertical and horizontal wind loads.
  • The dry verge products can shed water without staining the gable wall.
  • The ridge-roll maintains a secure fit to the profile tiles without damage.
  • The ridge products provide adequate ventilation.
  • Materials used in manufacture are suitably durable when exposed to conditions such as freeze-thaws, heat, humidity and UV light.
  • BS 8612 has also introduced new guidance on dry verge fixing, stating that dry verge products cannot be installed with only a nail fixing into the end grain of the batten - mechanical engagement must be on the face of the batten.

What does this mean for architects?

In the past, architects wouldn’t have had much involvement with the dry fixing methods, and decisions about which system to use were typically left up to the contractor.

However, now that the standard is in place, architects should be specifying dry-fix products that meet the requirements of BS 8612 (or which are marked as BBA-compliant). Failing to specify these products runs the risk of contractors substituting inferior products later in the project - and leaving the architect liable should problems occur.

The standard may not be a legal requirement, but compliance will be enforced by industry bodies such as the National House-Building Council (NHBC) and the Local Authority Building Control (LABC).

What BS 8612 means for roofing contractors

Roofing contractors should be aware of BS 8612 and its recommendations because it’s the first time minimum quality standards have been defined for dry-fix systems. You will also probably start seeing the standard mentioned more in architects’ plans and other specifications. 

Architects will specify that dry-fix roofing systems need to be BS 8612 compliant (or marked as BBA-compliant), and they may stipulate a complete roofing system that meets the requirements of both BS 8612 and BS 5534. The reason for doing this, from an architects’ perspective, is that it protects them and removes their liability if an inferior product is substituted further down the line.

When choosing dry-fix systems, contractors should:

  • Ensure that they meet the recommendations of BS 8612 or that they have BBA certification.
  • Know that dry-verge products can no longer be installed with just a nail fixing into the end grain of the batten. Instead, mechanical engagement should be on the face of the batten. To help contractors and specifiers meet this requirement, we’ve developed our own batten-end clip.
  • Understand that BS 8612 only sets out the minimum performance requirements - so there will still be quality differences between compliant products.
  • It’s also a good idea to switch over to  BS 8612-compliant products as soon as possible, and also be sure to update your buying policies accordingly.